Instagram is testing a new text-only option in Stories

by Administrator UpSocial

Instagram is testing a new "Type" feature within Stories for users to share text-based messages as an alternative to photos or video, as reported by The Next Web. Though this was originally spotted last December among users in Japan, it's now appearing for select groups in Europe, as well.

The feature appears as a separate option at the bottom of the screen when within Stories, alongside the other usual options like Boomerang and Live. Once Type is selected, you can write and choose different options for the background and font.

The feature is not very different from what can already be done in Instagram. In order to achieve the same thing now, just snap a pic, click on the pen tool at the top, select a color, and then press and hold on the screen to create a blank surface to write on. Additionally, in the new implementation, it appears the default background is a bright ombré, giving it the flair of Facebook statuses with colorful backdrops. Mashable says users will also have the option of using a photo for the background. Creating a shortcut to share text-based content within Stories is a useful tool that caters to something people already do on the platform, just with an extra step or two. It's unclear if Instagram will be rolling Type out in a more widespread manner.

WABetaInfo has a more extensive report on Type, which also divulges another feature Instagram is testing: screenshot notifications. According to the report, some users are seeing a new alert pop up after taking a screenshot that says, "The next time you take a screenshot of a story, the person who posted it will be notified."

Zuckerberg promised that there will be more messages from friends in the Facebook than media and brand publications

by Administrator UpSocial

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

It's easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good.

Based on this, we're making a major change to how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.

Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.

At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.

Instagram is testing Direct, a standalone messaging app that replaces the current inbox

by Administrator UpSocial

Instagram is testing a standalone app for private messages called Direct, a first step toward possibly toward removing messaging features from the core app. Direct, which opens to the camera in the same way Snapchat does, will become available on Android and iOS today in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. If you install Direct, the inbox disappears from the Instagram app and can only be accessed in the messaging app. If Instagram introduces Direct globally — it currently has no timeline for doing so — the move could give parent company Facebook a third popular messaging tool alongside Messenger and WhatsApp.

Although it is officially only a test, Instagram's rationale for building Direct app is that private messaging can never be a best-in-class experience when it lives inside an app meant for broadcasting publicly. "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that," Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told me. "Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app."


If that sounds familiar, it's because Facebook has undertake a transition like this before. In 2014, the company shut off messaging inside the flagship app, forcing users to download Messenger. "On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time. "Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this [use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience."

Direct was built according to similar logic. While direct messaging was originally an afterthought in Instagram, after multiple redesigns it had accumulated 375 million monthly users by April of this year, the company says. Its rise has coincided with the growth of Instagram stories, which encourage users to fire back quick replies to friends' messages by adding a "send message" box underneath each one.

Now Instagram will see whether its tools for private messages can thrive on their own. There is reason to believe that they will: messaging apps have more aggregate users than social networks do, and some have speculated that growing cultural tensions are pushing more conversations from public forums to private groups. If messaging becomes a large, pseudo-independent pillar of Instagram, it could further entrench the app in the lives of its users while opening up significant new business opportunities.

In its current, experimental state, there is little in Direct you won't currently find in Instagram. The app consists of just three screens. Like Snapchat, it opens to the camera, in an effort to get you in the habit of regularly sharing. (You don't have to take a photo, though; you can also pull down to reveal a screen that lets you type your message.) To the left of the camera is a profile screen that lets you access settings, switch accounts, and navigate to various corners of Instagram. To the right is your inbox of messages. That's the whole app.

Still, there are some nice touches. Designers built what might be the niftiest app transition I've ever seen: If you start swiping to the right of the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo pops begins to peak out from the side of the app. Swipe all the way to the right and Direct will open Instagram. Similarly, you can swipe right in Instagram to reveal the Direct logo — a modified version of the paper-plane logo Instagram has long used for messages — and completing your swipe will take you back to Direct.


The other novelty to be found in the test app is four exclusive filters, all of which I wish were available in the Instagram app. One filter bleeps you at random while blurring your mouth, which you'll appreciate if you've ever enjoyed Jimmy Kimmel's unnecessary censorship videos. Another filter creates a live cut-out of your mouth and superimposes it over your actual mouth, making you look like an insane clown. A third filter creates an infinite video loop zooming in on your open mouth as multiple versions of your head swirl around you.

If there's a down side to Direct, it's that getting the full Instagram experience will now require users to shuttle back and forth between apps. This may feel particularly acute for people who start a lot of chats from the stories feed (this is my own most common use of Instagram messages). In my experience, using a brand-new iPhone X, navigating between apps was all but seamless. I'll be curious to see how it looks on older model phones, and in countries where data connections may be less reliable.

When Facebook split Messenger from the main app, it drew an outcry from users, who pelted it with one-star reviews. Today, the app has 1.3 billion monthly users — up from 500 million the year that it split — and yet its rating has risen to just three stars on iOS. (Instagram has a five-star rating.)

One conclusion a company might draw from this experience is that while some users will complain about having to download a second app, the improved experience will help the overall audience grow much larger. And yet I can't imagine the product team at Instagram will be satisfied with a three-star rating for Direct. And so I think there's a second, equally important lesson to take from Messenger's experience.

It's hard to remember now, but Messenger was once as fast and simple as Direct is today. It was only once it spun out on its own that it became the overstuffed junk drawer it is today: a bewildering combination of private messages, group chats, ephemeral stories, gaming, customer service bots, payments, and phone calls. The challenge for Instagram is to expand Direct's feature set while retaining the simplicity that made it attractive in the first place.

Introducing Stories Highlights and Stories Archive

by Administrator UpSocial

Today we're introducing two new tools that let you hold on to your favorite moments from Instagram Stories and share them in ways that help you express yourself. Stories Highlights is a new part of your profile where you can express more of who you are through stories you've shared. And to help you build highlights, your stories will now automatically save into a private Stories Archive so you can easily relive them whenever you want.

Stories Highlights

Over the past year, Instagram Stories has become a key part of how you express yourself — but there hasn't been an easy way to keep your stories around for more than 24 hours. Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping stories you've shared into highlights and featuring them on your profile.

Stories Highlights appear in a new section on your profile below your bio. To create a highlight, tap the "New" circle at the far left. From there, you can choose any stories from your archive, select a cover for your highlight and give it a name. Once you're done, your highlight will appear as a circle on your profile that plays as a stand-alone story when someone taps it. Highlights stay on your profile until you remove them, and you can have as many highlights as you'd like. To edit or remove a highlight, just tap and hold that highlight on your profile.

tory Highlights lets you show all the sides of your personality, and you can make highlights out of anything you've shared to your story in the past. From the best moments of your ongoing soccer season to all the stories you capture of your loved ones, the interests and activities that matter most to you have a home right on your profile.

Stories Archive

Moving forward, your stories will automatically save to your archive when they expire. This makes it easy for you to revisit your favorite moments later on or bring them back to life in a highlight.

To access the stories in your archive, tap the Archive icon on your profile. From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive. In your Stories Archive, your stories will appear in a grid with the most recent stories at the bottom. The first story from each day will show a date indicator to help you navigate your archive as you scroll.

Tap on any story in your archive to watch it. From there, you can add it to your story, share it as a post or add it to a highlight on your profile.

Only you can see your archived stories, and you can choose to turn off auto-archiving at any time in your profile settings.To learn more about Stories Highlights and Stories Archive, check out the Instagram Help Center.

Today's updates are available as part of Instagram version 25 on iOS and Android.

YouTube is launching its own take on Stories with a new video format called ‘Reels’

by Administrator UpSocial

Even YouTube is adding Stories. The popular format introduced by Snapchat, then adopted by Instagram, Skype, Facebook, Messenger and even some dating apps, is now making its way to YouTube as a new feature the company is calling "Reels." To be clear, Reels is YouTube's spin on Stories, not an exact copy. And Reels won't live at the top of the app, as Stories do on Instagram – instead, they'll appear in a brand-new tab on a creator's channel.

The launch of the Reels beta was mentioned briefly in n announcement today about the expansion of YouTube Community tab to all creators with over 10,000 subscribers.

We asked YouTube for more details on Reels, which will soon be introduced into beta for a handful of creators for feedback and further testing.

The company tells us the idea with Reels is to introduce a new video format on YouTube that lets creators express themselves and engage fans without having to post a full video.

Instead, creators make new Reels by shooting a few quick mobile videos of up to 30 seconds each, then adding filters, music, text and more, including new "YouTube-y" stickers.

And unlike Stories on other platforms, YouTube creators can make multiple Reels and they won't expire.

Below is what Reels will look like for creators at launch, but be aware that the format could change ahead of a public release.For video viewers, Reels may not mar the experience the way the addition of Stories did on Messenger or Facebook, where they weren't as welcome.

Since Reels are posted to a separate tab on the creator's channel, similar to Community itself, viewers could choose to go watch these new videos or not.

But if users engage with Reels, then YouTube will take that as a signal that you'd like to see them more often. That could trigger their appearance on the viewer's YouTube home page as recommendations, YouTube tells us.

The arrival of Reels is one of a handful of changes for YouTube and YouTube Community, the social platformlaunched last fall as a new way for video creators to engage their fan base. A mini social network within YouTube's larger social network, Community lives on a creator's channel in its own tab, allowing them to share updates using text, photos, GIFs, polls, and more.

The audience can then thumbs up or down the content, as they do videos, and comment on the posts.

Also new to Community is a change to how posts work and are displayed to viewers. Now, a creator's most engaged viewers will see Community posts in their Home feed on YouTube, even if they're not subscribed to the channel.

YouTube says notifications are also now optimized so fans aren't spammed with every new Community post.

YouTube did not say when Reels will arrive in beta, how long until it's publicly available, or which creators will receive the format first.

Instagram To Beat Snapchat, Twitter, With 1 Billion Users

by Administrator UpSocial

Instagram is projected to reach 1 billion users by the first week of January, outdoing Twitter and Snapchat. The photo-sharing app is fast gaining users because of features such as Stories and improved messaging functionality.

Influencer marketing company Mediamix projects that Instagram will reach a billion users by Jan. 5 or even earlier. According to its forecast, the photo-sharing app has added 653,595 users per day in the past 5 months.

The forecast was done by analyzing Instagram's user growth patterns using a logarithmic function for the projection. The researchers did not take into consideration, the data before Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, but only the data from July 2012 to September 2017. According to the prediction, Instagram will be growing at an increasing rate in the coming months. While the growth from 300 million to 400 million users took 286 days, the growth from 600 million to 700 million users took only 126 days. The analysts predict that it will take about 100 days for Instagram to grow from 800 million to 1 billion users.

The platform is massively outperforming its rivals — Twitter and Snapchat. While Instagram currently stands at more than 800 million users, Snapchat is at 178 million and Twitter is at 330 million users. While Instagram is expected to cross 1 billion users soon, Snapchat, according to Goldman Sachs is projected to reach 221 million users by the end of 2018 and Twitter is expected to cross only 400 million users in the same period, according to Mashable.

If everything goes as predicted, Instagram will become Facebook's fourth social media application after the Facebook app, Messenger app and WhatsApp.

One of the reasons cited for the growth of the photo-sharing platform is that it acts as a complement to Facebook's 2 billion users-strong network. You can connect Instagram to Facebook and share photos and posts from the photo-sharing site to Facebook. This cross-posting of Stories and posts exposes even users who use only Facebook to using Instagram.

Instagram has also grown as an advertising platform and currently services 2 million advertisers. Unlike Facebook, in which ads run on the sidelines of the main news feed, Instagram provides brands a platform where they can target users more specifically using techniques such as native advertising i.e. sponsored ads and influencer marketing — advertising using Instagrammers with large fan bases.

In these ways, Instagram gives brands a different advertising platform as well as a platform for implementing innovative social media strategies as an alternative to traditional ways and avenues of marketing.

It also gives users more engaging content to look at, but not devote as much attention to as Snapchat — users can quickly scroll through images and stop at the one they like. This makes it more appealing to users.

Instagram seems to have paid out its price to Facebook — it was acquired for a billion dollars and now it is reaching a billion users.

Advertising in social networks has a more positive image than in the media

by Administrator UpSocial

Advertising in social networks has a more positive image than in the media, in 23% of cases, after viewing branded posts, users go to the search for goods in the store and buy it. Such conclusions were reached by Mediascope analysts, carrying out a joint research with PRT Edelman Affiliate study of integration of brands in blogger content.

Also after contact with the branded content, on average 29% of the survey participants began to look for information about the product or told about it to friends, and 24% reposted or went through the link specified in the post.
Gleb Sahrai, CEO of PRT EdelmanAffiliate:

"We really liked the percentage of conversion to sales. Even with such a sample, these are pretty impressive figures, which can not but rejoice. This means that a competent blogger native can sell. "In general, advertising in blogs and social networks is perceived by users rather positively - it is more interesting, more visible and trusted more.
83% of the interviewed respondents understand that bloggers promote only those brands for which they were paid by advertisers.66% said they would learn from blogs about the latest news and fashion trends.50% believe that the recommendations of bloggers help determine the choice of goods and services.48% are sure that bloggers recommend only those products and services that they like.

The study involved 702 men and women, Internet users, residents of the cities of the Russian Federation with a population of 100 or more thousand people aged 14-45 who watched or read blogs on YouTube and Instagram for the last 3 months. The method of conducting the survey is an online survey. Interviews were held in September 2017.

YouTube has detected a bug that allows users to cheat views

by Administrator UpSocial

YouTube users found a bug that allows you to twist views of videos and display them in the top.

To use the loophole, you need to create a playlist with two videos on YouTube. In the first place you can put any video, and on the second - the video for which you need to wind your views. When embedding a playlist on a site, you can change the code by setting the start time in the first clip to the last second. The autoplay = 1 auto play option is set in the playlist, in which YouTube does not include views. However, because of the bug, this rule applies only to the first video, and viewing the second YouTube already counts.

The resulting playlists are embedded on the sites in the form of invisible frames. There they are played in the background and without sound all the time, while the user remains on the page.

In August, one user has already complained about using this scheme to support YouTube. In it, the author described in detail the principle of the operation of one of the services for creating such frames and listed the negative consequences of their use: creating an irrelevant video collection, inconvenience to users and damage to advertisers.
Google did not respond to our request. The complaint was received in August that the information was transferred to the engineers.

Let's remind, that in July in Google AdWords service the error which allows all interested persons to show advertising banners for free on Google media platforms all over the world has been found out.

Apple introduced iPhone X

by Administrator UpSocial

Apple introduced the iPhone X with a borderless screen.

The smartphone received a 5.8-inch OLED display, which occupies virtually the entire front panel. It has a resolution of 2436 by 1125 points. In the upper part of the front panel there is a slit under the speakerphone, front camera and sensors.

To unlock in Apple, they developed Face Detection Technology. The company claims that this is the safest way to protect and iPhone X is virtually impossible to crack. You can also make payments using Face ID, since it has Apple Pay support.

Both main camera modules got optical stabilization, like the Samsung Galaxy Note8. The main sensor has an aperture of f / 1.8, and the second with a dual zoom-f / 2.4. For iPhone 8, these figures are f / 1.8 and f / 2.8, respectively. A dual frontal camera can also take pictures in portrait mode with a blurred background. Like the iPhone 8, the "jubilee" iPhone got a wireless charge.

The smartphone will only be available in versions of 64 and 256 gigabytes at a price of thousands of dollars. The start of sales is scheduled for November 3.

Facebook has copied Live Stories and Boomerang to Instagram

by Administrator UpSocial

Facebook added new camera functions to its application, reminiscent of those that are already available in Instagram.

Live Stories

Now, if the video has been broadcast through the built-in Facebook camera or a window to create posts, it will by default be published in the Story section and the news feed. In this case, the author of the broadcast will be able to control where it can appear - and in the tape, and in the stories or only in one of these places.


The updated Facebook camera now allows you to shoot two-second looped videos reminiscent of Boomerang in Instagram. In the social network application, these videos are positioned as GIF.
Another innovation was the possibility of publishing text posts with a color background.
Both GIF and posts of the new format can be shared in the news line, in Story or through private messages.
Recall that Facebook launched "Stories" - an analog of Instagram Stories - for all users in March this year.