Social News: Twitter and Facebook New Features and Changes

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There is a lot happening with the two giant social networks. It almost seems as if both of them are competing about who is announcing more social news and presenting the most new features, additions or changes. Both of them have to compete with the upcoming and fast growing „younger“ networks and keep their users entertained and content with the user experience. They are working hard on it. Unfortunately not all of the new features are available to all users, yet.

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Here are 9 of the most recent announcements from Facebook and Twitter:

Twitter changes design of Tweet and Follow buttons

In October Twitter will change the design of the Tweet and Follow buttons. In the future these buttons will show in white letters on blue background. You can read more about this in this blogpost.

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Image Credit: Twitter

Twitter is going to remove share counts

Alongside the recent redesign of tweet and follow buttons, Twitter is obviously going to remove the share counts, which number which displays how often a tweet has been shared. This is announced to come some time in October.

Rumors have it that Twitter may plan to charge business owners to get access to the data about shares counts. Twitter says: “Twitter REST API’s search endpoints are the best way to gather ad-hoc information about a URL shared on Twitter; full-archive search counts are available from Gnip.”

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Facebook improves options on profile pictures

Obviously Facebook profiles are an often visited place on Facebook. Now Facebook will bring some additional options to the profile pages. Taking into account the growing use of videos, you will be able to “film a short, looping video clip that will play for anyone who visits your profile.“ (Facebook Newsroom)

In the future Facebook will also allow you to set a temporary profile picture, which will only show for a limited time and then change back to another picture. This will allow you to announce current events like marriage or birthdays – or even something like “currently on vacation”.

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Twitter launches “Buy now” button

Twitter is currently rolling out a new feature, which allows more people to directly buy on Twitter. This is realized through partnerships between Twitter and ecommerce sites of all sizes. These ecommerce sites include Bigcommerce, Demandware and Shopify.

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Sadly “Buy now” is currently only available to US merchants. (see more on Twitter’s blog).

Facebooks tests „reactions“ in addition to like

In the future we will be able to express our opinion about a Facebook post with the aid of a set of six emojy. These will offer sophisticated emotional expressions in addition to the traditional like button.

Last month rumours came up that Facebook would be adding a “Dislike” button. As it seems now, Facebook decided against the dislike in favor of some more varieties of emotional expressions – not including dislike.

For a long time now, users have been complaining that the “like” button was one-dimensional and there are obviously posts where people want to express something else than “like”. For instant with accidents, death or other tragedies, users have the desire to express sympathy and compassion – a “like” in this case somehow does not really express the emotions we are really feeling. With the new emojis users get a new variety of motions to choose from:

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Twitter is experimenting with native polls in tweets

End of September Twitter confirmed that they are experimenting with polls. As it is now, the polls seem only available to a small group if selected accounts.Bildschirmfoto 2015-10-09 um 11.45.00

Obviously this feature is still in experimental stage, and there is no saying when and if Twitter will roll out this feature to their 318 Mio users. At the end of September obviously a couple of Twitter employees, some sports brands and media outlets where allowed to test this new poll feature. (I would love to test it myself…)


Facebook allows to track mentions – even if the author is not mentioned

Unfortunately this feature is so far only available for verified accounts. It allows you to keep track of what other people are saying about your articles – even if you as the author are not stated in the post. This sounds really interesting. Hopefully we “normal” people are going to be able to use it in the near future.

Facebook expands the “Instant Articles”

Earlier this year Facebook introduced a feature called Instant Articles, that allowed hosting stories from selected publishers directly in their Iphone app. Since the publishers and the users who could see the instant articles was very limited, this feature seemed to have been no longer existent once the initial hype was over.

Facebook now states, that they are going to expand the number of users who can see Instant articles and adding some new publishers to the mix. Since I am not using an iPhone, I have not seen Instant articles in action – but I am sure looking forward to see some in the future.

Twitter launches Moments – the simple tab for browsing the best of today’s tweets

Many people find Twitter noisy (I don’t because I think there are already multiple ways of organizing the content on Twitter into streams which are topics based and targeted). Twitter now launches its own feature to conquer this noise and give you a feed of the most talked about stories in a new section of the app. In a magazine like, which also shows you tweets of persons you have never followed.

Obviously it is Twitter’s attempt to attract users who so far did not find their own way of conquering the endless clutter of short messages and allows them to find what is currently hyped on Twitter.

The new tab called Moments is so far only available for US citizens. The project’s existence was already revealed two days before Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo resigned in June. It is fairly unusual to announce a feature so long before it is actually launched.

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As you can see a lot of change and new features is happening in the two giant social networks Twitter and Facebook. What do you think about all the new features and changes? What new features would you like to see in your favorite social networks? What are you missing? – let us know in the comments!

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