If you’re struggling to keep up with all the changes in social media lately, you aren’t the only one. You’ve likely heard the fuss over the “intrusive” Facebook Messenger, and that Foursquare recently moved the check-in function to the new app Swarm. Add to that Pinterest’s new paid ads, and a whole bunch of other stuff, and it’s easy to see how fast changing social media has users’ heads spinning!
What we’re seeing is the continued trend of specialization and customization in apps and social media platforms. While this means some pretty cool and convenient services for consumers, the speed, complexity and number of changes is freaking some people out. Here’s a quick roundup:
1) A lot of people are up in arms about Facebook Messenger, and having to send and receive private messages solely through this app on their mobile phones. One reason is that it’s annoying to toggle between two apps (the traditional Facebook app for public sharing of social content, and the Messenger app for communicating privately with friends).
The other reason is that media alarmists that misunderstand the app are spreading outdated and incorrect information about the permissions Messenger requests. It is worrisome for users that the app asks for the ability to access your phone’s contacts and call log, and to record audio from your phone’s microphone, make phone calls and send text messages. But without those functions, the app could not function as designed.
That being said, a lot of apps we use on a daily basis have access to this same data. It’s not fair to single out Facebook as being malicious (unfortunately Facebook is also to blame for their reputation as intrusive with research and data mining). There is an atmosphere of paranoia in today’s day and age of spamming, fraud and NSA spying, but the reality is that you have a choice – check out the Messenger terms of service, and deny permissions you’re uncomfortable with, or communicate privately with friends on Facebook from your desktop instead of your cell phone.
2) Foursquare made the decision to move check-ins to another app, Swarm, when they discovered the vast majority of users were solely using Foursquare to check-in and share their location, and not for the purpose of discovering new businesses as originally intended.
Now, Foursquare will be offering enhanced listings of local businesses, and in doing so, pit itself directly against Yelp for local business searches. Going forward, businesses will need to evaluate where their customers are coming from and keep an eye on Foursquare’s attempt to overtake Yelp as the go-to resource for local listings.
3) Speaking of Yelp, the business review giant celebrates it’s 10th birthday this October, and continues to evolve as a strong social player. Recent updates to the service included the addition of video, and a new function has been added to the Yelp app called Review Translation so users can translate business reviews posted in other languages.
4) Pinterest has made some announcements this week as well. Select companies were invited to try out new paid ad placement on the site, and new private messaging services we rolled out to the public. Users can more easily send pins and messages privately to other users on the app and desktop versions. Scenarios suggested by the site’s tutorial (see resources below for a link) include event and recreational planning with friends and colleagues. As it is, 80% of current pins are “repins”, or reposted content according to Internet Marketing, Inc, and this new feature is sure to encourage even more sharing.
Big picture, we’re seeing social media platforms evolve the way all marketing has in recent years – moving from broad purpose and general audiences to increasingly more specific purposes and targeted markets. Overall, users seem pleased with programs that are more convenient and seem to intuitively “get” them, and brands are happy that users are engaging longer.
Remember, red balloon offers highly effective social media management, and it’s our job to keep up with all this change so you don’t have to. Have questions about anything in this post, social media or life in general? Contact me at jennifer at red balloon inc dot com
Cheers! Jenn 😉