Instagram Adds New Polling Feature with Emoji

Instagram Adds New Polling Feature with Emoji

Instagram is adding another fun feature that can connect friends and start conversations. They already had a polling feature, but they are now adding a new type of polling that works differently and uses emoji.

Emoji Slider is the new feature coming to Instagram, says Mashable. There was already a polling sticker on Instagram. However, that sticker simply let users type a question and let people respond with “yes” or “no.” This new Emoji Slider polling sticker works differently and allows for different responses.

According to Mashable, the Emoji Slider is also a sticker added to Stories. However, it gives a range of response options. When you add the sticker, you can add your own question. But instead of a yes or no question, the questions will typically start with “how,” like “How much did you love Infinity War?” or “How much do you like the new gelato place downtown?” After this, you pick which emoji you want to use on the slider. There are a lot of emoji to choose from, not just a handful of basic ones. Others will then be able to move an emoji along a slider to give their response. After responding, like with the other polling sticker, they can see how the responses are currently totaling up.

This makes polling on Instagram much more intuitive and fun. Only being able to answer “yes” or “no” was very constraining and didn’t allow for any nuance or gray area. Plus it will be fun to be able to ask questions in a different way and make the visuals more enjoyable.

Mashable notes that the Emoji Slider is available with Instagram’s version 44 update. And unlike many updates that roll out slowly to either iOS or Android users, it’s currently available to most people. To see if you have the feature, update Instagram now. If you have it, simply create a new Story, tap the Stickers button, and add the Emoji Slider from there.

6 Social Media Platforms That Aren’t Facebook

6 Social Media Platforms That Aren’t Facebook

In recent weeks, some people have begun to question how much they use Facebook. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many have felt a little uneasy about how much information Facebook obtains.

It’s important to note, though, that many (probably most) other social media platforms are gathering a fair amount of your data. They may handle it differently, but there is likely quite a bit of your information stored when you use any social media platforms at all.

Still, you might be wondering if there are other ways to enjoy using social media without actually using Facebook. Facebook is one of the most popular, active, and widely used social media sites out there, and it might seem like your only option. But there are other platforms that you might like just as much (or more).
If you’re thinking about leaving Facebook, or if you enjoy Facebook but want even more ways to stay connected, here are just some of the other social media platforms you can give a try!

Instagram

Instagram is, of course, a hugely popular app that focuses on images. You can use it to keep up with your friends’ lives through photos and videos. It also has built-in messaging, so you can share things directly with other people and discuss them privately. You won’t necessarily be getting the same insight into your friends’ thoughts, and it currently doesn’t let you share other peoples’ content, but it’s still a good way to keep in contact with your favorite people.

Pinterest

Pinterest is still typically for inspiration and DIY ideas. But you and your friends can share content together and keep in touch through your different boards. This platform is certainly less focused on updates about peoples’ daily lives, so don’t rely on it for that. But you can at least see what your friends are interested in.

Reddit

Reddit isn’t really a social media platform. But you can follow friends on the service, and if you actually are looking to drop Facebook, Reddit can help replace your need for a stream of interesting content and news shared by groups and people you subscribe to.

Snapchat

Snapchat is another photo- and image-based way to keep connected to friends and family. It’s likely that most of the people you’re close with already use Snapchat. You can follow them through their Stories, have private chats with them, communicate through short video clips, and more. You can’t easily share other peoples’ content or write medium to long text images, but you can still communicate pretty well with this app.

Tumblr

Tumblr lets you set up your own blog and then create your own posts or share posts from others. You can add others and gain subscribers. Tumblr is often seen as being primarily used by a younger crowd, but there’s certainly a space for everyone. It’s also pretty hugely driven by fandoms (many people on Tumblr use their accounts to post primarily about shows, movies, and other things they’re fans of). It’s not quite as focused on simply keeping up with a friend’s daily life. But if you want to keep up with your friends’ interests and make new friends based on things you both enjoy, Tumblr might be for you.

Twitter

Twitter is a nice way to keep up with others using smaller text snippets. Though it’s grown most popular for its use in getting news out quickly, you can also form your circle of friends and keep up with each other via tweets. You can retweet, which adds another level of personality to someone’s feed, and now that tweets can be longer than before, it’s easier to write more detailed, lengthy updates.

Instagram Adds New Features & Will Let You Download Data

Instagram Adds New Features & Will Let You Download Data

Instagram has been in the news very recently for their newest updates and for a recent announcement. Instagram users will now be able to use some new features, and they’ll also soon be able to download copies of their entire data history.

Reuters reports that Instagram, which is part of Facebook Inc, will soon let its users download their data. This announcement comes while Facebook is dealing with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal (which you can learn more about in my recent articles “Third-Party Data on Social Media” and “Facebook and Its Data Scandal”). Because of the mishandling of their data, Facebook users (and users of many different social media platforms) have become much more concerned with how their data is being used. This has led to many updates from Facebook on how third-party apps and user data will be handled. And now Instagram has joined in with their plans.

Reuters reports that Instagram users will be able to download data like photos, videos, and messages. There’s currently no word on when this tool will be made available.

Meanwhile, Instagram has added some new features. According to TechCrunch, Instagram’s new update includes a new filter called Focus. Focus is a portrait mode that can be used in Instagram’s camera to take both photos and videos. It blurs the background of a portrait photo, making the subject of the photo stand out more sharply. This style was previously available in other apps and on certain phones. With Instagram’s Focus feature, though, more people will be able to take portrait photos.

They’ve also added stickers for mentions, says TechCrunch. This feature is currently rolling out for people using iOS. Instead of simply tagging someone using text, you’ll now be able to tag them using a sticker. This makes Instagram posts a little more customizable and fun. It’s not clear when everyone will gain access to these stickers.

Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram is now planning to make users’ feeds arrange a little differently than they have been. Instagram announced in a blog post that they’ll be changing a couple different aspects of peoples’ feeds.

The social media and photo app has made quite a few changes to their service over the past months. One major change that Instagram implemented back in December focused on what kinds of posts would be shown in feeds. As I wrote in my article, recommended posts were added to Instagram. These recommended posts are displayed in feeds based on whether a user’s friend has liked them. This was a pretty huge change for some people, since it allowed unfamiliar content to show up in feeds.

Now Instagram is working on changing feeds to improve them and address other user concerns. In their blog post, these upcoming changes are explained. One major change to Instagram feeds will be the emphasis on newer posts. Right now, posts are fairly mixed up. Older posts (from days ago) can be mixed in with posts from just minutes earlier. With Instagram’s planned change, though, newer posts would be more likely to show up at the top of someone’s feed. Though Instagram isn’t announcing a completely chronological feed, this change will be a welcome step to having posts feel more current.

They also note another change to feeds: no more forced automatic refreshing. Currently, users might open the app and have the page suddenly refresh without any way to stop it. So if you see a post you’re interested in, you might suddenly be taken away from it. Instagram is going to address this by adding a “New Posts” button. This will give users the option to refresh if they want to. If you use the button you’ll jump up to the top of your feed.

The “New Posts” button is testing now, according to Instagram, and they currently plan to continue to improve how feeds work.

Instagram Post Sharing Is Coming

Instagram Post Sharing Is Coming

Instagram users may soon be able to do something they’ve long wanted: share other peoples’ posts.

Instagram Stories have gone through some changes recently, including making changes to their ads, as well as letting users post text updates and add stickers. Now Instagram is testing a feature that will change how Stories work even more. Users testing this feature can add other peoples’ posts to their own Stories.

Users wanting to share other peoples’ posts have, in the past, had to look to other apps for help. One popular app has been Regram, which lets people download and share other posts while still giving credit to the actual owner. Other apps and sites have also offered a similar service. Unfortunately, this does mean people have had to connect with a third-party app or website that isn’t associated with Instagram. Doing this can be risky, and it’s just not ideal.

Instagram’s official “regram”-style feature is currently only being tested with a small number of people, according to TechCrunch. When sharing the public post to your Story, notes The Verge, you can make certain changes to the post. For instance, you can make basic changes, like resizing and rotating, plus you can choose between two display formats.

It’s not clear when this feature will roll out to everyone, but it’s an interesting change to Instagram’s format. Instagram has built its app around the idea of sharing original photos and videos from a user’s own life. This helps promote more creation. But this new sharing option is, at least, just a small change, since it will only share to Stories and won’t share posts to a user’s Instagram feed.

Also, users can choose to keep their posts a little more private by not allowing other users to share to their Stories. If your account is public, you can go to your Instagram Settings and turn off the option that allows resharing. So if you don’t want other people adding your content to their Stories, you just have to switch off one option.

To see how the resharing feature works, check out TechCrunch’s video of the process. Or just wait and see what you think once it rolls out to more users.

New Instagram Updates Will Benefit Businesses

New Instagram Updates Will Benefit Businesses

Instagram is making some changes, and they’ll be very useful for businesses. Instagram’s changes to their ads and to post scheduling will make things more convenient for businesses, though some are questioning whether one of the changes will go over well with the typical user.

Instagram Stories will see a change in how ads are displayed. TechCrunch is reporting that “Carousel Ads” are coming to Stories. With this change, ads that are included in Stories will be able to have three pieces of content instead of just one. This will allow advertisers to use multiple kinds of content—including images and videos—instead of just having one video or one image.

This does raise the question of how users will respond to these ads. Currently, Instagram users who are looking through Stories only have to swipe once to move past an ad they’re not interested in. With Carousel Ads, they may have to swipe three times. For some, this could be frustrating. However, this may allow advertisers to make their ads more interesting and enjoyable. Also, a couple additional swipes may not be an issue for many users.

Instagram’s blog goes over more details, including previewing of one of these ads and noting that they’re starting with just some select advertisers, including the Gap and Coca-Cola.

Businesses will also now find it possible to schedule some of their posts on Instagram. Business accounts on Instagram now have access to post scheduling through the use of other tools (like the popular HootSuite or other Facebook or Instagram partners), according to The Verge. Instagram hasn’t allowed actual post scheduling before now, so this announcement is big news for businesses.

Post scheduling currently only works for photos, and as mentioned, it’s not directly available from Instagram. But it will be an extremely useful tool for those trying to promote their brand through Instagram photos. The typical Instagram user can also expect to see post scheduling available to them sometime in early 2019.

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.

Recommended Posts Added to Instagram

Recommended Posts Added to Instagram

Noticed any posts on Instagram that seem especially unfamiliar? If you have, it might be because Instagram has now added a recommended posts feature.

After you’ve scrolled through new Instagram posts from the accounts you follow, you’ll now see content that Instagram recommends for you. Instagram’s algorithm will display posts they think you’ll like based on your friends liking them. The “recommended for you” section displays after you’ve already looked at all the new content from the people you follow. If you see something you don’t like or that shouldn’t be on Instagram, the company notes that you can hide and report the content.

Though it’s hard to fully tell what the response from Instagram users is, so far the change is not going over well with many people. Some articles are straightforward in showing their distaste for the new feature. In an article titled “What Makes Instagram’s ‘Recommended’ Posts So Awful?” for Gizmodo, the author says that no one they’d talked to about the feature “is excited about the change,” and he goes on to question the choice. The Daily Dot’s article on the subject is titled “Instagram is further messing up your feed with ‘recommended’ posts.” Refinery29 says that “Your Instagram Feed Is About To Be Full Of Strangers.” Slate’s article is titled “Instagram Is Getting Less Intimate,” and they go on to say that scrolling through the new feature is “like getting separated from your friends in a crowded bar.” And aside from articles, a search about the subject on Twitter brings up a string of tweets from users expressing displeasure with the idea of recommended posts.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the feature will actually be a nuisance for users or if they will eventually enjoy it. The idea of it doesn’t seem to be popular and it isn’t going over well. But hopefully Instagram users will grow to like it once it’s been implemented for a while and they’ve gotten used to it. And if not, here’s hoping Instagram will listen to the users and make their feeds more personal again.

Snapchat Joins Other Platforms in Letting You Look Back at 2017

Snapchat Joins Other Platforms in Letting You Look Back at 2017

If you’ve spent much time on Snapchat this year, you might have quite a few photos and videos saved in your Memories. If so, you can now look back on 2017 with Snap’s new feature called “A Look Back at 2017.”

With 2018 about to kick off, some platforms are giving their users a way to look back at the past year. Perhaps most well-known is Facebook’s feature called “Year in Review.” This feature lets users share a video that collects fun or important moments from the past year. Facebook users can edit their videos before sharing to make sure some of the best content is included. In my experience, my feed becomes flooded with videos from people looking back on the year, and it’s a lot of fun.

Instagram users can also wrap up their year with the popular #bestnine2017 hashtag. Users share a photo collage of the nine most popular shots they posted over the year. You can’t actually create this photo directly inside the Instagram app, but you can use a website like 2017bestnine to generate your collage of popular photos, or you can do it yourself with Instagram’s Layouts app.

Snapchat’s feature is interesting when you consider what previously made the app so appealing—its disappearing images. Many people were drawn to the app because Snaps quickly disappeared, never to be seen again. Since that time, though, Snapchat’s popularity has continued even as they’ve added the ability to save your Snaps into your Memories and let people view your Snaps for much longer than before. Their year-end review feature further shows that having Snaps disappear forever is not necessarily as important anymore. You can not only save your images, but you can collect them all together and show others your Snaps from across the year.

To share your end-of-the-year Snap review, simply open the app, go to your Memories, and look for the “A Look Back at 2017” feature. Then follow the prompts. The Verge mentions that if you don’t see this feature, it might be because you don’t have enough Snaps saved to your Memories to generate your year-end review. But if you do, you can take yourself and your friends back to your past Snaps to recall the fun times you’ve had in 2017 (and to reminisce about your favorite face filters).

Happy 2018!

Instagram Makes It Even Easier for Friends to Join Your Livestream

Instagram Makes It Even Easier for Friends to Join Your Livestream

Instagram is adding the option to request to join a livestream! Not long ago, Instagram added the ability to invite friends to join your livestream. About a month ago, users across Instagram found they could “go live with a friend” by inviting a friend into their live video. This would create a split screen live video with both users live at the same time.

Being able to include friends in livestreams is useful in many ways. It can be simply a fun way for friends to join up, chat, and have fun. It could also be used for more professional accounts to put out content with guests—for example, Instagram users could livestream interviews of other users.

Before, Instagram users had to invite their friends to join in. Now users can also add the option for friends to request to join. If you have the option enabled, a friend can let you know they want to join in on your video. All the user has to do is click a button that says “Request” underneath the video’s comments. If the user accepts a request for someone else to join, the person joining in will get an alert that their request has been accepted. The screen will then split in two—if you’re in portrait mode, the streams will sit on top of one another, while if you’re in landscape mode, the streams will be side-by-side. Right now, it’s only possible for two users to be in a live video at one time.

No worries, though—only mutual friends get access to this new feature. You won’t have random strangers asking to join in on your livestream. Also, if you’re worried you’ll get too many requests (particularly if you’re Instafamous and follow a ton of people back), you can always just turn off the feature. Instagram made a smart decision when they chose to allow users to disable the requesting feature—it would surely become annoying quickly if a user was creating a livestream and was flooded with requests from friends.

With this new update, Instagram is making their platform even more appealing to livestreamers and vloggers. With Facebook upping its game regularly, most recently with the addition of Facebook Creator, and with Instagram’s new developments, it’s clear that social media platforms are particularly focused on improving livestreaming and video publishing. Check out Instagram’s newest feature and see what you think!