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Twitter is shutting down Fleets on August 3, citing low usage

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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.

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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?

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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.”

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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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

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.

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.

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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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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