Stories that disappear after a period of time are where the action is on social platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. But when it comes to Twitter, it looks the product itself is going to be going away in a matter of days. Twitter has confirmed that Fleets — its own take on ephemeral Stories that it launched into general availability just nine months ago — is shutting down on August 3.
The company said the reason for the move is a lack of activity — specifically, among the more hesitant Twitter users who it said it was trying to target with Fleets in the first place. Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of consumer product, said that the company would be building other products, but didn’t say whether they would be bringing in any more ephemeral aspects to any of them.
Spaces, the company’s answer to Clubhouse, currently sits in the same strip at the top of the app as Fleets and it will become the sole occupant of that horizontal carousel when Fleets disappears.
Meanwhile, the company noted in a blog post from Ilya Brown, VP of Product, that some of what it built for Fleets — such as the veritical, full-screen advertising test that it ran only as recently as June — would possibly reappear in other places on the app.
The announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the most we’ve heard about Fleets has been when Twitter launched them, or made some kind of product iteration on them, or found itself facing a technical glitch. Yet in terms of viral traction, or high profile Fleets, there hasn’t been much.
Most of all, though shut-down also underscores how Twitter continues to struggle to make its product accessible in a more mainstream way to a wider pool of users; and how it struggles to boost engagement by tapping users who are there but just to sit back with their popcorn and watch the action.
Back when Twitter first started testing Fleets in limited markets in March 2020, its bet had been that some people weren’t tweeting as much as others because the permanent format of Twitter put them off. Make the tweets disappear, they thought, and more people would get talking… not least because the format was proving so popular on other social platforms. (Before it made its move last year, Twitter was, indeed, one of the few social media sites that had yet to launch a stories format.)
Initial rollout of the feature looked promising — at least, if you consider it a positive indicator that Fleets crashed from the surge of people using it when it first became a available worldwide.
But longer term, it turns out those quiet Twitter users weren’t much interested in Fleets, either, and that the only people really posting stories as Fleets were already pretty active on the platform.
To be clear, we don’t know how many of power users were using Fleets, either. Twitter declined to provide any usage numbers or other stats on Fleets when asked.
There were other issues that Twitter never quite resolve with the user experience of Fleets. For example, was it an issue or confusing at all that when Twitter launched Spaces they appeared in the same place as Fleets? Or was that lack of clarity the writing on the wall for Fleets?
And with Fleets, it was never completely clear how Twitter decided what to put in the space. Some people follow thousands of accounts, and there was never a way to specifically follow people for their Fleets, so what you saw became a question of Twitter’s algorithms.
It seems that Twitter is not closing the door on trying more experiments, even if it’s had a lacklustre track record in getting some of them into wider use. “Bg bets are risky and speculative, so by definition a number of them won’t work,” Beykpour noted. “If we’re not having to wind down features every once in a while, then it would be a sign that we’re not taking big enough swings.”
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.
Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:
- Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
- Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
- Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
- Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
- Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
- Learning Python with Joe Marini
- Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
- Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
- Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
- Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
- SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
- Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
- Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
- Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
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.
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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: 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.
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