Keeping Up with Social Media

Keeping Up with Social Media

Words Luke Smith

The Social Media Updates Causing a Stir

Social Media is forever changing the way we interact with each other and the world, from instant news updates to sharing photos with friends. Now, these tech giants are developing their formulas with updates that will transform the way we connect with these apps, even though they may be small, they have already had a huge impact.

The most notable update this week is Snapchat’s redesign. Whereas before, your friend’s stories were separate from your chat’s, Snapchat has grouped the two together, designating the discover tab to just media content. Even though the reason behind the update is novel, separating friends from media content, many people have not taken to well to the new update. Change.org user Nic Rumsey has launched a petition on the website in light of the updates for Snapchat to revert back to the old design.

The petition has currently been signed by just shy of 950,000 people with many people sharing their distaste on Twitter with one user saying, “This Snapchat update is the worst thing to happen since U2’s album was downloaded to everyone’s phone”. Although many people have shown their anger towards the update, Snapchat is standing by their decision, saying “updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in”.

One of Snapchat’s features is the ability to see who has screenshot your stories, this is something that has now followed over to Instagram. The new feature is currently in testing as people point out that they are receiving in-app notifications on Instagram when they screenshot someone’s Instagram story.

To see who has screenshot your story, a circular shutter icon will appear next to the user who has watched your story. This feature was brought to Snapchat to create a safer space on social media in an age of digital surveillance. While the backlash is not as big as the Snapchat redesign, many people have expressed their concerns on Twitter, noting their move from Snapchat to Instagram was because Instagram did not notify you about screenshots.

If you’re worried about this new element, thankfully there is a loophole. By switching your phone to aeroplane mode when you take a screenshot of someone else’s story, it cancels the notification. Although luckily, as this new action is currently being tested, it is not guaranteed that this will ever properly see the light of day on everyone’s devices, let’s hope not.

Also adding new features to their platforms is, of course, Facebook, announcing a new update in the update box called Facebook Lists. This feature is pretty self-explanatory, creating lists and sharing them with your friends, lists can range from life goals to what you want to do over the weekend. The update comes in the wake of many people questioning the purpose of Facebook with their emphasis on news and sharing new ideas with friends as well as users posting less about their personal lives.

n December 2016, The Information released a report that showed personal updates had declined by 15 percent over the year. This is the reason for the new Facebook feature, to put the emphasis back on personal sharing, allowing users to share ambitions and interests in an easily digestible interface.

The last update that Facebook has rolled out was the coloured backgrounds on social media posts in an aim to get users to post more status updates and this new feature follows the same algorithm. If the feature will be adopted by all or just another novel idea is to been seen, we will have to wait to find out.

Something to note about all these updates, more specifically, the backlash from these updates, is people’s growing dependence on social media and technology with people changing their posting habits due to the changing and introducing of features. It highlights how much influence social media has on our lives, with a redesign of Snapchat causing over 900,000 to sign a petition or a screenshot feature on Instagram causing Twitter to go into overdrive. This brings into question, where will this go into the future, what is in store for social media as well as our relationship with it: who knows.