Social Media News from January

Louise's picture
Louise Simpson
| 25th January 2013

Did you know that you can send a video over "Vine" or make a call from "Line"? If that sounds like gibberish, enjoy this week's blog post for a round-up of the latest news from the word of social media.

Twitter Launch Video Sharing App Vine

Currently only available on iOS (i.e. Apple’s iPhone and iPad) Twitter’s new social video app, Vine, lets users share short, 6-second videos with their followers. The clips can contain as many scenes as users desire, just as long as they fit in the 6 second time allowance. Much like popular photo sharing app Instagram, Vine’s lack of desktop presence means that it relies entirely on the popularity of the smartphone to attract registrations.

Users have expressed some annoyance with the standalone app, largely due to the fact that - sometimes very noisy - videos autoplay by default. Interestingly in light of the rivalry between social media giants Twitter and Facebook, Vine initially offered users a way to find friends via their Facebook account; Facebook quickly put a stop to the function by preventing Vine from accessing friend lists.

Facebook Graph Search Revealed

Facebook's search function hasn't exactly been lauded in past - many users note how difficult it is to find friends and pages on the popular social network. This is - possibly - all set to change with the site's introduction of Facebook Graph Search.

Presumably to the relief of Google, the Facebook Graph will be focused on more “social” searches (i.e. “what bands do my friends like?”) rather than more general web searches. For businesses looking to attract more customers via Facebook, Graph Search validates our efforts to attract "likes" to our pages, with a higher number of likes likely to increase the page's prevalence in the Graph Search results.

Free Calls through Facebook

Facebook recently added a new feature that allows free phone calls for US iPhone owners. Using the Facebook Messenger app, users will be able to make free calls to their friends as long as they have a WiFi or data connection to the internet. The calls can only be made if both parties have the Messenger app installed on their phone. Facebook is expecting to roll out the new function to additional countries and operating systems in the future. With Facebook striving to increase advertising revenue, it will be interesting to see whether we’ll eventually be required to sit through an advert before we can connect to our friends.

MSN Messenger Set to Close

As a number of messenger apps open their doors, MSN Messenger (previously known as Live Messenger) has announced that it will shut down on March 15th. Following this date, users attempting to log in will be prompted to download and install Skype on their computer.

Line Messaging App Attracts 100 Million Users

Social chat app Line, available on iOS and Android devices, now boasts more than 100 million users worldwide - that’s a lot of users for an app that most people in the U.K. haven’t heard of! Used by roughly 1/3 of mobile users in Japan, the popular smartphone app can be used to make free phone calls and texting.

A competitor to messaging app WhatsApp as well as Facebook's Messenger service, January has seen social mobile users becoming spoiled for choice with alternatives to the traditional text message and phone call.

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