SnapChat Stories, Facebook Updates, … & Now YouTube Vlogs: Instagram Is More Than Just A Square Album Now

Three days ago (6/20/18), I noticed a new icon on the top-right corner of my Instagram homepage. It’s… a TV?

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Since this feature is called IGTV, I had a feeling that it’s meant for people to post long videos on the platform. And sure enough, I was right.

It’s strange for Instagram to have that feature, but not really.

For one, Instagram has been and is mostly known for its square albums and images.

When Instagram implemented SnapChat’s Story feature, the platform took on a new image as a storytelling, vlogging, and lively platform. I say “lively” because videos bring liveliness to a platform that’s full of still images. And I say “vlogging” because the Story feature is essentially a feature for people to vlog.

And for those of you who don’t know this: Facebook owns Instagram and allows user to share their Instagram pictures on Facebook and Twitter posts.

So how will IGTV be used? Why was it added to Instagram?

Since Instagram has become a popular hub for bloggers and vloggers, the IGTV will allow users to upload longer vlogs – which is something that users couldn’t really do with Instagram Stories unless they upload a series of images and clips together, or compile them in a Highlights reel.

More importantly, studies show that video content tend to attract users more than still images. (There are a lot of studies on that, so you can look those up. They’re quite interesting to read.)

What makes Instagram an interesting social media platform is how it displays and organizes graphic content.

  • Users judge other users by the content in their square albums.
  • Stories can be previewed by tapping on a user’s profile image that contains a gradient ring.
  • A user’s Stories won’t be featured on another user’s homepage unless he/she is being followed by that other user.
  • Highlights of Stories can be added to a user’s profile so that profile visitors can replay Story content that are separated into topics or categories.

Yes, there are some negative thing to say about how Instagram displays content. For instance, the replacement of chronological display with curated content based on the kind of content users interact with has been heavily criticized by users who wish to see their friends’ content displayed before the content of other more popular (and sponsored) bloggers on the platform.

But overall, Instagram’s graphic platform makes it “win” over other social media platforms.

Facebook heavily relies on textual posts, the news media, and its emergency geo-location updates to make engaging content (because the news media has pretty much taken over the platform); Twitter relies on short textual posts to make engaging content (even though they increased their character limit from 140 to 280); and SnapChat relies on their disappearing feature to make engaging content (even though they added a save feature that totally goes against how some people don’t want their posts to be permanent).

Instagram doesn’t show any text unless a user wants to view the description of a post, the comments section, or a Story post that contains text. Nowadays, people are so lazy to read text that we love to rely on images and videos to receive information. And that’s exactly why Instagram is performing so well as a social media platform – because people can quickly glance over content and decide whether or not it’s worth their time.

So, is IGTV going to replace YouTube?

No. YouTube will always be the ultimate online-TV platform because of how many YouTubers, the music industry, and the movie industry rely on the platform’s popularity and accessibility through smartphones, computers, and smart TVs. Also, YouTube is known for their landscape videos and thumbnails.

Instagram promotes the portrait orientation because of how landscape content are pixelated when they’re previewed as squares. I haven’t tried the new IGTV feature yet, but I imagine that it promotes portrait videos instead of the traditional landscape videos.

Will IGTV be made available on smart TVs?

Probably. Because Instagram now allows people to upload pre-recorded videos instead of videos that are recorded through the platform’s camera, IGTV will probably have videos recorded from high-quality cameras, and edited from video-editing software. And, since phone cameras are becoming increasingly better in quality, we can expect more quality video uploads from amateur videographers on Instagram.

What’s the future of Instagram?

Instagram will continue to promote Facebook’s existence.

Maybe Instagram will have a “square magazine” (which will be different from the Carousel feature) 😂.

If Instagram becomes a news media hub… well actually, it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY that Instagram will become a news media hub like Facebook and SnapChat. Why? Again, it’s because of how Instagram’s graphic platform doesn’t really promote textual content. The news media like to provide informational descriptions with their photographs. And because of Instagram’s layout, (negative) photographs from the news media won’t really stand out among other people’s (positive and personal) travel and selfie pictures. Facebook (Instagram’s owner) has learned from their mistakes that news content is re-postable and engaging, but not exactly appealing in a positive way.

Somehow, Instagram has maintained itself as a mostly positive (and narcissistic content) for any user to easily get addicted to the platform. A lot of YouTube vloggers who make “simple” personal videos will probably migrate to Instagram because of that, while YouTubers who make videos that make more cinematic videos will most likely stay on YouTube.

Singers and talk show hosts will most likely continue to rely on YouTube because of Vevo and how YouTube’s algorithm always favors celebrities (huge paid promotions) over small content creators.

Last, but not least, WILL MORE PEOPLE GET MONETIZED ON INSTAGRAM?

Highly doubt it. Instagram won’t shut down like Vine. I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation why though.

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Smart Bra

Ladies, ditch the Fitbit and Apple Watch for this stylish, techy bra. Guys, feel free to do that too.

The OMbra is a smart bra that can measure a woman’s biometrics – heart rate, breathing rate, calories burned, and other metrics. The data is recorded is recorded through a sensor located in the lower band of the bra that runs along the rib cage. That data is then wirelessly transferred to the OmSignal mobile app. That app has a feature called OmRun that measures distance, pace, breathing rhythm, and fatigue levels during cardio workouts. The bra is available for $150.

Microsoft’s Grocery-List Helper

Microsoft and Liebherr are making an internet-connected, smart refrigerator device that reminds people what they need at the market.

The device will be able to recognize milk cartons, ketchup bottles, and other foods and drinks inside the fridge.

It will also keep an inventory list that can be accessed through an app.

Toasteroid

An app-controlled smart toaster

 

When was the last time you were excited to eat breakfast?

Unless you usually change what you eat for breakfast, your breakfasts are most likely boring.

Well, here’s something that’ll make breakfast fun to eat again: Toasteroid – a smart toaster that’s connected to an app.

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You can design your toast to have the weather forecast, messages, emojis, and other images. The images can either be chosen from their collection of templates or doodled on a drawing board.

You can also adjust to your prefered toast darkness.

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Toasteroid has a pretty stylish design. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a toaster.

Whether or not you have smart devices or stainless steel stuff in your kitchen, Toasteroid can add some flair to your kitchen.

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The Toasteroid team is hoping to sell the toaster for $85. They compared the price tag of the Toasteroid to the price tag of other toasters, hoping to convince people that their price is reasonable.

However, just a quick search on Google helped me find similar and cheaper toasters. So, if you really think the Toasteroid is worth buying, go for it!

 

 


 

Here’s the official website for Toasteroid.

Here’s the Kickstarter page for Toasteroid.

Too Many Messenger Apps, Google!

Creating more messenger apps instead of enhancing the features of one messenger app won’t help the tech giant succeed in the competition.

All we need is one messenger app, Google. And we certainly don’t want to download too many apps on our cellphones.

On top of Messenger and Hangouts, Google introduced two new messenger apps: Allo and Duo, both of which support text messaging and video calls. The only feature that makes Allo and Duo unique from Messenger and Hangouts is their smart bot.

Google defended their stance on developing multiple messenger apps by saying that consumers use apps for different purposes. For instance, users may choose between Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Duo depending on which group of people they want to talk to and their preferred way of social interaction.

Google may have a point, but if you look at the Facebook Messenger and Skype apps, they offer video-calling, phone, texting, and picture-sharing features.

Nowadays when people love multi-purpose technology, Google’s single-purpose apps won’t compete effectively against other messaging apps. Eventually, at least one (if not all four) of Google’s messenger apps will be discontinued.

For now, it would be wise for Google to focus on promoting and enhancing the features of their original messenger app, Hangouts. That app is notably one of Google’s not-so-popular apps, since it isn’t mobile-friendly, is laggy, and isn’t well-associated with Google+.

 


 

Citation

Jessica Dolcourt. “Allo, Duo, Google Messenger, Hangouts. Google Has Three ‘messenger’ Apps Too Many.” CNET. CNET, 22 May 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://www.cnet.com/news/allo-duo-google-messenger-hangouts-google-has-three-messenger-apps-too-many/&gt;.

Does It Matter If Google’s Messaging App Is “Smart”?

Google’s new messaging app, “Allo”, has a smartbot that “makes messaging easier, more efficient, and more expressive” (Google Research Blog). But does that even matter?

Google’s new messaging app, Allo, has a unique feature called “Photo Reply” that uses machine learning to understand what a shared photo depicts and suggests comments for users to reply back with (Google Research Blog).

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“Photo Reply” is the only feature that distinguishes the app from other messaging apps, and it only saves users the hassle of typing.

For the most part, Allo‘s interface resembles other messenger apps (especially Facebook’s Messenger,), making the app’s smart feature seem less recognizable.

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So if Google just wanted to add one new messaging feature, wouldn’t it be better for them to integrate this feature across various platforms instead of limiting it to one app?

For instance, this feature would prove to be a great addition to social media platforms that already have a large network of users that share photos.

In particular, integrating “Photo Reply” into Facebook’s comments section and Messenger will give users the opportunity to either choose from sending user-generated text, smartly-generated text, or graphical (GIFS, stickers, emojis, etc.) replies to photos.

 


 

Citation

“Aw, so Cute!”: Allo Helps You Respond to Shared Photos.” Google Research Blog. Google, 18 May 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://googleresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/aw-so-cute-allo-helps-you-respond-to.html&gt;.

BandPage: The New Myspace

A new platform application seeks to accomplish what Myspace once did: to connect musicians to their fans while marketing their music.

Compared to how musicians promoted themselves during the pre-internet years, today’s musicians can easily find and create more opportunities for self-promotion with tremendous help from social networking sites and with the recent addition of a new platform application called BandPage.

BandPage is similar to Myspace in that it allows musicians to create an account for them to manage their music, bio, tour dates, photos, bio, and videos (TechCrunch). But rather than just updating profiles within the website, it connects to and simultaneously updates musicians’ entire online presence.

“BandPage is dedicated to helping musicians build their careers by growing their fan bases and increasing their revenue on the largest digital music services in the world. By joining forces with the team at YouTube, we can help artists reach their fans in more powerful ways than ever before.”

-BandPage

From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was not only the largest social networking site in the world (Cashmore), but it was a significant influence on pop culture and music. Since then, the number of Myspace users has declined despite the website’s redesigns.

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-Myspace’s current logo design

BandPage also experienced a decline in its popularity when Facebook shut down their Page apps, causing their app (which allowed musicians to create a Music tab on their Facebook page) to lose about 90% of its traffic within three months (TechCrunch).

When Facebook banned Page landing tabs in 2012, BandPage lost 90% of its traffic

-BandPage’s former Facebook Page app went from 32 million monthly users to just a few million monthly users

If Myspace wishes to remain faithful to only promoting content within their site, then BandPage’s desire to be versatile across social networks will make the app claim Myspace’s former title as one of the largest sites in the world.

The convergence of musicians’ social networking accounts through this single platform will not only make musicians’ online presence more visible, but it will also achieve everything that Myspace once did and more: encourage fans to be more active and passive; equalize activity across multiple social networking sites for both users and musicians; and help the music industry sell more tickets, products, and services.

Learn more about BandPage on their website.


Citation

“BandPage Has Been Acquired! We’re Joining YouTube!” The BandPage Blog. BandPage, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.bandpage.com/2016/02/12/youtube-bandpage-2016-2-12/&gt;.

Cashmore, Pete. “MySpace, America’s Number One.” Mashable. Mashable, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://mashable.com/2006/07/11/myspace-americas-number-one/#a7mRsopiPgqV&gt;.

Constine, Josh. “YouTube Acquires BandPage For $8M To Attract Musicians With Money-Making Tools.” TechCrunch. TechCrunch, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/12/youtube-acquires-bandpage/&gt;.