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Take it from a teen: This is where we spend our time on social media

(SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS) Attention brands: this teenager hit it on the head where the cool kids are (virtually) hanging out.

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When social media is actually social

Social media has been a household utilization for quite some time now. Though it is used by people of all ages, it is primarily enjoyed by individuals within the teenage group as a lead means of communication.

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Many speculate what teens think when operating social media, in terms of what’s cool and what’s churned. But, wouldn’t this hold more validity from the mouth of an actual teen?

A teen in his own words

This is what Andrew Watts set out to accomplish by penning his article “A Teenager’s View on Social Media.” In the article, he gives a brief synopsis of what kids his age think of a given social media platform.

His opinions are based on not only his own social media usage, but what he has observed from friends. And while I was born slightly earlier in the ‘90s than Watts (and may soon begin to lose sight of “what’s cool”), I have to say I agree with what he has to say (and for the sake of this article, will identify with the teenage age group.)

Bye, Facebook

First, he explains that Facebook is “dead” to this generation and is only useful for its group aspect (especially when used for group projects at school). In my travels, I have found this to absolutely be true.

When I was in high school, Facebook was all the rage.

But, the second everyone’s parents started creating accounts, we all ran faster than on a Friday night when the cops busted our keg parties.

And by “we”, I mean my peers… I was never that cool. Anyway, I digress…

So, where is everybody?

Facebook quickly lost its luster and is now a place inundated with only half-true “news” articles. Even though many of us still hold accounts, we are (for the most part) not that active on the timeline.

Where Watts says we are most active is on Instagram.

While we may scroll through Facebook everyday, we are unlikely to post much. But, Instagram is a whole different story. (And, it may be worth noting that as I type this, two teenage-ish girls across from me a Starbucks are discussing a third girl’s Instagram profile.)

Insta, baby

People within the age bracket at hand absolutely love acting like amateur photographers and post their favorite memories with the perfect filter. Again, he is right on with this: I find that myself and my friends (both older and younger) identify Instagram as their favorite social media platform.

However, Instagram is not really used as a means for back-and-forth communication.

This is where Snapchat finds ridiculous amounts of popularity.

Not only can you share your favorite memories, but Snapchat gives you an excuse to document anything and everything (while chatting with your friends in the process.)

The Two T’s

Watts also states that, while Twitter is popular, it can sometimes be confusing and is not as actively utilized as a result. He also says that everyone uses Tumblr, but that usage is hush-hush as you generally don’t identify yourself on the blogging site (I’ve always seen it as the social media version of Fight Club.)

Hey, brands, listen up!

So, you’re probably thinking, “Why is this important?” Well, being that teenagers and millennials are the main users of social media, brands should be taking into account where they should be marketing.

Brands have really made a presence on Snapchat by creating their own stories. However, I personally don’t see this as much on Instagram, which is also where the party is at.

Taking into account where these brand influencers are pitching their tent is step one in getting their attention. So, take note from these youngins.

#FromATeen

Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Social Media

Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.

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Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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Social Media

New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.

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Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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