We all know that unmistakable feeling when you login to your favorite social network, and everything feels different. You spend the first few seconds in stunned silence trying to pinpoint what they changed this time. Here we go again, you think to yourself. It’s right in front of you, and yet you just can’t quite put your finger on it. And then it hits you, maybe it’s the font or the layout? You’re still not certain. And until you see the trending hashtag to confirm your suspicions, all you know is that change makes you uncomfortable.
Like it or not, change is part of the ebb and flow of social media and it was a hot topic last week with Twitter experimenting with 280 character long tweets. Updates and changes tend to bring out the worst in social media users and this update is no exception. Many turned to Twitter to vent their disbelief and frustration echoing the idea that Twitter is giving its users exactly what they didn’t ask for. Many see this move as an inability by Twitter to confront some of the bigger more menacing issues plaguing the platform. It will be interesting to see how this update impacts activity on the platform. But perhaps the bigger issue on hand is: Twitter, are you listening?
Last week we also saw some noteworthy updates from Facebook and Instagram. Oh and Microsoft has finally decided to do something with Linkedin. All in all, a pretty busy week for social media
Last week’s top social media stories
1. Twitter is testing 280 character tweets
Twitter is experimenting with expanding the character limit of tweets from 140 to 280 characters. Initially this will be rolled out to select users before becoming widely available. The move has been met with a lot of criticism with many veterans claiming that supersizing tweets misses the point. But Twitter explains the update as a way to give every Twitter user an equal opportunity to express themselves. Languages such as Korean, Japanese and Chinese enable people express much more in one character than a language like English.
Twitter hopes this move will help with growth and developing a more engaged community. But when you consider how rampant trolling and abuse is on the platform coupled with the fact that there’s already a Chrome extension to block 280 character tweets, you have to wonder whether Twitter has lost touch with its users. [Entrepreneur]
2. Facebook is experimenting with a facial recognition feature
Facebook is testing a new feature which would use facial recognition to verify a user’s account. This could prove to be especially useful in situations when you’re unable to receive two factor SMS such as when you’re abroad. The feature would only be available on devices you’ve already used to login to Facebook with. [TechCrunch]
3. Instagram rolls out comment control feature
In an attempt to reduce abuse and online trolling, Instagram has rolled out a feature which lets users block certain users from commenting on their posts. The feature, Comments Control, will make it easy to limit comments to specific members of your community such as followers. In addition if you have a private account, you’ll be able to block certain people who follow you from commenting. [Time]
4. Microsoft integrates LinkedIn into Office 365
Microsoft has announced that it will start integrating LinkedIn data with Office 365 profile cards. This means you’ll be able to see data about your professional contacts in Office 365 without having to search for them on LinkedIn. Microsoft also has plans to integrate LinkedIn data with Dynamics 365 for Sales, Microsoft’s CRM solution. This will make it easy to send InMails directly from Dynamics 365. [GeekWire]
5. Target to integrate Pinterest’s visual search technology
Target will integrate Pinterest’s viral search technology, know as Lens, into their apps. This technology will later be integrated into the Target desktop website. The partnership will enable Target shoppers to snap a picture of any product they see when they’re out and about to be presented with similar items that are available at Target. The search technology will present shoppers with similar items at Target even if the item snapped is not from Target. [Target]
Which social media stories from last week caught your attention? Share your thoughts in the comments below.