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Twitter’s Vine app has rocky launch, survives anyhow

The newly launched Vine app was off to a rough start, and while it unveils a deep competition between Facebook and Twitter, it offers a hybrid between photo and video sharing that could be the long sought after social media sweet spot.

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Vine app: Twitter’s first standalone product

In October of last year, Twitter acquired Vine, a smartphone app that users can create videos with, which when edited, becomes a six second animated gif that loops and is embedded in a tweet, sticking with the brevity of the 140 character limit of Twitter.

The Vine app is Twitter’s first standalone product, much like Facebook has Facebook Messenger and Facebook Poke, and is a hybrid of photo sharing and video sharing, with an advantage over animated gifs – sound. This could be the sweet spot that bloggers and social media users have been looking for, because while it hits that space in between photo and video, it does auto-play, but the sound is automatically muted and can be turned on, which we believe to be the perfect approach.

Examples of the Vine app in the real world:

“They’re quirky,” says Vine Co-Founder Don Hofmann

Don Hofmann, Co-Founder and General Manager of Vine said on the company’s blog, “Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special. We’re also happy to share the news that Vine has been acquired by Twitter. Our companies share similar values and goals; like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what’s happening in the world.”

“We also believe constraint inspires creativity, whether it’s through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video,” Hoffman added. “Although we’ve joined Twitter, you don’t need a Twitter account to use Vine (but signing up is a little quicker if you do!). We are thrilled to be part of Twitter, and look forward to the opportunities we can pursue together in the future.”

Vine app: off to a bad start, what happened?

Vine officially launched on Thursday for iPhone and iPod Touch users, which instantly alienated half of their potential users, and although the company says they are quickly working on the Android app, critics say they launched prematurely having only one of the apps completed.

That’s technology these days though, and a common complaint. That’s not all that went down, though, as users began seeing posts in their name from the Vine app and it was uncovered that there was a tech glitch allowing users to sign into accounts that weren’t theirs. Instantly, many people got a bad taste in their mouth and said they would opt out, but the glitch has been repaired, and the company was proactive in their public relations push, and rather than blaming users, they simply said it was a problem, they’d fix it, and they did.

Additionally, one of the standard methods of connecting with other users within any new social network is the “find friends” feature which allows you to see which of your Twitter or Facebook friends are already on the network. But Facebook blocked the Vine app from that data, so only Twitter friends are searchable. Some openly mocked Facebook for not sharing their data, but the company has openly blocked competition, and it should be noted that Twitter has recently done the same by blocking Instagram (owned by Facebook), highlighting a growing chasm between the two competitors.

The Vine app will definitely lead to some embarrassment for users who have any temporary lapse in judgment, and we predict a few celebrities will have some shameful moments. We noticed that while a user can delete a tweet, or even a Vine video, the tweets with the Vine videos in them can be grabbed by Storify, which essentially memorializes the moment, as deleted content is not necessarily deleted by Storify.

Lastly, as with any internet site, tool, or app, the porn showed up, turning many users off, and while it is no surprise, it is of concern. Samantha Murphy at Mashable reports, “Videos saved via the Vine app with hashtags such as #porn, #sex and #penis revealed even more graphic videos, many of which had a warning that the following content contained sensitive content. Twitter and Vine have not yet responded to a request for comment.”

vine app - download itunes

Analysis: Vine app proves Web 2.0 movement was a farce

While the primary concerns have been resolved with the Vine app’s rocky launch, it is an interesting moment in social media history, highlighting not only the increasingly heated competition between Facebook and Twitter, but revealing that the Web 2.0 movement was a farce, a practical joke.

Five years ago, the mentality of the general web was that of mashups – everyone should openly collaborate, all services should share their data, and the world online should be completely transparent. The tech world acted like a hippie co-op with open doors, but they’ve grown up and realized that’s no way to do business – Coke doesn’t share their recipes with Pepsi. Now, and companies like Facebook which are publicly traded, are having to do business like big boys and protect their incomes, but boy, all of that “transparency” companies were talked into sure helped some companies to get big while others withered – therein lies the practical joke.

This moment in time, this butting of heads between Twitter and Facebook is one of the final nails in the Web 2.0 coffin, an ending of an era where startups sang kumbaya together, even while they competed against each other. The two biggest social networks (Facebook and Twitter) are now innovating as an ad play, not for the excitement of thrilling users and growing their legions of loyal fans, and they’re here to do business.

Will some criticize? Of course, these companies are making money on the backs of content generated by users, but that’s never been a secret, so maybe it’s time to focus on the next era which is a world filled with billions of disparate data points that businesses are trying to figure out how to piece together and make sense of as a means of making money.

Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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