2016. What a year. So much has happened over the past 12 months, particularly in social media. And while it may have felt like update after update, there were some very key changes – so here’s our round-up review of the ones that mattered the most.
If the concept of social media wasn’t instantaneous enough, this year we were introduced to live video streaming. The concept allows users to begin recording themselves in real-time, broadcasting the stream to friends and followers as if you were right there with them. Both people and brands alike having been using the feature, sharing snippets of their lives to the world.
Facebook was the main platform to really push the concept out and encourage people to use it, but Instagram and, most recently, Twitter have followed in the same footsteps. Twitter live-streamed a series of NFL games, and for the first time, the presidential election debates. But who could forget the most successful live streamer of 2016 – “Chewbacca Mom”, Candace Payne?
Instagram changed the game big time back in August, when they introduced us to their ‘Stories’ feature. Despite the glaringly obvious fact that they ‘imitated’ Snapchat, Instagram Stories has been doing really well, with reports indicated that over a fifth of their active monthly users are also using it in the first few weeks. The feature has already developed a great deal since it’s launch, with updates to include links, tagging users and sending posts privately and directly to friends.
Snapchat proved to well and truly be king of the castle when it came to social media this year. All other platforms bowed down to them, often copying many of its features (Facebook, Twitter, we’re looking at you). But what really set Snap Inc. (the company re-branded after branching out into eye wear) apart from the rest, is when they launched their unique ‘Spectacles’. The glasses can record video clips up to 30 seconds in length from the wearer’s viewpoint and can immediately be shared on Snapchat. Their success has thrown shade (so to speak) at similar concepts that came before, such as Google glass.
The ‘Spectacles’ are now being sold in pop ups around the US, and it is only a matter of time before they are available on an international scale.
The future is here, we’re being taken over by the robots. Well, make not just yet, but this year developments with chatbots came in leaps and bounds. Both Facebook Messenger and Twitter direct messages have allowed the use of chatbots which is particularly useful for companies dealing with customer service enquiries. Whilst these features are still in fairly early stages, this this is definitely a development that is set to grow much more in 2017.
So what’s to come for 2017? We predict more fun filters, and hopefully less fake news. It is pretty obvious that influencer marketing will continue to grow, but it’s virtual reality that we think will develop beyond even our wildest dreams. We literally can’t wait.