Archives For Social Media

Voice Memos and Countdowns come to Instagram: This week Instagram launched voice messaging – bringing the emerging voice memo behavior to direct message groups. They also launched a Countdown Sticker option in the sticker menu. Just set date, time (or all-day), and your followers can subscribe to your countdown event, which will send out a reminder the countdown is complete. Bravo is already using Countdowns, promoting this weekend’s Vanderpump Rules episode.


Facebook Watch #’s Growing: This week Facebook announced that its video platform “Watch” has more than 400 million monthly users, with 75 million daily visitors who watch more than 20 minutes. It’s a small percentage given the number of active Facebook users, but demonstrates growth on the dedicated video platform worth noting. According to Axios, Facebook says that the criteria used to determine whether someone is a daily active visitor of its product is by measuring whether a user spends at least one minute on the “Watch” platform per day, but those 60 seconds do not need to be consecutive. Video consumption on Facebook is growing, albeit slowly.


YouTube Rewind = Massive Fail: In just over a week since releasing YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls the Rewind, the year-end round-up video of 2018 trends has over 129 million views and 11 million dislikes. This makes it the fastest and most-disliked video in the site’s history, which is pretty bad considering YouTube produced it themselves. Business Insider has a round-up of the other most-disliked videos of all-time — including Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” “Despacito” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby.”



Snapchat Testing Even More New Features: Snapchat is testing Portrait Mode, Batch Capture and charms, which are new ways to identify your friendship groups. Most of these are similar to features that already exist in Instagram, which is the exact opposite of how the two social networks have copied each other in recent years. The Next Web has details on the new Snap features here.


The American Meme: This week we binged Netflix’s The American Meme, featuring influencers like The Fat Jewish, Kirill, Brittany Furlan and Paris Hilton sharing their successes and struggles at building a personal brand through social media. It’s worth a watch, if only to see how Paris and The Fat Jewish scheme to create demand for fake products in the era of fake news. And while it’s not surprise that living your life online isn’t all bling and likes and champaign, the documentary does capture some darker moments and actually had us feeling the feelings for these manufactured personalities. LIKE.




Other news this week…


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Instagram Top 9: It’s that time of year to look back at your top performing Instagram posts and relive your year through a “Top 9” grid of the best photos. To get yours head over to, enter your email address, and tag your post #TopNine. What a year!


Elf on the Shelf Burnout: Thanks to Pinterest parenting, the bar for Elf on a Shelf pranks and stage design has reached a feverish peak in social media this year (even when you accidentally leave him in the oven). The pressure to delight not only your kiddos but also your social followers is prompting some to look for an alternate tradition — rooted in the new social behavior of opting out. It’s called Santa’s Lazy Gnome, and for $34 your family can get a plush little old man and book explaining that the gnome doesn’t need to be moved because he can see children from anywhere. No social sharing required! Priceless!


Glitch Chic on Insta: You may have noticed weird lines or glitchy photos on your friends’ feeds this week. Instagram confirmed it knows about the issues and is looking to rectify it. And because it’s the internet, some people are loving the glitched-out look. And also because it’s the internet, if you want to purposely glitch your photos check out the Glitche app.


Anatomy of an AI System: Wrapping your head around all of the systems a piece of new technology requires can be difficult – especially to see the full picture of what goes into making it and how it affects our life from sourcing materials to lifestyle benefits to global impact. To tell the story of Amazon Echo, two professors set out to map the human labor, data and planetary resources behind the A.I. assistant, and the resulting artwork, essay and microsite is a deep analysis of the beauty and drawbacks of the hottest holiday gift. You’ll never look at an Echo the same way again.


Amazon distribution centers

Spotify Wrapped: An analysis of 12-months of streaming can say a lot about a person, and Spotify is again helping you crunch your streaming data to see how your stacked up this year, including total minutes streamed, top artists and songs, top genres and even custom playlists based on your listening habits. See your analysis at and share your results with #2018Wrapped.


Here’s what else is worth a skim this week…


  • This week Apple unveiled its list of the most downloaded iPhone apps of 2018. Topping the list is YouTube, followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger and Facebook, with Bitmjoi falling to sixth place (it was #1 in 2017!).


Seven-year-old Ryan of YouTube fame has made it offline, too. The mini mogul now has a collection of toys and apparel sold at Walmart stores nationwide.

“Stories” Now on Every Major Social Media Platform: It’s appears 2019 will be the year of the “Story,” with LinkedIn and YouTube both now adding the content format to their primary platforms — joining Snap, Insta and Facebook as a way to share chronological, vertical, short-form content that disappears.


Local News on Facebook: This week Facebooked launched “Today In,” a local news aggregator feature, in 400 small to medium-sized US cities. The feature includes previews that link out to news sites about top headlines, current discussions, school announcements and more. If you live in one of these cities, you can find this new section in the Facebook app by tapping the menu (☰) and then tapping on “Today In.”


Instagram Combating Fake Follows and Engagement: This week Instagram announced it will use machine learning to identify fake followers, likes and comments from users using bots and apps to falsely increase their accounts and posts. If you see an profile’s follower accounts drop en masse, it’s not because that profile offended people, but most likely because the followers were fake.


Bye Bye YouTube Annotations: You know those annoying translucent pop-up boxes that interrupt video viewing on YouTube? As of January, they will disappear for good across the platform. Thankfully brands and user can still use Cards and End Screens to direct viewers to additional information. Use of annotations had decreased by 70 percent, which is likely because they ever worked well on mobile (and because they were annoying!).

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Other stories worth skimming this week…




  • We are loving the new “Like and Subscribe” series from Funny or Die. It features Skyy Goldwynne (Dillon Francis), as a Hollywood manager who locks four of his influencer clients in a house with a camera crew. Put this on your watchlist for the weekend.


“If Russia had dropped propaganda leaflets by airplane over FL or MI that would universally be condemned as a hostile act. We’d shoot down the plane. But this is exactly what is happening online”

  • You can challenge your officemates to a holiday-themed Jenga game with R.L. Stine’s infamous Goosebumps villain thanks to this new Augmented Reality (AR) game, “Slappy’s Haunted Christmas” (download here: iOS, Android).

Instagram Goes All-In on Shoppable Posts: Just in time for holiday shopping, Instagram added three shopping features to help users complete a purchase in-app – including shoppable videos and a shop tab on business pages. These new features help position Instagram more directly against more shoppable-driven platforms like Pinterest and Wish.


Learn With Facebook: This week Facebook launched Learn With Facebook, a career development site that “focuses on both the hard and soft skills people need to advance in today’s digital workforce.” Facebook is also updating its Mentorship tool, which helps connect people in groups who are looking for a mentor in their community.


Snap Introduces Bitmoji Merch: This week Snap made a number of announcements, including “friendship profiles” to capture all the shared media you’ve exchanged with friends and groups in a single place, a Bitmoji cartoon that appears in your Discover feed, and selling Bitmoji merchandise. Bitmoji Merch will take avatars from you and your friends and put them on stuff like shirts, mugs, shower curtains, and phone cases. Finally!


Instagram Insights! This week Facebook began rolling out analytics for Instagram accounts and expanded FB Page analytics. Instagram Insights will feature deeper levels of engagement metrics, including retention rates and lifetime value of users who interact with your Instagram content. Plus, the ability to create segments around engaged audiences and see the overlap among users who have downloaded a brand’s app, visited its website or engaged with its Facebook Page. Facebook says both of these betas will be rolling out over the next several months – you’ll get a notification in your dashboard along with an email when the new data becomes available.


Other stories worth skimming this week…


The Sneaky Voicemail: Have you noticed the trend of friends leaving you voice texts (aka voice notes or voice messages) instead of text or voicemail? You aren’t alone. The idea of a short voice message sent via text is gaining traction across the globe, and not everyone is excited about needing to spend time actually LISTENING to each other — while others are excited about the convenience and reclamation of nuance that just isn’t possible with traditional texting. Are you a voice text offender? Try to keep it between 10-15 seconds, don’t waste time with pleasantries (hi/bye), and don’t expect an immediate reply. Or you know, just send a text.



Most Loved Brands on Social Pop-Up Stores: This week Facebook announced social media pop-up shops opening in 9 Macy’s stores (New York City, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle) for the holiday season. The stores will feature 100 brands known as “most-loved brands” on Instagram and Facebook, including Love Your Melon, Two Blind Brothers, Bespoke Post and Charleston Gourmet Burger Company. We also think they’ll be selling Portal, which is Facebook’s answer to Amazon’s Echo Show. Happy shopping!


Partisan Meme Wars Come to LinkedIn: We try not to get too political in the Social Pulse, but this week we noticed the alarming trend of hyper-partisan political content, false memes, and troll battles coming to LinkedIn. As social networks like Facebook and Twitter’s start to crackdown on hate speech and fake news, those communities (and bots!) have found a voice and platform on LinkedIn. Although LinkedIn executives say their users want to see business and not political content, the cat is out of the bag and we expect they will be soon implementing many of the content review protocols we’re seeing rolling out on Facebook and Twitter.


Amazon Mails a Printed Catalog to Millions: Sometimes the best way to capture attention in an always-on, algorithmic world is through legacy strategies — like direct mailing a dead-tree catalog to customers for the holidays. And if you’re Amazon, you fill it with QR codes for easy shopping and dynamic pricing. This move from the retailer powerhouse will give millions of kids the opportunity to “circle” toys they want for the holidays – filling the Toys R Us-sized hole in homes nationwide.

Other stories worth skimming this week:

Latest Tweets First Button in Testing: It was a busy week with news of Twitter launching a bot-reporting feature and rumors of CEO Jack Dorsey was looking to kill the “like” button (which probably won’t happen). But what is happening is Twitter is testing a chronological button that allows you to easily toggle between “best tweets first” and “latest tweets first” feeds. Our experience is best tweets improves quality and discovery, but we like the option to choose.



Facebook Groups as Therapy: In the current era of Facebook encouraging more friend and group content on their platform, it’s no surprise Facebook Groups are emerging as a gathering place for strangers sharing their deepest secrets and offering advice and counsel to each other. The Atlantic published an in-depth piece on the emotional-support group dynamics across topics like diabetes, addiction, egg donation, parenting children who might grow up to be psychopaths, and even rare diseases that affect only a few dozen patients in the whole world. It’s a long read, but a good one.


Two seated figures with heads that are the square Facebook default picture


Level Up is Twitch for Facebook: As Facebook continues to look for ways to compete with video game streaming platform Twitch, this week they expanded their Level Up Program to game streamers worldwide (21 countries!). The Level Up Program helps streamers build a community on Facebook. Streamers that are eligible can earn some extra cash through Facebook Stars — similar to Twitch Bits.



Insta Stories Updates this Week: This week Instagram announced they are testing a new ad type called “Promote” for Stories, which is similar to when they opened up Facebook boosted posts to all companies. And you can now you share IGTV videos to your Instagram Story. And you can now share songs you Shazam directly to Instagram Stories.


The Next Great Novel – Available via Messenger Bot: James Patterson is partnering with Facebook to bring a “digital novel experience” for The Chef, Patterson’s upcoming novel, which will be published in print in February 2019. Patterson told Adweek, “Ten years ago, if you told me I’d see one of my novels come to life through scrolling chat bubbles, video and audio content, I would have laughed.” You can access the bot by searching for “The Chef by James Patterson” in Messenger’s search bar and tapping on the icon. Check it out!



Pssst… What’s Your Password? This is your reminder to update your passwords regularly. Use a password manager to make them strong. And utilize two-factor authentication whenever possible. And if Jimmy Kimmel asks you for your password – don’t give it to him.


This week I was quoted in Digiday about Facebook’s 3D Photos and the brands that have been the first to experiment with them, including two Fallon clients.

Both companies discovered the experience thanks to ad agency Fallon, which counts Ritas as a client. Greg Swan, director of digital and social strategy the Minneapolis-based agency, said while Facebook told his agency brands they cannot access the tool yet, his team discovered that Facebook users who have the ability to post 3D photos on their personal account can do so on Facebook Pages as well. For now, as the feature rolls out to more users, the agency is already studying best practices.

“We learned you need a Portrait-mode iPhone photo, and it has to be emailed, not texted, so the photo retains its metadata. It works best when there is a solid background and the subject can’t be too shiny or white, as it causes bleeds, or too far away. The AI also had trouble with windows or glass and with human hair sometimes,” Swan said.

You can’t yet embed 3D photos, so click on this image below to see it in action…