With imagery now an integral part of most major social media channels, there’s one platform which is trying to push boundaries even further. Pinterest has announced that it’s launching several new technologies under the name ‘Pinterest Visual Discovery’.
Well, well, well... What a year it has been, especially on social media.
As we cast our minds back to January of 2016, some news stories and updates seem like a distant memory, showing just how far social has come in the past twelve months. We’ve picked our selection of the biggest social media stories from each month for you. Do you have a favourite story from 2016? Let us know in the comments below!
With Snapchat allowing more and more brands onto its ad platform, it was only a matter of time before a non media specific brand jumped on the band wagon and took it that one step further. Christopher Bailey has stepped up to the plate with Burberry. It has used Snapchat to help with the launch of its latest men’s fragrance, Mr. Burberry and a capsule Menswear collection.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced last night that it is being used by a billion people every month, with fresh stats confirming that a whopping 43 billion messages and 250 million videos are sent on a daily basis.
Facebook last night released its new results for the last quarter, and the user numbers are worth brushing up on. Facebook has grown by 60 million active users in the last three months, still by a long shot the biggest social network globally. It now has 8 million daily video views, which has doubled in the last six months, 1.007 billion active users every day, and as many are shifting from the public news feed, ie traditional part of Facebook, over to Messenger, ie the private part, this is where a lot of the action is. Having opened up Facebook Messenger as a platform, there is a huge amount of activity and growth there too.
The full stats are worth a read, especially because WhatsApp and Instagram are part of the quarterly update too.
A clear problem is emerging with social media; it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. On Facebook we only become friends with people we know and like pages that fill our timeline with vaguely irrelevant spam about the Kardashians, on Twitter we follow users we find interesting but they don’t post the content we want to see - too often I will follow somebody I found interesting only for them to start retweeting generally uninteresting content. The key problem appears to be that social media platforms are people focused not content focused, or at least that’s how the creator of BBC iPlayer Anthony Rose saw it. People need to be able to go onto a social media site and look at content they find interesting and then go on to meet new people who share their interests.
Rose saw this issue as a mere challenge to overcome and his (I think excellent) response is the topic-based social platform 6Tribes, which launched at the end of May. 6Tribes is currently only available on IOS in the UK but will be released to a wider audience soon. The app collates posts from a variety of users based on the groups or “tribes” they follow. If users can’t find a tribe that interests them, then they can also create their own; this will allow the creator to manage all content in the tribe and assess what is or isn’t relevant through the “bump” system.
Tribes are small communities on the platform dedicated to a certain topic (e.g. sports, films, television, music, tea), within each tribe people can post relevant content for other followers to see with a “bump” system (similar to Reddit’s voting system) to filter the content. Once users have joined a variety of Tribes all posts will come through on the user's’ feed to provide a completely content focused and personalised news feed. At first glance, it’s great. The feed is specific to any topic you choose and provides interesting and relevant updates and overall the app is really smooth, very simple and good looking.
“Close to launch we have close to 100 tribes” said Rose, however alongside of new Tribes run by the platform users can also create and manage their own Tribes, sharing content on any topic that takes their interest. The beauty of this new platform is not only in the content but the way you can meet other users. Because all of the groups are topic-based and not user based it’s a good way to interact with new people who share your interests. I think it has to be said, Mr Rose has done a good job. With the potential for serious expansion over the coming months 6Tribes could be a promising guide for social platforms to come.
The shift to digital in recent years has meant an uphill challenge for British communications regulator, Ofcom, as it seeks to adapt its own regulations to the changing media and telecoms landscape.
Picture Credit: Ofcom
In her first interview since being appointed as Ofcom's chief in December, Sharon White said that deregulation and a lighter approach needs to be considered to reflect the tectonic shifts in how people read and watch content, as well as talk.
Ofcom has just begun its first review of the British communications market in a decade to take into account the burgeoning impact of the internet, and whether market definitions and regulations need to be redrawn. Ofcom would also need to consider the intersection and blurring distinctions between traditional telecom and media companies.
Live streaming services such as Meerkat and Periscope both present a challenge to the paid-TV world especially with the increasing costs of football rights, for example. While Ofcom traditionally appointed the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) to regulate broadcast advertisements on its behalf, YouTube advertising also falls under the ASA's jurisdiction - the roles both perform and the areas overseen need to be made clearer in this era of greater convergence.
Ten years after its last review and in the age of the internet, the time is now ripe for Ofcom to reconsider regulations especially when changes are unprecedented and happen at much greater speed. It's exciting times ahead for the tech, media, and communications industries and we can't wait to see what happens next.