This week’s big news is all about changes. Twitter is expanding its character count, Snapchat is headed toward a UI revamp and Instagram is bringing more transparency to sponsored posts.
Keeping It 280
Now that Twitter’s rolled out the ability to write 280-character tweets to pretty much everyone, the social channel’s user base is reacting in real time. TechCrunch shares some of the earliest expanded tweets and, like most of the UI/UX updates Twitter has made recently, responses are a big ol’ mixed bag.
The TechCrunch piece features research proving most users hit the data limit. But there is still a gulf between the updates Twitter is making and the updates its users demand. Brands will surely find creative ways to use the new character count, but the immediate result of the 280-character launch probably wasn’t what Twitter was hoping for.
Snapchat Isn’t Clicking with Users
Snapchat is one of those social media apps this writer just doesn’t get. Why take photos only a few people can see? Why use such a limited platform to consume branded material? Why bother trying to navigate such a weird UI? Snapchat remains popular among younger users–but if Snap can’t attract older users and retain younger users as they age, it’s got a big problem.
It turns out Snap is hoping to answer some of those questions with a redesign of the product. Recode reports that Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is in a reflective mood after a disappointing quarter: the 4.5 million users added in Q3 of this year is a much lower number than investors expected. Spiegel noted there would be short-term disruption to the product and the business, but it sounds like the only way Snapchat will expand its base is to give people a reason to adopt it and use it regularly. Good luck, Evan.
Instagram Goes Wide on Sponsored Content
Instagram wants to help its top influencers avoid running afoul of FTC rules. Engadget reports that’s expanding a tool to tag paid content to its top influencers. It’s a way to ensure fewer users break rules, but it’s also designed to give accounts with high engagement a warning if untagged posts need to be removed.
With so many online personalities, celebrities and thought leaders using social media to advertise, it’s a small step in the right direction. But even this might not be enough: a Twitter chat revealed the FTC isn’t sure Instagram is working hard enough to make distinctions between regular posts and ads.
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