Here’s a rundown of the social media news for this week thus far.
Snapchat is changing “everything.”
In an attempt to increase both user numbers and ad revenue, Snapchat is making some major UI (User Interface [the buttons, controls, and setting options on an app or software that allow you to use the app or software.]) changes. In a video by CEO Evan Speigel, he claims that the new Snapchat will separate your social from the media. He says that “your friends aren’t content, they’re relationships” and should be kept separate from the paid advertising and influencer content on the Discover page.
The app will still feature the “swipe right/swipe left” control style with the left being your friends and right being the Discover page. The Discover page seems to be going through a bit of an upgrade too with animated thumbnails (title images) and including more content from influencers along with the paid media articles. Snap Inc. is hoping this change will make the Snapchat app more appealing to more users and increase buy-in from those who have installed it but don’t use it much. Only time will tell.
Instagram now lets you ask to join live stories.
Instagram released the ability to join a friend’s live story just a few weeks ago. The feature has gained some popularity but they’re hoping that the latest addition will make the Live story an even more integral part of the Instagram experience. The latest update allows audience members to request to join a live video on their friend’s Instagram. It isn’t as much an added feature as it is a streamlining of one they released previously.
Being able to ask to join a live story will increase the visibility of many Instagram accounts and could cause users to spend more time on Instagram. That, at least is what the company is counting on.
Youtube is soon adding a “stories” type feature of their own.
The Story feed was started by Snapchat, perfected by Instagram, and flopped on Facebook. Now Youtube wants in on the action. Reels is Youtube’s answer to the latest social trend. This addition lets content creators create quick 30 second vertical videos to keep their followers updated on what’s happening. It lets vloggers and video creators make more content with less commitment.
The biggest difference from the other Story features is that Youtube’s Reel videos will not disappear and they can make multiple Reel videos. Youtube has been trying to make their app more social and it’s obvious that Reels are a huge step in that direction. They haven’t announced when Reels will be released but you can count on the S.A.F.E. Family Tech Blog to let you know when they do.
What Parents Should Know
It’s always important for parents to understand what their kids’ favorite apps are capable of. For many of our children, Social Media apps are the most commonly used. These recent updates should help you be informed about what your children can do with these apps. My advice is always to download these apps for yourself so you can play with all the features. Talk to your kids about what the apps are best used for and what behavior you believe to be healthy or not healthy on social media. Use examples and share about difficult social experiences you’ve had that would have been even worse if they had been online. Strengthen your child’s sense of self-awareness and confidence to ensure they represent themselves in a healthy way online. Most of all, keep an eye on what your kids are posting on their social media accounts and continue to stay informed so that you can be ahead of the social media curve.