Posted on June 21, 2018 by staff

Social Media Briefing: Interactive videos come to Facebook


A few months ago my boyfriend introduced me to the interactive quiz app and time black hole HQ Trivia – and since then it’s taken the UK by storm.

I’m not claiming credit for its success. I’m just saying it seems like a pretty big coincidence.

Clearly Facebook is also paying attention because it’s announced that creators and publishers will soon be able to add polling and gaming into their videos.

Video is hot news right now, so makes sense that people want to get in on the action – literally – and as someone who loves both watching videos and gaming, I’m on board.

Facebook will be kickstarting its move with polling for both Live and on-demand videos, and gamification for Live. Partners will be able to add a range of new interactive features to videos, from polls to quiz questions and challenges.

The site’s blog says they can also be used to create a standalone game show – in the style of HQ Trivia.

“We’re giving creators a blank canvas to allow them to do what they do best — create! — and we can’t wait to see how they innovate,” it said.

One example of what’s to come is ‘Outside your Bubble’ from Buzzfeed News, which challenges contestants to guess what someone with an opposing view is thinking.

It all feels a little gimmicky at the moment, but I can imagine that in a few years’ time it’ll be par for the course to be able to dive inside the action on videos. In an era when ‘engagement’ is the Holy Grail and immersive tech is on the rise, this could be the key to getting customers hooked.

Instagram takes on YouTube

It’s a big week for video with Instagram also deciding to up its game.

The site has launched a new stand-alone app called IGTV that will let users film clips of up to an hour.Considering the max is currently 60 seconds this is a big leap, and it’s a move that the company is hoping will help bag it more content creators.

Usually flocking to YouTube, vloggers and their ilk have become the new celebrities, with British lifestyle and beauty guru Zoella currently on around 12 million subscribers.

Instagram has said videos will be displayed vertically in the whole screen, and although it won’t have ads that play at the start like in YouTube, it’s said that’s probably the direction it’ll end up going in.

Could a social media curfew for kids work?

For anyone who’s put their kids to bed only to discover them playing on their phone under the covers at 1am, help could be at hand.

The word on the street is that Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham could soon be telling social media platforms to change their settings to create a ‘curfew’ for kids’ or face a fine.

The update would mean changes such as a ban on children receiving notifications at night and a clampdown on functions that try and get kids to keep playing, like Snapchat rewarding users for a streak of consecutive messages.

It’s a nice idea – we could all do with putting our devices to bed a bit earlier – but whether it’ll fly with the social-savvy next generation is another matter.

Another suggestion was from the head of the NSPCC Peter Wanless. He doesn’t think time limits should be implemented but does agree social media companies should put safeguards in place.

Wanless says he has been banging his head against brick walls trying to get social companies to build safety into their platforms to make it harder for predators to find and engage with young people.

“Let’s not deny children their passions but let’s be absolutely confident that if they are online for one, three or six hours that they are not betraying their geographic location, not engaging with people that leaves them open to being groomed and potential criminal activity and even death,” he said.

This could be a better idea as it creates safer products rather than simply restricting the users – but as Denham is the one with the power, maybe the two should talk and help design a better future together.

Kim Kardashian puts Twitter in a flap

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West wants to free the internet from the shackles of bad Twitter decisions. Yes, really.

The reality TV star cornered Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at her husband Kanye’s birthday party recently to ask for an edit button on the platform.

She tweeted to her 60 million followers that she “had a very good convo” with Dorsey saying “I think he really heard me out on the edit button”.

The tweet was liked 31,000 times and attracted more than 900 responses with a range of emotions.

Some people are buzzing about a potential change that would let them undo typos and erase embarrassing or damaging tweets.

Others – including one user who just replied ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ – think that being able to edit things that people have been shared and liked is dangerous.

I gotta say, I agree. If you like or retweet someone who says they love bunnies and they later edit that tweet to say they love murder, then you’re in a pickle.

Luckily the Twitterverse had some practical suggestions for compromise, including making the edits timestamped. One user even had the novel idea of proofreading tweets more carefully before sending them – but that seems unlikely.

So what did Dorsey say in response to Kim K?

How Facebook helped one woman fight cancer

People often have the impression that social media is mostly used by teenagers to message friends and share videos of people falling over, but one story which warmed the cockles of my heart this week couldn’t be further from that.

Dr Bex Lewis, a senior lecturer in digital marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, spoke to one of my colleagues last week about how Facebook helped her in her recovery from cancer.

“I don’t know how I would have coped ten or so years ago when there was no social media, the medicine was rubbish and there was no Netflix,” she said.

It might sound strange to hear Lewis put social media on par with improvements in medicine, but it offered her a crucial way to look after her emotional wellbeing while doctors looked after her health.

Lewis used Facebook groups to connect with other people in the same situation, which had the effect of keeping her both calm and informed.

Members asked each other for tips about treatment, shared stories and supported each other, making a truly horrible experience seem a little less lonely.

Lewis also described how she would also post treatment updates on social media so she didn’t have to keep explaining every detail to each person she spoke to.

I recently followed the story of another young woman with bowel cancer – a friend of a friend – who I’d never met but who posted updates throughout her journey on social media.

Although she tragically passed away, I know I’ll be much more aware of the symptoms, and found myself feeling really connected to her despite never having met her.

For all the amazing work that charities and the NHS do to share important information around symptoms, at the end of the day often what gets through to us is hearing other people’s stories – something which showcases social at its best.

Not such a sweet tweet from Sugar

Lord Alan Sugar isn’t exactly the shy and retiring type, but even he – begrudgingly – admitted he’d gone too far with a tweet this week.

On Wednesday morning the business magnate posted a photoshopped picture of the Senegal football team that made it look like they were selling counterfeit goods.

“I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi-tasking resourceful chaps,” tweeted Lord Sugar.

He faced a backlash of people calling the tweet offensive and racist, but decided to stick by his ‘funny’ comment.

Eventually – and, as one user suggested, probably after a nudge from his PR team – he took it down and made an attempt at an apology.

Whether it was or wasn’t intended to cause offence, what Sugar and many other people fail to grasp is that Twitter isn’t some mystical platform where you can say what you like and words don’t matter.

With that in mind, I expect Kim K’s campaign for an edit button could have one more high-profile backer before long…