Go Lite or Go Home

SOCIAL MEDIA IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND FINDING NEW WAYS TO ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE.

A wise man once said “if you want to survive in business and stay afloat for a very long time, you must adopt a pragmatic approach to clients” –meaning, one size doesn’t always fit all. At the time, I didn’t understand it because I was barely fifteen and didn’t know why the heck he was telling me this, but over the years I have learnt to adopt a pragmatic approach when I make new leads and it’s been working good so far. By the way, if you are wondering who the wise man in my story is, worry no more because I don’t know him. I met him while we were both waiting at a bus station and for some reason he felt the need to tell me that, not bothering if I understood the meaning of the word “pragmatic”.

In this article I shall describe to you the meaning of that word using a trend that’s “lite-ing” up the social media space.

In 2017, a Statista report states that there are over 2.46 billion unique social media users, and it is estimated to reach 2.77 billion by 2019. How mind blowing is that? A little over quarter the world’s population. Interestingly, the World Wide Web went 2.0 not very long ago with social media and this shift has disrupted every facet of the world. I am certain that you reading this article right now are also on social media but here is the thing…

Social media is experiencing a new trend and it is designed to fix the problem of highly expensive or slow mobile data and less powerful android devices. In many countries, largely in Africa, leading social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Google, Skype and so on have launched their lite versions. Everyone is going lite, I call it the version for Africa as it consumes less data and it is phone internal memory friendly, especially if you are using the lower end android devices as is the case for many in Nigeria.

So what next are we to see with this trend?

We are set to see every other social media and other heavy web 1.0 sites launch lite versions. There was a time when websites didn’t think they needed mobile applications until the trend hit the space, now virtually every site has an app. That is likely to be the case with the lite trend, websites upon being designed will start to factor in the curation of both mobile apps and lite versions simultaneously.

Facebook out to Tackle 'Revenge Porn'

Facebook is daily pushing boundaries in technology using new tools to make life better for its 1.86 billion monthly active users. Proving to be ahead of the pack in terms of innovation and creativity, just this in first quarter of the year, facebook has launched a couple of new features an tools to improve user experience for its users. Today facebook launched new tools that will help cut down “revenge porn” on facebook and across all other facebook owned apps. Revenge porn is the practice of sharing someone’s explicit image or video without the person’s consent either for blackmail, shaming or just for fun.

A 2013 study by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative in America showed that 93% of revenge-porn victims suffer major emotional distress and 82% confessed that being victims of revenge-porn affected them negatively in some significant areas of their life.

Photo via huffpost.com

Photo via huffpost.com

With this new tool, facebook now allows for users to report intimate images that they suspect were shared without the owner’s consent or permission. According to the company, a special team has been set up to review all reported images and when necessary remove them. To prevent further circulation and sharing, a photo-matching technology has been employed to detect reported and reviewed images, this will make it impossible for them to be re-shared or viewed on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. 

Facebook is going all out in 2017 to ensure improved user experience for their users and this why the company is winning more grounds this year.

Facebook and the Future of Media

THE PIONEERS OF THE FACEBOOK  SAW THE APP AS A COLLABORATING NETWORK OF PEOPLE AND THIS WAS WHAT MADE CHRIS COX, CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER OF FACEBOOKTO JOIN THE GROUP 12 YEARS AGO. CHRIS COX WAS AT THE SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK 2017 AND HE SHARED THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF FACEBOOK.

CHRIS COX, FACEBOOK PRODUCT OFFICER AT SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK 2017

At Social Media Week Lagos 2017, Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at facebook gave a keynote speech that detailed the future of social media and how facebook is helping to influence the use of social media. 

How will the media work in 2017?

IMMERSIVE MEDIA: This is giving the app user the power to use video to connect and communicate. He said that Immersive Communication is gaining popularity because people have the need to gain a sense of community, intimacy. This can be done through faceBook Live videos.

FACEBOOK AD CAMPAIGN PROMOTING FACEBOOK LIVE, IT'S VIDEO BROADCASTING FEATURE.

Chris Cox revealed that facebook is helping build cameras that can assist people with all round communication – 360 Camera This will enable viewers to see all sides of a location during a conversation. This will introduce a new feature called 360 video.

SHAKIRA USING THE FACEBOOK 360 CAMERA AT DAVOS

Furthermore, 2017 will see the exploration of virtual reality more. Facebook is creating touch controllers that will enable viewers see their hands while in the virtual world. Have you ever thought of an instance when you can connect, play games, have meeting with someone or people who are not physically present with you? Well, according to Cox, facebook is taking Virtual Reality one extra degree into the future.

AT THE 2016 OCULUS CONNECT 3 KEYNOTE, MARK ZUCKERBERG SHOWED OFF A LIVE VR CHAT WITH THE OCULUS RIFT.

EXTREME AUTHENTICITY

This helps viewers see others especially celebrities as real. People who are not known but have content are using videos to find their voice.

MAI IBRAHIM CAKE - CONNECTING PEOPLE IN A PLACE WHERE THERE'S NO ONE TO LISTEN TO

MEDIA CREATES COMMUNITY: Media brings us together because we have similar experiences. How can brands create communities when everyone is not watching the same thing at the same time? That can be done by reaching out and putting up information that is relatable to your target audience.

Brands should take advantage of this.

The questions you should ask is “Who is my community how do I put my arms around them to make them a part of what I do?” The possibilities on new media are massive and brands are advised not to let this slide away without taking proper advantage of it.

THE TREND OF STORYTELLING

YOU THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO END WITH INSTAGRAM STORIES? WRONG! SOMEONE ELSE IS JUMPING ON THE TREND OF STORIES AND YOU CAN'T GUESS WHO. 

Lady making Snapchat stories via gettyimages 

Lady making Snapchat stories via gettyimages 

Everyone is a storyteller consciously or unconsciously. Today, we document our life stories more than ever. With technology offering us multiple media (text, audio, visual etc.) and social media providing us diverse platform of expression, everyone is becoming masters in the art of storytelling.

WhatsApp, the very popular instant messaging app with over 1.2 billion monthly active users sending about 50 billion messages a day is jumping on an interesting trend introduced by SnapChat - the trend of stories. Social media which once started out with offering users the ease of sharing life stories via text, has evolved to photos, emojis, Gifs, videos etc. But with the emergence of Snapchat the way people consume and share stories have changed. Snapchat stepped on the existing crave of people to share what was going on their life and the hunger of others wanting to know this, by offering users 24 hours timed first person told stories. The fact that stories are timed makes consumers want to dig in fast and miss no moment, stories are authentic and relatable when told in first person and this was Snapchat’s major punch. In addition, story sharers are confident in the fact that every story shared won’t last forever, giving them the incentive to life in the moment and worry less about the consequences of the coming days. Instagram jumped on this trend when they realised how successful the feature was in bringing users and drastically affecting how people shared their information

WhatsApp which will be turning 8 on the 24th of February, 2017 is launching the 'Watsapp Stories' feature today. Just like Snapchat and Instagram stories, WhatsApp stories are to last 24 hours after being shared. WhatsApp has always made it possible for users to write short status updates within the app, letting their contacts know what they are doing or feeling.  With the new feature, WhatsApp is taking this option a step further by allowing users include photos and videos in a format reminiscent of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories. The Status feature launches today on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phones. The company has announced that the feature will at this early stage be available in France and the Netherlands, followed by the U.K. and Spain on the February 21, and Italy, Israel, and Saudi Arabia on February 22 (all in Beta). The feature will be scaled up globally after this early testing stage.

WhatsApp-Snapchat faceoff via thenextweb.com

WhatsApp-Snapchat faceoff via thenextweb.com

Just like messages sent with the app, status messages are coded to stay end-to-end encrypted. The fact that WhatsApp uses phone numbers rather than user names to connect people may make it worrisome for many beacause this will expose their private life stories to everyone including friends, business partners and any other person who is a contact on Watsapp. Status messages are viewable to anyone who saves a user’s number in their phone. To tackle this, WhatsApp privacy options has constantly evolved to help users set their privacy settings on a per-status basis, that is to say, one story maybe viewable to all amongst many other which could be kept private to be viewable by just selected best friends.Using algorithm based on previous interactions the app automatically determines which status messages a user is likely to want to open, thereby automatically downloading their content and making it ready to view as soon as one opens a message. Using this technology, WhatsApp might automatically download a photo from your constant messenger if the featureis turned on, but hold off on downloading a long video from a distant user.

WhatsApp on Mobile via copy9blog.com

WhatsApp on Mobile via copy9blog.com

Speculations are that facebook is also testing this feature and may add stories to their options. The current trend in social networking is telling and sharing stories in first person, original reportage style, almost unedited and uncut, just as reality TV show is taking over regular pre-produced shows, people are more comfortable with life outside extra cuts and extra edits.

I'm sure Nigerians can't wait to get their hands on the new feature from WatsApp.

Your Delivery is One Chat Away

INSTANT MESSAGING IS CHANGING HOW CONSUMERS INTERACT WITH PRODUCTS. NEED PIZZA? YOU ARE ONE JUST PIZZA EMOJI AWAY. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

Using the Domino's Dom / Source: dailydot.com

Using the Domino's Dom / Source: dailydot.com

In the summer of 2016, Domino’s launched a Facebook Messenger Chatbot which allows customers order their favourite pizza just by typing the word “Pizza” into the chatbox. Like this wasn’t good enough, the food company has updated the web robot aptly named “Dom” to do more cooler stuff. This innovation did come at a perfect time  (a few days before Super Bowl). With tangible knowledge of the American culture of mixing Pizza, beer and football, this was a very clever move.

Phone showing an order via facebook messenger / Source: creativity-online.com

Phone showing an order via facebook messenger / Source: creativity-online.com

Domino’s Dom has been described as “an artificially intelligent customer whiz designed to help superfans get their No. #1 fix of cheesy food heaven.” Before the new update, customers were made to sign-up and create a Domino’s profile, through which they set up their preferences using the pre-order settings on the Restaurant’s website. However, following recent updates, orders can be taken from the menu via direct Facebook Messenger on the Dom's interface. Though this makes payment possible only with cash as online payments cannot be made via Facebook Chat. Dominos is broadening the possibility of messaging in a post-digital world like ours and at best, Facebook Messenger will continue to play a key role in the lives of billions of users around the world.

While we await access to these applications in Nigeria, consumers are currently making do with Balogun Market, a Nigerian based app that was launched in October, 2016. It allows people to buy products via a messenger feature in the app. The online marketplace gives customers access to goods sold at trusted shops within Balogun Market, Lagos, hence saving them the stress of the city’s infamous traffic and persistently hot weather. Buying goods in a typical Nigerian market requires the characteristic negotiating and haggling shopper culture, and this app allows customers to have such an experience.

Balogun Market / Source: futureforeignpolicy.com

Balogun Market / Source: futureforeignpolicy.com