Social Web Recap 14.05.18

My weekly annotated summary of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts. 
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Love the Numbers

It is a truism at this point that public relations and marketing are driven by visuals, whether video, photos, cinemagraphs, memes, infographics or cartoons. But a March 2018 study from Libris and Contently bears out the argument that production and sharing of visual assets have become not just important but pivotal to successful social media audience engagement.  

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Twitter

Mashable's Johnny Lieu reports that Twitter "is seemingly testing end-to-end encrypted direct messaging in the Android version of its app, as spotted by computer science student Jane Manchun Wong." Encryption ensures that only the sender and receiver can read a DM, even if sent by a third-party device.

Instagram

Want to add more sauce to your Instagram ? Instagram is testing  letting users add music clips to their Stories, with a feature (still hidden in Instagram's code) called 'music stickers'. The Next Web speculates that "You’d search for appropriate tunes under different tabs labelled 'Trending', 'Genres', and 'Moods.' " As TNW points out, this would be made possible through Facebook's licensing arrangements with various music publishers. As a set up for more business-oriented moves, Instagram has added 'action' buttons which allow users to "make a reservation, buy a ticket, start an order or make a booking using third party services, all from an Instagram business profile." And to shelve next to the other who cares really updates, Instagram has slapped an emoji slider on to the app which it says "lets you ask more nuanced questions when you want to find out how your friends feel about something — like how  an artist’s new single is or how  they like their food. " Call it visual and emotional polling if you like.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp will now let you watch Facebook and Instagram videos in addition to YouTube videos inside a conversation thread in app. And "with picture-in-picture, you can keep watching the video even as you move between other chats."

Tinder

The Verge believes that hook-up app Tinder is "testing a location-tracking feature that’ll presumably help users meet up in person. The company’s director of product revenue, Jeff Morris Jr, tweeted some of the features Tinder is working on this year, including looping videoswomen being able to message first, and location tracking."

Facebook

Continuing its assault on all things Snapchat, Facebook  may soon be releasing 'Avatars', its version of Snapchat's popular Bimoji feature. Josh Constine at TechCrunch describes Facebook 'Avatars' as letting people "build personalized, illustrated versions of themselves for use as stickers in Messenger and comments. It will let users customize their avatar to depict their skin color, hair style and facial features."  Facebook introduced a number of new features last week intended on making it easier for publishers to go live on Facebook. These include testing 'Live Rewind ' for pages while broadcasting, "the ability to crosspost live videos to multiple Facebook pages as an original post , and persistent stream keys with an encoder, which make it easier to collaborate across teams and locations for live productions."