Snapchat in the News

Snapchat in the News

Snapchat has been in the news for a number of different reasons this past week. Some news seems fun, while other news isn’t so great. Here’s what you might have missed from Snap!

Snaps can now include GIPHY gifs

Animated stickers can now be placed on your snaps, thanks to the new GIPHY feature. This feature is similar to the Instagram update I wrote about a little over a month ago.

Now when you’re posting a snap, you can tap on the stickers icon and search through animated stickers with a feature powered by popular GIF provider GIPHY. There are plenty of cute, fun, and interesting animated stickers to add, so you should be able to find something that adds a little flair to your snaps.

Snapchat redesign won’t be leaving, despite complaints

Snapchat’s recent redesign (which rolled out to some countries weeks ago and recently reached the US) is continuing to frustrate users. The redesign included mixing Stories in with peoples’ Snap messages, along with other changes, and people have not been happy about it. Unfortunately, no amount of negative feedback seems to be of use—Snap will not be reverting back to its previous design.

Snapchat users have vented their frustration in many ways. Conversation about the redesign on Twitter has revolved around how to avoid receiving the update and how to potentially switch back to an old version. A petition has been making the rounds, asking Snap to get rid of the new update. And too many jokes to count have been made at the expensive of Snap’s redesign; many Facebook news feeds have been peppered with sarcastic, funny memes about the frustrating new design.

Snap has now responded officially to the signers of the petition (and other annoyed users). Their response, unfortunately, is to tell users the update is here to stay. They do also mention that they’ll be releasing a new update that introduces tabs that make things a little more organized. However, the overall redesign won’t be going anywhere, no matter how irritated Snap users may be.

Did Kylie Jenner’s negative tweet cause Snap’s stock to drop?

Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, Kylie Jenner tweeted about Snapchat. On Thursday, Snap’s shares fell. Now people are questioning whether Jenner’s tweet led to the drop.

Kylie Jenner tweeted, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” As of Friday morning, the tweet had over 60,000 retweets, hundreds of thousands of likes, and thousands of comments. Jenner has over 24 million followers on Twitter, and they quickly responded to her tweet.

Though Jenner soon wrote another tweet, saying, “still love you tho snap … my first love,” many news sites are speculating that her tweet led to Snap’s stock dropping. Business Insider reports that shares dropped by as much as 8.5%. Though there doesn’t seem to be confirmation that the tweet led to the drop, it does raise the question of how much of an effect a simple tweet can have.

Android Users Now Have Access to AR Stickers

Android Users Now Have Access to AR Stickers

Good news for Android users! Now Android devices have access to augmented reality stickers through the Motion Stills app.

For those who are not yet familiar with the feature, AR stickers are moving stickers that can be recorded and photographed in front of whatever your camera is pointing at, essentially inserting them into the scene. Depending on what device you have and what apps you use, you may have seen AR stickers before. Last year, Google Pixel and Pixel 2 owners had AR stickers rolled out to them for use in their phone’s camera. And the concept is similar to what you’ve probably already spotted if you use Snapchat regularly—Snap’s augmented reality Bitmoji stickers. These stickers in the Snapchat app let you insert your animated Bitmoji character into whatever scene your camera is capturing, taking photos and videos.

Now Google is giving more users the chance to use their AR stickers, instead of keeping them just for Pixel owners. However, the stickers available to everyone don’t work the same way they do on Pixel devices. The AR stickers for the Pixel use Google’s ARCore, their augmented reality tech. ARCore, according to Google, uses three main technologies for their AR: motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. This is, of course, just a basic view of ARCore—there’s a lot more that goes into its tech. But what’s most important to note is that the AR stickers on Pixel devices are perhaps higher tech and more realistically integrated than the AR stickers coming out for everyone.

The AR stickers in the Motion Stills app use some more old school tech—your phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer. You can set one of these stickers on a horizontal surface and then do things like take photos and videos, as well as make GIFs, then share them with your friends. Some of the stickers currently available to use include a dinosaur, alien, and robot. To check them out for yourself, download the Motion Stills app from the Play store!

Instagram Updates—GIFs, Stories, and Activity Status

Instagram Updates—GIFs, Stories, and Activity Status

Instagram was in the news quite a bit this week. Here’s a roundup of some updates you may have missed!

GIFs are coming to Stories

Some users are now able to add GIFs to their Stories on Instagram. TechCrunch reports that some people have access to a GIF search engine that allows them to add some of Giphy’s animations that can be put on top of pictures and videos. The GIFs are placed with transparent backgrounds so they don’t look cluttered on top of the images or videos. There are all sorts of GIF stickers in the library. Screenshots show things like hand gestures, hearts, and stylized text phrases.

Right now, this appears to have been rolled out in the Philippines and Brazil. TechCrunch notes that Instagram and Giphy are staying pretty quiet and avoiding any concrete details at the moment.

Text-only Stories are being tested

“Type,” a new text-only option, is coming to Instagram. The Verge reports that the feature is currently being tested. Instagram, of course, is built around sharing photos and videos. With “Type,” though, users would be able to share text-only posts to their Stories. You can pick a font and a background to personalize your post.

Facebook users may find this idea familiar. On Facebook, text posts that are short enough can use a background design. Of course, it sounds like Instagram users will be able to change their font, and there may be many different background options. The Verge says “Type” has only been spotted in Europe and Japan so far. Here’s hoping it rolls out to the US soon.

An activity status feature has been added

Now you can let people see when you were last active—if you’re interested in that kind of thing. The Verge is reporting that Instagram has added an activity status within direct messages.

People you follow or have sent DMs to will now be able to see when you were last active. If you’re on Instagram at the time, it will show you as “active now.” It’s important to note people can’t automatically see your activity just because they follow you—you have to be following them. You can also disable the activity status in your settings (it’s on by default).

Many sites are reporting on this update, and many people are talking about it on platforms like Twitter. What most people are focusing on is how to turn the feature off. It doesn’t currently appear to be a feature that too many people actually want. Headlines are focusing on how to disable the feature, and Twitter users are expressing their disinterest (or dislike) for an activity status. It’s unclear if everyone has the feature at this moment, but if you’d rather keep your activity status private, head over to the app to see if it’s available for you.

Instagram better than Snapchat? Yes, according to one old fogey

Instagram better than Snapchat? Yes, according to one old fogey

Kids these days and their InstaSnaps and their ChatGrams. Get off my lawn!

I’m just kidding. You can stay on my lawn.

But technology moves fast, and keeping up can eventually get overwhelming. Every person comes to a point in their life (some sooner than others) when they no longer get on board with every new app. Maybe you feel like apps come along every day, and you can afford to miss a few. Maybe you want to wait and see which ones are still around in a year, and then you’ll get on board. And then BAM! Overnight, you become the “old man yells at cloud” headline from the Simpsons. “The Old Man and the Key,”[1] Episode 13, Season 13 of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons originally aired on March 10th, 2002
“The Old Man and the Key,”[1] Episode 13, Season 13 of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons originally aired on March 10th, 2002

For me, that app was Snapchat. I had too many social media accounts and was not about to sign up for another. Getting left behind by Snapchat made me feel out of the loop though, so Instagram Stories introduced a nice compromise: a new use for a familiar platform.

I’m not the only one who feels that way: Instagram seems to have taken a sizable chunk of Snapchat’s demographic: According to Business Insider, Instagram Stories reported 250 million daily uses in June, versus 166 million daily uses for Snapchat last quarter.

Some features I enjoy:

Boomerang lets you make a gif (short video on a continuous loop).

Rewind plays your gif in reverse.

Selfie Stickers lets you make stickers with your own face. Meaning you aren’t limited to a preset selection of stickers or emojis. The sky (or your face) is the limit!

My friends are all on Instagram. Only a few are on SnapChat. Social media is only as good as your network.

Story settings allow you to choose who gets to see your stories, even among your friends.

Visit this how-to from the Verge to get the most out of Instagram Stories.

Wait a minute: why would I want to post something that disappears?

Snaps and Instagram Stories disappear within 24 hours (although you can pin them to your profile if you want to keep them up). This might seem shady, like it’s only meant for illicit material—but a pic doesn’t have to be dirty need an expiration date.

Oversharing on the internet is a major issue, and setting some of your content to eventually expire could be safer than having everything you ever posted up forever. Of course, someone could still screenshot whatever you post, but the window for that is much shorter.

So if you’ve become an old person overnight, don’t fret. Instagram has become a two-for-one social media platform with the kind of easy-to-use interface and fun features that make it perfect for everyone.

Do you like Instagram stories, or do you prefer Snapchat? What are your favorite features of each, and why? Tweet at me!