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Social Media Updates: Facebook’s Hi and Byes, Bolt and Snapchat Celebs

Users constantly adopt new behaviors, preferences and technologies. Social networks play catch up, adding new features and making changes to the user experience.

This creates new opportunities and challenges for PR pros. Because the updates roll out so quickly (and sometimes without much fanfare), it’s easy to miss the latest changes.

Here’s a roundup of this week’s social media news and updates that may impact how you conduct social PR or marketing:


Facebook Social Media Updates

Facebook launches app in Zambia – On July 31, Facebook announced the launch of its new Internet.org app in Zambia. The app will provide free Internet access for Facebook, Messenger, Google search, Wikipedia and a few other online services. Facebook says this app is part of an initiative to increase Internet access in developing countries.

So long, Gifts – Companies looking to make sales through Facebook’s Gifts shop will have to take their business elsewhere, at least for the time being. Facebook is removing its gifts shop program indefinitely while it explores new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on mobile, the web and its site. Shoppers looking to get a head start on holiday shopping still have time to make purchases — the program will officially terminate August 12.

Another Facebook goodbye – Get ready to say so long to the messenger feature on the Facebook app. In reaction to a study that showed users respond 20 percent faster to messages on the Messenger app than the flagship app, Facebook has decided to remove messenger from the regular app, forcing people to download the separate Messenger app, which debuted in 2011. Facebook asserts this app is “faster and more reliable for everyday messaging.”


Twitter Social Media Updates

World Cup doubles revenue – The World Cup may be over, but Twitter is still reaping the benefits of the largest event on social media. In its second quarter report, the social network giant reported $312 million in revenue, up 124 percent from Q2 in 2013. Since the last quarter, 16 million users who log in at least once a month joined the network, a 6.3 percent increase, and projections for continual growth are imminent.

Twitter defines itself – Twitter’s quest to find its place on the line between social network and media company has finally ended. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is officially calling the site “the largest information network in the world,” a phrase used several times by himself and his colleagues on Tuesday’s second-quarter earnings call.

Image search startup acquired – Madbits, a digital imaging company, announced this week that it will join Twitter. Madbits’ technology focuses on “image search, and the creation of intelligent, dynamic image sets, to automatically organize large databases of images.” By incorporating this technology, Twitter is improving its imaging feature, an advantage Facebook has long held over the site, and gaining a competitive edge in e-commerce.

Transparency report released – In July 2012, Twitter released its first transparency report, a biannual report revealing requests Twitter has received from the government regarding content. The company released its fifth report on Thursday, showing a 46 percent increase in global government requests for account information, content removal and copyright takedowns. While many fear increased government involvement in the social networking site, Twitter is abiding by its promise to make all information available to its users and is requesting more detailed guidelines for content restriction from the U.S. Department of Justice.


LinkedIn - Social Media Updates

A revamped mobile app – Many LinkedIn users have already experienced the new and improved LinkedIn mobile app. Released Monday, the app now exhibits more visually appealing user profiles and brings career highlights to the forefront of the page, making it easier to gauge a user’s credentials at a quick glance. This redesign comes amid a series of updates that improve the social channel’s digital networking capabilities, strengthening the power of social media in the professional arena.


Hangouts drop G+ requirement – Until July 30, Google Hangouts required users to have Google+ accounts to use the video and text messaging service. Hangouts has dropped that requirement, allowing access to anyone who has a Google Apps account. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the goal of the launch is to make it easier for employees and businesses to communicate by video, a plan to strengthen Google’s commitment toward providing conferencing systems for business.


Social Media Updates - Instagram

Bolt takes on Snapchat – In its latest attempt to challenge Snapchat, Instagram introduced Bolt, a new mobile app that allows users to send each other short-lived photo and video messages. The app offers the same disappearing act for images but allows Bolt users to send and receive photos in fewer maneuvers than Snapchat users.

The app is currently available only in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, as the company tests out its functionality and scale potential. If successful, Bolt may become a new social media tool to put on your radar.


Snapchat - Social Media Updates

Snapchat celebrities make how much? – How big of an impact can a Snapchat photo, which appears for a matter of seconds, then disappears forever, have on consumers? Apparently, a pretty big one. Snapchat stars are the newest form of social media celebrities, earning up to $100,000 for a week of advertising from brands including Disney, Taco Bell and Major League Soccer.

Are there any other social media updates or pieces of news that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Need social media help? Get your free Social Media Marketing and PR Cheat Sheets now!

Featured Image: webtreats (Creative Commons) Google+ Image: Yoel Ben-Avraham (Creative Commons)

Tags : Social Media

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