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Meta Adds New, Holiday-Themed Elements to Messenger, Including Soundmojis and AR Effects

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Meta has added some new, holiday-themed elements to Messenger, including seasonal AR effects, new Soundmojis to help spread Christmas cheer and fun additions for Messenger Kids.

First off, there’s a new AR effect, created in partnership with beauty influencer Ashley Strong, which adds ‘sparkles and shiny snowflakes that appear from your eyes when you blink’.

“With this effect, you can magically freeze the screen – just open your mouth for a cold breath to start to appear and freeze the screen.”

Not entirely sure if Christmas or Ice King from Game of Thrones, but it’s a new feature either way.

Messenger’s also got some new word effects – now, when you wish people a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa, you can also spark a flood of related emojis up the screen to give your messaging an extra themed kick.

Meta also notes that you can ‘plan some seriously lit end-of-year parties’ with its new New Year’s Eve chat theme for Messenger and Instagram DMs, which also includes word effects.

I don’t really like Meta’s attempts at cool lingo in their announcements, which may be a part of its broader plan to re-connect with the youth. But yes, lit parties, via Messenger. Rock on.

There are also new soundmojis, Meta’s attempt to bring another, unique dimension to emoji usage.

“Visit your Messenger expressions tray, select the loudspeaker icon, and find the present and Christmas tree emojis for a special holiday song surprise!”

While Meta’s also taking the opportunity to encourage more funds exchange activity within messaging, with new, themed funds transfer visuals when sending money in the app.

The more people moving their money in Meta’s apps, the easier it will be for Meta to then encourage eCommerce activity, so while this is a lesser element in the broader announcement here, it may be the most impactful in terms of Meta’s strategic plans.

In addition to this, Meta has also added a range of new holiday elements to Messenger Kids, including an option to chat with Santa (with the messages going to the parents), new holiday games and themed AR effects.

I mean, it’s getting pretty close to the wire if you wanted to use the Santa chat feature as a means to find out what your child really wants this Christmas, but it could be another way to get kids excited about the holiday – which still feels like it’s sprung up way too early this time around.

Some of these are fun, and will add an extra element to your holiday messages, some are a bit meh – but either way, they provide more options to facilitate engagement and interaction via message for the season.

You can check out the new features in the latest version of the Messenger app.

Article: socialmediatoday.com

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Free Annual Whitepaper on the 2021 Global Edtech Investment Available…

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There was a Staggering Spike in Investments Across the Globe in 2021 According to a New Whitepaper by Metariverse (formerly Metaari)

(PRWeb January 14, 2022)

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/free_annual_whitepaper_on_the_2021_global_edtech_investment_available_now/prweb18434853.htm

Source Here: prweb.com

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YouTube Moves Away From Original Programming to Focus on Creator Funding Initiatives

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YouTube has announced that it will shut down its YouTube Originals program, which at one stage was a key value add for its YouTube Premium service, and a focus in its broader effort to challenge rising video-on-demand rivals like Netflix and Disney+.

As announced by YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl, YouTube has made the decision to wind down its original programming due to the departure of long-time Originals lead Susanne Daniels, who’s moving on after a raft of changes to her role. Daniels, an industry veteran who has previously worked for The WB, Lifetime and MTV, was initially brought in to lead YouTube’s Originals program in 2015, where she was tasked with developing original series’ for the app.

Daniels’ initial work saw the creation of series like ‘Cobra Kai’ and program partnerships with big-name stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, Demi Lovato and Katy Perry. Those programs were initially made available to ‘YouTube Red’ subscribers only, who paid $9.99 to access this higher tier of YouTube content.

YouTube Red gained some early traction, but was split into YouTube Premium and YouTube Music in 2018 to provide more subscription options for users. Later in 2018, YouTube also made the strategic decision to make its Premium content available for free, instead of gated for paying subscribers, moving more into line with YouTube’s general ad-supported model for viewing, and tapping into the platform’s main strength in audience and reach.

But over time, YouTube has gradually moved away from original programming.

As explained by Variety, Daniels and her team shifted their focus to unscripted content in three different areas: music, celebrity and creator-focused originals, as well as educational programming. That eventually saw YouTube merging back into its regular content approach, and with over 2 million creators now taking part in the YouTube partner program, forming a much more significant revenue and retention model for the platform, the need for a dedicated originals division has been diminished to the point where YouTube feels that focusing elsewhere will be more beneficial.

As explained by Kyncl:

“Going forward, we will only be funding programs that are part of Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds. We will honor our commitment for already contracted shows in progress and creators who are involved in those shows should expect to hear from us in the coming days.”

Given its regular push to add more users to YouTube Premium, and the regular resistance from most, it makes sense for YouTube to instead focus on other areas, while building its offering for creators is also key in maximizing its audience reach and resonance by tapping into the latest trends and shifts.

Essentially, YouTube doesn’t need to create its own original content, and it’s fairly clear now that it couldn’t compete on this front anyway, given the amount of original properties and programs that Disney, Netflix and Amazon now control.

By re-focusing on creators, YouTube can maximize its appeal, in variance to its real rivals, in Meta and TikTok. And while YouTube would love to dominate all forms of digital media consumption, scripted dramas are clearly not what YouTube users are looking for from the app, at least not in the way that this has become an accepted behavior for other VOD providers.

Given the gradual wind down of its originals, the impact on YouTube will likely be minimal, though you can expect to see some ramp up in focus on creators as a result of the re-allocation of its resources.

Does that mean YouTube will stop pushing YouTube Premium? No, it does not.

Just recently, YouTube launched a new annual payment option for YouTube Premium with the lure of eradicating annoying ads from your YouTube experience. Which is really the only lure for Premium now – no exclusive content, but the ability to get rid of ads.

Which has always seemed like a slightly conflicted offering – “we know our ads are so annoying that some people will pay to shut them off”.

Still, platforms have to make money somehow.

Original Post: socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Finally Brings Communities to Its Android App

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Almost five months after the initial launch of its Communities option, which enables users to share tweets with topic-aligned groups of users in the app, Twitter has today announced that Android users can also now engage in Communities, expanding access to these more dedicated discussion spaces.

Communities is essentially Twitter’s answer to Facebook groups or Reddit subreddits, moving away from the traditional ‘public square’ approach of tweeting and providing another way to form community around specific subjects in the app.

Though how successful Communities have been thus far is questionable. Most Communities, based on anecdotal evidence, are not highly active, with a part of the problem being that they’re largely obsolete, and restrictive, which goes against the established incentive devices of the app.

On the first point, given that most regular Twitter users have already curated a list of people they want to hear from in their feeds, Communities doesn’t really serve any significant purpose in keeping up to date with your key topics of interest.

It could, of course, enable you to find new tweet discussions to join, which could expand your tweeting activity, but with Communities currently being either ‘invite-only’ or ‘open to all’, that means that you either need to know somebody already in an interest area to gain access (and community discovery is not overly intuitive), while ‘open to all’ groups are generally filled with spam – which even the invited groups are as well, to a degree, due to flaws in the joining process (each new member can invite five of their own connections).

Twitter is working to address this, with a new ‘request to join’ option, where community admins will be able to approve or deny requests. That could help to improve the situation, but right now, the existing process is problematic in some respects.

On the second note, prolific tweeters already have far more followers on their personal handles than they can reach within a Community, so tweeting exclusively to Communities, only to see less engagement on their comments, isn’t an overly appealing prospect.

Sure, you could share your opinion direct to a community, and get no likes or replies, but why do that when you could share the same with your own, established audience who are more likely to respond. And because Twitter has already engrained Likes and replies as social currency on the platform, the incentive to tweet drives more users to the biggest response surface, which reduces the motivation to share to Communities.

As noted, Twitter is working on some of these elements, including discoverability, which could improve the Communities experience.

Maybe. No doubt some Twitter Communities are already highly active, but right now, as it stands, it doesn’t look like Communities is set to become a major element of tweet engagement, unless Twitter can refine the offering, and re-ignite interest.

Maybe Android access will change this – and ultimately, Twitter has the engagement data, it knows how active people are in Communities, and whether it’s worth pursuing further in future.

Will it go the way of Fleets, or can Communities become a bigger part of the tweet experience?

We’ll know more later in the year, now that all users can access the option.

Original Source: socialmediatoday.com

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