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The Social Short: Week 17

The New Vine, Known As Byte, Has Finally Launched Its Beta Test



Back in November of 2017, around a year after Vine was shut down by Twitter, Dom Hoffman, one of the co-founders announced that he had begun working on what would be a ‘sequel’. Eighteen months later, Byte, the new Vine, has finally been launched. Hofman has opened up a closed beta program for selected users. For now, the app will let users record or upload short, looped vertical videos to a reverse-chronological feed, offering just a feed with likes and comments without the ability to follow accounts. Hoffman has stated that he plans to keep running beta tests, adding and removing features, to see what people want to get out of the app.



The rise and popularity of Vine was unlike anything that had come before it, with the app reaching more than 200 million active users at one stage. Today, however, this new app will have to differentiate itself from the powerful TikTok, which has more than 500 active users and provides the same short video format that Vine was known for. Is it too late for this comeback, or will Hofman be able to cater to the next generation like he once did?


Facebook To Bring ‘Text Effects’ Feature For News Feed

Another day, another feature test! According to Digital Media Consultant Scott Grenney and shared by Matt Navarra last week, Facebook is testing a ‘text effects’ feature for posts published via desktop, where users can select from five different font styles; fancy, simple, clean, headline and casual. These font styles are the same as those available in Facebook Stories, which is another way Facebook is trying to integrate Stories further into the News Feed. This one will potentially end up looking a lot like Stories. Users can already add a colourful background to their posts so it is not a surprise that they would provide different text options. While this new feature is being tested only on desktop, it is possible that we will see it on mobile soon as well. In terms of whether this will go forward, it is only a matter of time to find out.



Tesla Plans To Launch a Robotaxi Network in 2020

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has unveiled plans to launch an autonomous taxi service in 2020.“I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year — not in all jurisdictions because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere” he said. According to Musk, all new Tesla vehicles are now being produced with a custom computer chip that fulfils the hardware requirements for full self-driving.
“From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million robotaxis on the road,” Musk continued. “The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that’s all it takes.”

This is a rather ambitious plan, not to mention very complex one so we are intrigued by the possible outcome.



Instagram Tests Hiding Like Counts Hoping to Reduce Focus on Vanity Metrics

Social media could be thought of a digital ‘prison’ through which to see the achievements of others. Living in an era where everything is controlled by likes and follows, many people have turned to online platforms looking for validation, as if numbers could be a tangible answer to measuring their worth. The fact that Instagram is experimenting with the removal of like counts from posts, allowing only the creator to see the total number of likes, could have an extremely important impact.



On the last shot, the description down the bottom reads: “Testing a Change to How You See Likes – We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared the post will see the total number of likes it gets.”

Various studies have also linked Instagram usage to mental health concerns, and while this is not the fix to all problems, if Instagram can reduce the emphasis on portraying only the best moments and this fixation with comparing like counts, it should try.