They say nothing ever stays the same, but when it comes to social media things change almost daily. We take a look back at the some of the top social media networks in 2017 and see what significant improvements they’ve made.
One of the biggest social media announcements in 2017 came from Twitter, when they expanded the number of characters allowed in a tweet from 140 to 280. This was promptly followed by a host of tweets taking advantage of the extra characters. Earlier in the year Twitter had stopped counting @usernames towards the character count and just last week Twitter took the next step to make Tweetstorms easier to share and to read extended tweets.
Now you can string multiple tweets together and if you want to Tweetstorm, it’s as easy as hitting the plus button on the bottom left when creating a tweet. This starts a new tweet with a fresh 280 characters which is automatically paired with the previous tweet.
At the end of March this year, Twitter announced they were doing away with the iconic egg default profile picture, end of an era? Probably not, but it was Twitter’s attempt to help clean up spam and encourage diversity with a new default profile picture.
Twitter Lite was launched in May, a slimmer mobile web experience, designed to be faster and use less storage to enable anyone to get tweets on the go. In November, Twitter released a new feature called “Happening Now” which highlighted groups of tweets about a topic, beginning with the sports sector. It’s similar to Twitter’s Moments which is a selection of tweets that tell a story, but Happening Now takes users to a dedicated timeline of tweets related to the event at hand.
Other Twitter news saw the now infamous #hashtag turn 10 years old, where would social media be without the hashtag today. This is the first ever tweet with a hashtag!
Being the world’s largest social network, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes that Facebook have made during 2017. It remains the most popular social media service, hitting more than 2 billion monthly active users in June this year.
The Facebook messenger app has also seen a host of improvements/changes during 2017. These range from new features such as Message Reactions and Mentions, so you can tag someone in a group conversation to another Snapchat-like update, of adding ephemeral Stories and 3D camera effects to its main app. While early in December, Facebook announced they are rolling out a version of Messenger aimed specifically at kids, known as Messenger Kids. The emphasis is on safety, with all contacts having to be approved by parents.
In May, Facebook’s Safety Check feature was activated for the horrific bombing in Manchester, which allowed those in the area to mark themselves as safe, to notify friends and family quickly and keeping mobile networks open for the emergency services. This is now activated by user activity to automatically trigger alerts, tracking keywords indicating danger like “earthquake,” “shooting” or “explosion” in concentrated areas rather than Facebook themselves.
Summer 2017 saw Facebook officially roll out the GIF creation feature, allowing users to record two-second GIFs and share them on Facebook’s Story functionality, News Feed, or Messenger, similar to Instagram’s Boomerang feature.
In October Facebook officially started rolling out a new “Explore Feed” on mobile and desktop and during the same month fans of Instagram or Facebook Stories, which automatically disappear after 24 hours, can now send to both platforms with a single post.
Facebook and PayPal announced a new partnership in November to allow users to send money to each other via Messenger and just this week, Facebook announced a new feature for News Feed that it says will give users more control over the content they see called Snooze. Users can temporarily unfollow any person, page, or group you may find annoying for 30 days, in an effort to give users more control over what they see.
In June Instagram Stories reached 250 million daily active users and yes it’s very similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature but users are growing rapidly and they like it. Instagram also announced a new video replay feature that allows users to share clips of videos that were previously available as live video on Stories.
Instagram further improved the function of their Direct Messaging service in April, with users now seeing their texts and re-shares in the same conversations, displayed as an ongoing thread. This makes it easier to continue the conversation and add photos and disappearing videos more simply.
November saw Instagram’s Live Request feature introduced where you can ask to join a live stream and broadcast as the host’s guest, enabling more possibilities for collaboration.
Early in December, they gave us two new tools to keep your favourite moments from Instagram Stories and share them in different ways. Stories Highlights is now part of your profile and lets you express more of who you are through stories you’ve shared. Secondly, to help you build Highlights, your stories can now be automatically saved into a private Stories Archive so you can see them whenever you want.
Last week, Instagram introduced the ability to follow hashtags, and a whole new way to discover photos, videos and people. In order make these posts even more discoverable, you can now follow hashtags just like following a friend.
If you know of something we haven’t mentioned, please drop us a comment below or why not share your social media highlight of 2017.
So what will 2018 bring us? With face recognition on Facebook already being talked about, Instagram testing a ‘regram’ button for sharing and no doubt Twitter has a few tweaks up their tweeting sleeve, one thing is for certain, social media is not standing still any time soon.