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TikTok, livestreaming, and ‘creator economy’ quickly changing social apps landscape – USA Today




Live streaming and the explosion of the “creator economy” are igniting the current rise in social media app use and rapidly changing the landscape, a new study finds.

This year alone, consumers have already downloaded more than 9.2 billion apps and are expected to spend 740 billion hours on them. That includes an estimated 548 billion hours of them live streaming – in top apps including TikTok, Twitch and Instagram, according to mobile data and analytics tracker App Annie in its “The Evolution of Social Media Report” released Monday. 

Other report findings show that this year’s hourly usage on apps will likely surpass last year’s total of nearly 800 billion hours mostly in part to increased use in mobile and other devices due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, App Annie executives told USA TODAY.

App Annie cites the usage surge of Twitch, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. As Twitch initially rose to popularity with gamers and has more than 30 million people who visit the site daily, more consumers are turning to Twitch to make connections outside of game streams from everything ranging from music to comedy, App Annie found.

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“Authentic, real-time connection is driving meaningful growth and is set to underpin the future landscape of social media apps,” App Annie said.

Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Twitch’s head of community productions who’s been with the platform since its start in 2011, told USA TODAY in June that Twitch has empowered millions of creators “who now truly have a ‘job that they love’ that allows them to share their passions with their communities.”

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Many of those passionate Twitch streamers last week participated in a boycott, #ADayOffTwitch, to protest a spate of “hate raids,” on the platform. In response, Twitch said “it’s working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements” to help make the site safer.

App Annie’s report also reflects how some creators are even being encouraged to get paid to produce original content on apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said the social network is planning to pay up to $1 billion to those who create content on its platforms through 2022. The company also said it won’t take a cut on creators’ revenue until 2023.

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Social media rival Twitter has also proclaimed that it wants to help its content creators make money. Twitter recently added two new features, including Super Follows, which allows users to charge a monthly subscription fee for extra content.The other feature, Tip Jar, allows users to send money directly to their favorite Twitter accounts.

Lexi Sydow, App Annie’s head of insights said the changes are part of an emerging trend. Some of our favorite apps are shifting from primarily texting, chatting and photo sharing to also focusing on gaming, sharing videos and continuous streaming to appeal to consumers, Sydow said.

Consumers are expected to spend an estimated $6.78 billion via social apps worldwide this year, according to the App Annie report. The figure includes American and Japanese consumers spending more than $1.5 billion on app usage during the first six months of 2021.

“It’s a momentous shift and is quickly becoming a really important part of the narrative in social growth,” Sydow said of the consumer social apps spending. She said App Annie projects the apps spending could climb up to $17.2 billion annually by 2025, a 29% increase. 

App Annie’s report also comes as tech giant Apple said it’s letting app developers email their users about ways to sidestep the iPhone maker when signing up for subscriptions. Previous moves could have led apps to be removed from Apple’s popular app store, which is a perennial cash cow for the iPhone maker.

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The App Annie report said TikTok is the most downloaded social and entertainment app in the world for a second straight year. Instagram, which just asked its 1 billion users worldwide to verify their birthdates, has supplanted its parent company Facebook as the second-most downloaded app globally, the report said.

The rest of the top 10 most downloaded apps include 2020 repeats WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat, Facebook’s Messenger and new entrants CapCut, MX TakaTak and PicsArt Photo & Video Editor. The latter three show a shift toward downloading apps that favor videos and creating content, replacing the popular apps Netflix, Likee and Pinterest.

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The theme of users preferring to download and use short-form video content and live streaming apps are prevalent, the report said. As a result, many consumers are opting toward paying for sometimes raw and unedited work by creators instead of professionally produced content. 

“Consumers are opening their wallets to the creator economy at a level we’ve never seen before,” the report said.

One app that App Annie says encourages consumer spending is Singapore-based Bigo Live which uses “beans” as a form of “gifting” (giving funds) to content creators during live streams. Other apps with similar practices include Twitch, where users can send “bits,” and TikTok uses “virtual coins” to compensate creators. 

With about 400 million users in more than 150 countries, Bigo Live represents what vice president Mike Ong unapologetically describes in the App Annie report as live streaming becoming “the new social language.”

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“We are committed to helping our broadcasters becoming the celebrities of tomorrow,” Ong said.

Sam Yang, App Annie’s senior vice president said it’s hard to keep up with apps because they constantly change due to the landscape and the increased competition to get consumers. 

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“What we’re seeing today will likely not be what we see in a year from now,” Yang said. 

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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

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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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