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Big Instagram and TikTok changes mean you’ll see longer videos, fewer friends



Your social media apps like TikTok and Instagram will look more and more alike as the companies behind them add longer and bigger videos to turn content into cash.

TikTok is giving users the option to film and share up to three minutes of video — much more time than its original 60-second limit — in a move it says will allow for better storytelling and more entertainment. The announcement comes after the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said in a video posted on Twitter earlier this week that Instagram will start showing recommended, full-screen videos on users’ feeds alongside photos and videos from people they know. Instagram, owned by Facebook, already shows recommended photos in feeds, and the platform allows for both 15- and 30-second video reels as well as longer live videos, which can last up to four hours but which viewers must watch in real time.

For the hundreds of millions of users on Instagram and TikTok, longer and more frequent videos mean more time watching, but also potentially more ads and sponsored content that you may not want to sit through. On Instagram, you may also have less control over what you see in your feed — plenty of the videos you’re served will be from accounts you don’t follow. And longer TikTok videos may change the rapid-fire rhythm the app became known for.

The moves are reflective of large social media companies adding and emulating features that have become popular with consumers and worked well for their competitors. When this week’s changes take effect, Instagram will look more like TikTok, and TikTok more like YouTube. Instagram already took steps to add favorite features from other platforms when it debuted Snapchat-like stories in 2016. Twitter and Facebook both rolled out audio chatrooms earlier this year after audio app Clubhouse became popular during the pandemic.

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But this app-melding doesn’t always pay off. Many Twitter users, for instance, opt for threading tweets together rather than taking advantage of the extended character limit the company rolled out in 2017. Instead, people with a lot to say may find themselves on a blogging or newsletter site like Substack — or good old Facebook.

As for Instagram, Mosseri said the move to expand video formats on the platform was because he no longer viewed Instagram as a square photo-sharing app. He said that competition from TikTok and YouTube is fueling the increased focus on video.

TikTok has exploded to the top of the social media game with short-form videos, a modern interface and a scary-good algorithm. In May, it topped Sensor Tower’s top worldwide apps list with more than 80 million downloads. Instagram racked up just 11 million, in comparison.

Meanwhile, Instagram stories are full of content dragged and dropped from TikTok. To keep up, Instagram has to convince its audience — and its advertisers — that its videos are worth some extra time on the app.

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“Let’s be honest, there is some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger and there’s lots of other upstarts as well,” Mosseri said in the video. “So people are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do and we have to embrace that.”

He added that video is driving “an immense amount of growth online for all the major platforms right now and it’s one that I think we need to lean into more.”

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Instagram owner Facebook has been facing antitrust lawsuits on allegations that the social media giant is a monopoly. But a Washington federal judge on Monday handed Facebook a major victory in its battle against government regulators, dismissing two antitrust lawsuits.

Longer, more prominent video content is undoubtedly a good thing for content creators and social media advertisers. But will users stick around for longer video content on TikTok and more frequent video interruptions on Instagram?

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Instagram and TikTok declined to comment when asked how longer videos would contribute to their monetization goals.

For Melissa Henderson of Rochester, N.Y., who uses both TikTok and Instagram, the advantages of longer videos aren’t so clear. Short-form videos were a fun thing to browse on TikTok, not something Henderson wanted to see everywhere, said the 21-year-old.

“I love consuming content on [TikTok and YouTube], but I like to separate the media I indulge in,” Henderson said. “Like, ‘Oh, my cousin graduated, I want to go see the photo on Instagram.’ ”

TikTok made a name for itself on short, easy-to-watch clips. And Instagram’s static photos of carefully arranged charcuterie spreads and perfectly flicked eyeliner made it both a punchline and a relaxing place to scroll.

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“It’s kind of taking away the voice of smaller creatives on the platform,” said Henderson. “Photos have been universally known as the way we share our hobbies, and Instagram is the main platform for that. It’s becoming a platform we don’t want.”

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August





Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …





Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android





Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly


We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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