Another Snapchat Redesign is Coming

Another Snapchat Redesign is Coming

If you use Snapchat but have been frustrated with it recently, there’s some good news. Snapchat is getting a redesign…again.

You may remember how Snapchat released their new redesign in some areas back in January. When it was first released, it was only in some countries, like the UK, and the change immediately caused an uproar. Users began pleading with Snapchat to let them revert back to the old system. And once it rolled out in the US, even more people began venting their frustration, which lead to Snapchat making it clear the redesign was here to stay.

The main problem stemmed from the way Stories were suddenly mixed in with messages. It made the design cluttered and unnecessarily difficult to navigate for many users. People wanted their Stories and messages to be laid out in a more organized way (they were separate from each other before the redesign).

Now, according to The Verge, some users are getting a new version rolled out to them that should address some of the concerns. The new update is currently rolling out to many iOS users, The Verge reports. In the new update, Stories and messages will go back to chronological order, and the Stories will be on the right side of the app once again.

This should hopefully eliminate some of the complaints that have been pouring in for months. Of course, Snapchat has already had to deal with months of mockery and frustration. Social media has been filled with memes and jokes at Snapchat’s expense after their poorly-received redesign, and users were likely not happy with Snapchat’s response saying that they would be keeping the new version despite the users’ anger.

The Verge notes that the newest update is currently coming for many people on iOS, but it’s not currently clear when Android users can expect the change.

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.

Smart Assistant Updates

Smart Assistant Updates

A number of different updates about smart assistants and smart speakers have been announced recently (including current and upcoming updates). Google, Amazon, and Facebook have all provided updates on their smart assistant plans. Here’s some of what you might have missed this week!

Google Home now lets you play through Bluetooth speakers

When comparing smart speakers (as I did recently; read about it in my article from last month), people typically take a closer look at the smaller, less expensive versions of the products. For instance, the Amazon Echo has the Echo Dot and the Google Home has the Google Home Mini. One of the things that set the Echo Dot apart from the Home Mini was that the Echo Dot could connect to other Bluetooth speakers. This meant that the less amazing speakers in the Echo Dot weren’t a deal-breaker, because the Dot could be connected to a better Bluetooth sound system.

Now the Home Mini can also improve its sound. The Verge is reporting that the smaller version of Google’s smart speaker can now connect to Bluetooth speakers. Previously, the Home Mini had a lot of great features but had the drawback of featuring unimpressive sound. Now that it can do what the Dot was already able to do, it’s even more of a competitor. If you already have a nice Bluetooth speaker, you no longer need to worry about the Google Home Mini’s sound quality.

Amazon’s Alexa plans to integrate more with your home products

Amazon has now announced their plans for more upcoming devices with Alexa built in. In their post this past week, Amazon detailed three upcoming products that will have Alexa enabled. These “white-box solutions” are part of Amazon’s plan to be more fully integrated into homes.

One product stands out in particular. The Lamp Speaker from Adition mostly looks like the typical smart speaker from Amazon: it’s a tall cylinder. However, it’s also a lamp. This means even typical household devices, like light sources, will soon be able to respond to voice commands and perform the Alexa capabilities we’re used to.

Facebook’s upcoming smart speaker announcement pushed back

You may remember the news at the beginning of this year about Facebook’s planned smart speaker. As I wrote in my article, Facebook has been planning to release a smart speaker currently referred to as ‘Portal.’ The smart system is supposed to include cameras and a screen for video chatting, and the focus is on social connection.

However, The Verge has reported that Facebook’s planned announcement about the smart device has been stalled. According to most reports on this postponement, it’s likely due to Facebook’s current data scandal fallout and its negative connection to user data and privacy.

Find a Job Using the Web

Find a Job Using the Web

Finding a job can seem difficult these days. There’s a lot to consider during a job search, especially if you’re looking for jobs that ask for resumes and cover letters, require a clean online presence, and have a lengthy vetting process.

For a long time now, job search sites have been growing online. Popular sites like Monster have been heavily advertised, offering job searchers access to listings from employers. However, some aspects of looking for a job online can seem daunting or confusing.

In this article, we’ll take a look at just some of the help you can find online. If you’re looking for a new job, these ideas should get you started on your path!

What can you find online?

The answer is, of course, pretty much everything. Whatever your job search entails, you can almost certainly find resources online. Job search sites like Monster and Indeed are well-known, but there are other services that do important things, as well. You can find resources for the following (and more):

  • Figuring out which job is right for you
  • Finding job listings
  • Creating resumes and cover letters
  • Maintaining your online presence
  • Preparing for interviews

Find the right job

When starting a job search, you might feel a little lost. What kind of job should you look for? Maybe you haven’t had many jobs, or maybe you want to leave your current job because you realized you were in the wrong field. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you start looking.

The following sites are just two options you can try out. Both will help you figure out what kind of job might be best suited for you specifically.

O*NET Interest Profiler—The O*NET Interest Profile on the My Next Move website can take your responses to their survey and match you with the jobs that you’ll be most likely to succeed at. You’ll be asked about certain activities and how you feel about doing them, then given suggestions for career paths.

Time.com—Time’s website can help you figure out which job best fits your personality and interests. After you’ve taken their quiz, you’ll be presented with the job that suits you the most. It chooses from almost a thousand possible job choices.

Search for open positions

If you know what you want to do, or if you’re open to just about any job, there are plenty of sites out there that have a vast array of job listings. Many listings even let you apply right on the job search site. Here are some of the popular sites used to find available jobs!

CareerBuilder—With this site, you can find jobs using things like certain skills, location, and salary. You can create a CareerBuilder resume and apply to some jobs right through the website.

Glassdoor—Glassdoor is perhaps best known for its extensive database of business reviews. However, you can also search for job openings. You can filter results by things like keyword, location, and salary range. Once you’ve found a job you’d like, you can look at Glassdoor’s reviews from past employees.

Indeed—This is one of the most popular job search sites today. With Indeed, you can search for jobs by keyword, experience level, location, and more. You can create an Indeed Resume and apply for some jobs through Indeed. You can also get notifications when more jobs are added with the keywords you’ve searched for.

Monster—This site is one of the most well-known in the job search field. You can search for jobs by keyword, experience level, location, and more. You can also find career search tips, business reviews, and more.

Polish your resumes and cover letters

Once you’ve found the jobs you’re interested in, it’s time to apply. Some jobs simply ask you to fill out an application and perhaps take an online assessment. However, many jobs ask for resumes and, less frequently, cover letters. These are an important part of how you present yourself to a future employer. It’s not enough to create one resume and use it over and over for every job.

To make sure you’re creating the right resume and cover letter, take a look at these sites!

CareerOneStop—This site offers a number of resources for building and perfecting a resume. You can find out how to plan your resume, write it, format it, and more. You can also find out how to get connected to face-to-face resources for resume writing.

Monster—This site is, as mentioned above, a popular site for finding jobs. However, you can also get help with your resume on Monster. You can upload your resume, and after about two days, you’ll get the results of Monster’s assessment of the document. (They use scanning technology to assess resumes, not real people.) You can also pay to have an actual person work on your resume and cover letter. If you’d rather not pay, you can also look through Monster’s resume tips.

The National Resume Writers’ Association—Using the NRWA’s website, you can search for professional resume writers near you. Some of them are certified by the association, making them even more trustworthy. Be sure, though, to carefully research and consider someone before hiring them to help you with your resume.

Maintain your online presence

Depending on the job you’re in the market for, your online presence might be something important to consider. With some employers, it looks better if you have a profile on professional networking sites. And when it comes to the rest of your information, you may need to keep watch on what employers might find if they search for you. As you’re applying to jobs, you should find out how to keep your online appearance professional and free of any red flags (like old Facebook posts that cast you in a bad light).

The following sites can help you set up and maintain a clean online presence!

BrandYourself—This service searches you online and figures out what might give potential employers second thoughts about hiring you. It finds search results, social media posts, and more.

Consumer Reports—If you don’t want to have someone else fix your online appearance for you, you can find tips on the Consumer Reports website. This article details, step-by-step, how to find your search results, clean out your social media profiles, and more. The process may be somewhat tedious, but their tips are solid and could help you look better during your job search.

Linkedin—Linkedin is probably the most commonly used professional profile site. You can add a lot of relevant information to your profile, like your job history, skills, resume, certifications, and more. You can connect with others in your field, get updates about job openings, share articles, and just connect with the business world.

Prepare for interviews

Once you’ve applied to your (many, many) potential jobs, you’ll start setting up interviews with potential employers. Even if you’ve interviewed before, you should always dust off your skills and make sure you’re up to date with current interview practices. Here are just some ways you can get ready for an interview!

LinkedIn ProFinder—Linkedin doesn’t just let you find jobs. You can also get connected with someone who can help you practice and perfect your interview technique. Answer some quick questions about what you’re looking for, then make your “Project” go live. You’ll be connected with someone who can help as soon as someone matches your preferences.

Princeton—The Princeton website has a great section all about getting ready for your big interview. They offer an interview prep plan, a list of common interview questions, details on what you should wear to interviews, and more. They also go over what you should do after you’ve gone to an interview.

Third-Party Data on Social Media

Third-Party Data on Social Media

With all the discussion of Facebook’s recent data scandal, third-party data is a major topic of discussion among social media services. (Find out more about Facebook’s difficulties, referred to as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in my article from last week.) Facebook is bringing a number of changes due to the scandal, most of which will restrict access to users’ data. Meanwhile, another social media giant is in the news for a somewhat puzzling reason, as it may soon be making third party access possible.

Here’s a rundown of just some of Facebook’s updates, as well as Snapchat’s recent news.

Facebook is ending their Partner Categories

Facebook is now ending their Partner Categories. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is going to stop using third-party data in its targeted advertising. With targeted ads, a number of different tools are used. Until now, Facebook had used data collected from third parties as one way to accurately target ads toward users. After the recent data scandal, though, Facebook is ending the practice. According to Entrepreneur, companies like Axciom and Experian were part of Facebook’s Partner Categories. TechCrunch notes that Facebook has said the decision is in place permanently, not just while they try to work their way through their current issues.

Facebook wants your help spotting data mining apps

Facebook is focusing heavily on finding apps that could misuse data gathered from their users. In fact, according to CNET, they will now pay users who find “data mining” apps. Facebook already had a program in place that rewarded people for finding other issues on the site. With this program, people could get paid for reporting apps that are using data in a way that breaks Facebook’s policies. CNET also notes that some “bug bounty programs” can offer rewards of up to $100,000.

Snapchat may let third party apps connect to your account

With the flurry of news around Facebook’s handling of third party data, news has come out that Snapchat may be planning to let third party apps connect to users’ accounts. Mashable has reported that the current beta version of Snapchat has a new feature called “Connected Apps.” Bitmoji and Shazam have already been able to connect to Snapchat accounts. But if this setting in Snapchat’s beta is any indication, more apps will soon be able to connect. Of course, just because it’s in beta doesn’t mean it will actually be released in full. Whatever happens, news of its inclusion in the beta app has come at a strange and unfortunate time.

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.

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat is adding a feature to its app. The new feature being added to Snapchat, called Map Explore, brings an interesting new way to keep up with (and locate) your friends.

The Verge is reporting that Map Explore has now been introduced. Map Explore, according to The Verge, lets users find out where their friends are, see where some breaking news is happening, and more.

Snap Map, the maps feature on Snapchat, was introduced last summer. With Snap Map, people could move around and see Snaps that were being posted in various locations. This included being able to see your friends’ Snaps on the map. Though Snap Map is a popular feature, it’s important to point out that users can choose to hide their location. So if you’re someone with privacy concerns (and who might not have gotten around to noticing Snap Map yet), no worries—location sharing is optional with Snapchat’s map feature.

If you don’t mind sharing your location and checking out where other people are, Map Explore could improve your Snapchat experience. With Map Explore, The Verge explains, you can be alerted to what’s happening on the Snap Map. Snap is quoted as saying that this update was introduced because users previously had to search around to find things. This update will make it easier to find interesting Snaps instead of wondering where to look. Alerts about updates will be based on your friends doing something (posting a Snap or a Story, for instance) with location turned on. After 8 hours of inactivity, their location won’t be shown on the map anymore.

Breaking news and other interesting happenings will also be easier to find. Users will be able to get updates about Our Story content. This means you’ll be able to find out quickly when interesting things are happening anywhere in the world (as long as someone is Snapping it).

The Verge mentions that the new update will be arriving for people through the coming weeks. So if you don’t have the update yet, don’t panic—it will be coming soon.