This week's 'Skim brings copycats and censorship to a whole new level: Facebook brings Snapchat Stories, almost literally, to Messenger; China decides it's had enough of collecting virtual pinboards; Google takes on Slack with a new suite of communication tools for businesses; YouTube launches new app so users can watch videos together; and much more...
Skim for all the social news you need to know!
1. Has Facebook gone too far with Snapchat clone on Messenger?
The cat's out of the bag: Facebook's going to try to copy every successful Snapchat feature across its own platforms. It tackled filters and augmented reality masks by acquiring MSQRD and introduced a near replica of Snacphat Stories on Instagram, and it has now launched Messenger Day—another Snapchat Stories clone—across iOS and Android devices.
Zuckerberg once tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, and it appears Snapchat's wariness triggered a rivalry in which Facebook feels the need to beat the ephemeral messaging app at its own game. But many feel that Messenger Day upended what was a great texting application by adding superfluous buttons and unused features to their home screens.
Have you used Messenger Day? What are your thoughts?
2. Google takes on Slack with new communication tools for businesses
Google's taking a swipe at Slack with the introduction of two new features to ease collaboration in businesses: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
Hangouts Meet provides an easy way to share links to video conferences without invitees' having to sign up for accounts or download plugins. Hangouts Chat combines searchable, individual chat rooms based on project with threaded conversations, and it also lets bots automatically schedule meetings for your team.
Even better? Both new tools are integrated with G Suite, which means all content on Google Drive can be shared effortlessly within the new tools. Hangout Meets is available to all iOS and Android users, and Chat is set to roll out over the next few weeks.
3. LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman joins Microsoft's board
Following Microsoft's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn last year, LinkedIn co-founder Hoffman is officially joining the Microsoft board of directors and will continue focusing primarily on the social network; he will also help Microsoft expand its connections in Silicon Valley.
Hoffman gave a glimpse at what could be the future of LinkedIn, given its new family at Microsoft, citing how Microsoft-powered intelligent assistant Cortana could help users decide which third-degree connections on LinkedIn make the most sense to reach out to, or how Microsoft's HoloLens virtual reality gear could make LinkedIn Learning courses more immersive.
The future seems bright, according to Hoffman, so stay tuned.
4. Pinterest just lost access to 1.3 billion people
The People's Republic of China has found something wrong with what's potentially the least controversial social network out there: Pinterest. The Great Fire Wall, as China's Internet censorship system is referred to, has made the social network inaccessible for over one week now.
Conjecture suggests the blackout might be due to the "Two Sessions" meeting of China's governing classes that's currently taking place in Beijing, but it's impossible to know for certain what's caused Pinterest—one of the last American social networks accessible in China—to be taken offline.
5. How to use Facebook Messenger Day for marketing
If your company already uses Messenger to communicate with customers, we've got some top tips to showcase how it can use its newest feature—Messenger Day—to expand and optimize marketing on the platform.
Though Messenger Day functions much like Snapchat Stories, there are a few peculiarities that might make Messenger Day worthwhile for your marketing team. Because Messenger is available only for individual users and not (usually company) Pages, the new feature could be used strategically to spread employee-generated content in a way that builds brand awareness and expands your client base.
For now, content will be coming from employees' profiles, so while Messenger Day could also be used to share news and images, and encourage users to follow your other social profiles, efforts should be focused on driving awareness and relationship-building.
Click through to Social Media Examiner for all the fresh tips and tricks!
6. Seven steps to better customer service on social media
If you don't yet generate many leads via social, that doesn't mean the channel can't serve other needs, such as answering consumers' questions and providing customer service. Social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, seem to be constantly innovating to provide companies with new and better ways to communicate with customers, so why not take advantage?
Doing so effectively, however, requires some preparation. From educating customers about how to get in touch and investing in the right platforms, to humanizing your messaging and connecting your data streams to complete customer profiles, Kristin Shevis of Conversocial suggests seven key steps to owning customer service on social media.
7. The key to YouTube's six-second bumper ads
YouTube might be just the place for your brand to raise awareness and generate new leads, but as time goes on the social network has reworked its ad formats in a way that might now seem foreign—or impossible—for your brand to convey its message.
Thorough testing and a decidedly better consumer experience means the platform's new six-second bumper ads appear here to stay, but how can your company make the most out of such a short format without fumbling?
Some might try to fit everything they've got into six short seconds, but success requires a more thoughtful approach. From breaking thing down to individual elements, to employing emotion or comedy, Andrew Wohlwend of Zefr presentsthe keys to a successful six-second ad.
Get your creative juices flowing with the example ads below!
8. After overreach, Facebook and Instagram bar developers from using data for surveillance
Police gained access via controversial developer, Geofeedia, which partnered with law enforcement to track streams of user content.
The American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents proving the connection last year, and it is now pushing social networks to take a strong stance on human rights to avoid similar missteps in the future. Social media might just be the next frontier for civil liberty battles after all.
9. YouTube launches an experimental app for watching videos with friends
Dubbed "Uptime," the new app from Google's YouTube aims to make video viewing a more social experience by encourage friends to watch—and react—together. In the app, users' profile photos float alongside the video (mostly vertical in format) they're currently viewing, and they can comment or react with emojis that can be seen live or after-the-fact by friends that watch the same content.
Available only on iOS for now, Uptime wants to encourage a co-viewing experience for video; videos on YouTube can be searched and then shared from within the application.
The app is currently invite only, but checking out Uptime's Twitter feed gets you the golden ticket via an invite code, so go give it a shot!
10. Reddit's getting hot as it positions to counterbalance fake news—and Facebook
Remarkable election and referendum results in 2016 prompted many to ask whether social media was creating an echo chamber that shielded users from opposing points of view and simply reinforced the worldview of their "friends".
Reddit—280 million active users strong—thinks it can destroy that echo chamber.
The social network, long a minefield for brands because of some of its users anti-advertising sentiment, lets users post links that are then simply upvoted or downvoted, leaving out the social connection factor of people choosing who to follow.
The small feel of the social network is becoming an attractive place for brands, and it might just force us to be exposed to new points of views that could change the game.
11. We'll wrap up with a way to take on clickbait like you've never seen
On National Read a Book Day, one bookstore in Texas took a novel approach to tricking Facebook users into reading copyright-free classics: It used a superb play on clickbait—or "Litbait," as the bookstore calls it.
Users fell for clickbait-like titles of Facebook articles that were actually descriptions of literary classics, such as Romeo & Juliet. They were then redirected to the entirety of the selected copyright-free novel, online.
Former #SocialSkim columnist Angela Natividad has the scoop from cover to cover in Adage, highlighting how originality on social media can serve not only a cause but also your brand: The bookstore's website had a massive traffic increase in traffic, as well as Facebook engagement.
Check out the campaign for yourself in the video: