View profile

the truth about my career in social media

Geekout Newsletter
Issue #60 • View online
*View this newsletter online for the best reading experience*
Hello, Geeks!
Welcome back to Geekout… It’s been another busy week of platform updates, new features, and policy changes in the world of social.
Oh… And Jonah Hill REALLY doesn’t like Instagram much! 😮
__
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
  1. Snapchat prepares for the metaverse with its ‘Scan’ feature 
  2. This is how Facebook’s futuristic AR glasses work 
  3. WhatsApp might be getting a new emoji-powered feature 
  4. Instagram revealed how to rank higher in its search results 
  5. TikTok might be getting into virtual reality
__
My career in social media started over 10 years ago working for the UK Government.
Like many people at the time working in this space, I kind of fell into the role and made it my own. There were no qualifications for being a social media manager. I had no formal training. If I’m honest, I made it up as I went along. I’m not kidding. Lucky for me, I made some good decisions and learned a lot. Fast! I also had great mentors [thank you Emer Coleman & Boris VVZ!]
Fast forward to 2021, working in social media is a well-trodden career path. The role of a social media manager has become a popular but challenging profession. However, social changes fast. New platforms launch. Algorithms are constantly tweaked. Rules and policies evolve. I could go on.
So…How do we bridge the social media knowledge gap and stay at the top of our game…?
>> Check out these top social media career tips <<
__
💎 HIDDEN GEM | Supershots - Turn your screenshots into supershots with gradient backgrounds 🎨📱 [website]
__
While you’re here… A quick plug for the latest episodes of my Geekout podcast [35,000 downloads!]:
Download and tune in to my conversations with:
__
ICYMI…
Okay… Time to dive into this week’s biggest stories making social media headlines 👇
— Matt
P.S. My weekly Geekout debriefing on Twitter Spaces will return soon. Watch this space 👀

Direcon - Real-time analytics for Twitter Spaces
 
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Messenger is 10 years old. Facebook’s app sprang to life in August 2011, just a few months after the company acquired group messaging app Beluga and reworked it into the beginnings of the app we know today.
You’ll probably remember the hoo-ha seven years ago when Facebook took messaging out of the main Facebook app, to force users into the dedicated Messenger. Well, it looks like that’s about to get reversed.
As Bloomberg reported at the start of this week:
Some users, including those in the U.S., will be able to place voice or video calls from the Facebook app beginning Monday. The new feature is just a test, but it’s meant to reduce the need to jump back and forth between Facebook’s main app and its Messenger service, said Connor Hayes, director of product management at Messenger. 
Facebook also started testing a limited version of Messenger’s inbox in the core Facebook app last fall….
Monday’s test is the latest in what has been a slow but consistent effort internally to integrate all of Facebook’s apps and services.
The move represents a shift for Messenger from being just an app to being a service layer across all the company’s products. Oculus, Portal, and the like can all tap into Messenger without pushing users off to the actual app.
When Messenger boss Stan Chudnovsky joined us for a live Geekout Twitter Space yesterday to mark Messenger’s 10th birthday, he was keen to point out that this doesn’t mean an end to the dedicated Messenger app.
And while he played down any suggestion that this means there’s less place in Facebook’s future for separate Instagram messaging features and WhatsApp, it does kind of suggest that Facebook’s ongoing efforts to make its messaging services interoperable behind the scenes might be about more than just allowing you to do things like message a Messenger user from Instagram’s own service.
Why duplicate all that messaging effort across the company? Especially as the unspoken reasoning for tying its messaging services together is to make it harder for a government to break up Facebook.
If TikTok raised your eyebrows when it increased its maximum video length to three minutes, your eyebrows must be floating somewhere above your head at the news that it could be increased even further to five… or TEN minutes.
When I tweeted about this earlier in the week, the responses were pretty much all negative and along the lines of “I don’t have time for TikToks that long” or “10 minutes is what YouTube is for”.
And it does seem brave of TikTok to even consider messing with the magic formula that has made it a success. But just like Instagram has transformed into more a video platform and Twitter has embraced double-length tweets and group audio, sometimes you need to mess with things to stay fresh and serving your audience in new ways.
Remember, this is only a test. And if TikTok’s famously smart algorithm can figure out when you’re likely to want a video of 10 minutes versus a quick one-minute blast, expanding the range of content creators can make is no bad thing. 10 minutes is enough for the kind of product review or instructional video you’d go to YouTube for at the moment, for example.
As this newsletter noted when Instagram announced its shift to a focus on video, social apps are about serving audiences, not offering rigid feature sets. Expanding what you give your audience is no bad thing… if it’s done in the right way.
Farewell, swipe-ups. The way you link out to the web from Instagram Stories is changing from next week. As TechCrunch explains:
Instagram is ditching the “swipe-up” link in Instagram Stories starting on August 30. The popular feature has historically allowed businesses and high-profile creators a way to direct their Story’s viewers to a website where they could learn more about a product, read an article, sign up for a service or do anything else the creator wanted to promote. In place of the “swipe-up” call to action, Instagram users who previously had access to the feature will instead be able to use the new Link Sticker, the company says.
We knew this was coming. The link sticker has been in limited testing all summer, so the news will be no surprise to keen Geekout readers.
But don’t mourn the swipe-up link. Link stickers give far much more flexibility in how and where you present a link, and you can integrate it far more creatively with the art or photography in your Story. I suspect in a few weeks we’ll look back at swipe-up links as a clunky relic that we’re glad to see the back of.
The only bad news is that the same restriction as before is in place for who can post links. Unless you have at least 10,000 followers, you’re out of luck.
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Why Facebook Shelved an Earlier Report on Popular Posts
  • Facebook is considering setting up a commission of academics to advise it on difficult issues around elections. [New York Times $$$]
  • The UK’s expected new data protection chief is a vocal Facebook critic. [Sky News]
  • Facebook has been accused of using accounting tactics to keep acquisitions off the radar of competition authorities. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Facebook has launched a programme to help its fact-checking partners collaborate and improve their processes. [Social Media Today]
  • WhatsApp’s controversial terms of service appear to be becoming optional. Text spotted in the app’s beta points to them only being necessary if you want to use business messaging features. [WABetaInfo]
  • Facebook has joined the ID2020 Alliance, an organisation looking to shape the future of digital identity. [ID2020 on LinkedIn]
Twitter:
Trump's tweets blocked for election misinformation still spread to other sites
TikTok:
TikTok expands Shopify partnership, pilots TikTok Shopping in US, UK and Canada
  • Cryptocurrency influencers are not happy with new TikTok rules that have them considering other platforms. [CNBC]
  • TikTok has been described as a “hatescape” for racism and white supremacy, in a new report. [USA Today]
  • The Washington Post is expanding its TikTok team, and plans to start doing live video on the platform. [Insider $$$]
  • TikTok is partnering with Channel 4 to showcase the Paralympic Games to UK audiences. [Campaign]
  • Taylor Swift has launched an official presence on TikTok. [CNet]
And the rest…
OnlyFans says never mind, it actually won’t ban explicit content on October 1st
  • YouTube’s Partner Program has hit the 2 million member mark. [The Verge]
  • YouTube is forcing a Discord bot that let users play music from the video platform to close down. [The Verge]
  • YouTube says it has removed 1 million videos due to Covid-19 misinformation. [CNet]
  • Discord is reportedly valued at $15bn in a new funding round it’s currently raising. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • VidCon has cancelled its 2021 event as Covid-19 cases increase in the US. It now plans to hold its next event in June 2022. [The Verge]
  • The UK’s new Children’s Code to protect kids on social media comes into force on Thursday next week. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Substack has acqui-hired the team behind private sharing social app Cocoon. [TechCrunch]
❓ Question of the week
Speedy image editing on-the-fly is a core part of a social media manager’s daily life.
Check out this thread to discover the top tools and apps recommended by fellow social media geeks…
Matt Navarra
Best iPhone app for quick basic image editing on-the-go?

e.g. taking a screenshot and placing it on a background and resizing / move bits etc
🤔 Thought for the week
😮 Did you know?
  • Geekout has 13,000+ subscribers.
  • Geekout subscribers work in social for the world’s biggest brands including Apple, Amazon, BBC, Edelman, Redbull, Twitter, McDonalds, and more.
  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 51% and a CTR of 30%.
Want to advertise in Geekout?
Get in touch: matt@mattnavarra.com
🌟 New feature of the week
Okay, it’s not quite here yet, but… this is the best look we’ve seen so far of what Twitter has planned for native recording and playback of Spaces. It can’t come soon enough!
🐣 Tweet of the week
Sometimes serious health messages can be REALLY silly.
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • What are Instagram’s emerging trends? This new magazine explains. [Social Media Today]
  • Planning a Christmas marketing campaign? Facebook has launched a guide to help you. [Social Media Today]
  • New to Twitter Ads? The company has launched an agency checklist to assist. [Social Media Today]
  • How can a combination of paid and organic outreach help you on LinkedIn? The company has published a guide. [Social Media Today]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has launched a Paralympic Games hub and other features to support the event. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has been spotted offering a ‘Follow Back’ button for people who have recently followed you. [@jonah_manzano]
  • Facebook is showing a new profile switcher UI on its iOS beta. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook’s Novi digital wallet could potentially support holding NFTs. [AdAge]
  • Facebook is testing ‘For You’ and ‘Explore’ tabbed feeds in Facebook News. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has published in-app notices in the US to make users aware the FDA has now fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19. [@fbnewsroom]
  • Facebook is rolling out new emojis. [Emojipedia]
  • Instagram has officially launched ads in the Shop tab worldwide, following a recent test. [TechCrunch]
Ads in the Instagram Shop tab. Credit: Instagram
Ads in the Instagram Shop tab. Credit: Instagram
  • Instagram is working on revamped search with TikTok-style photo and video suggestions. [The Verge]
  • Instagram could soon let you ‘like’ stories. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on a feature that would let you set a status for 24 hours. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram’s subscriptions monetisation feature for creators is taking shape. The onboarding screen has been uncovered. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram might rename ‘Rooms’ to ‘Calls’. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has launched a small business mentorship program in the UK. [The Drum $$$]
  • WhatsApp has launched a public beta on macOS. [9to5Mac]
  • WhatsApp is testing a dedicated Pay button on iOS. [9to5Mac]
  • WhatsApp now lets people in India book their Covid-19 vaccination via the app. [@wcathcart]
  • WhatsApp’s beta has changed the sounds heard when recording voice messages. [@WABetaInfo]
  • Oculus Quest can now automatically sync VR photos and video clips to your phone. [The Verge]
  • The Oculus Quest 2’s 128GB model is now available to buy. [Road to VR]
  • More details have emerged of what Twitter’s recorded Spaces feature will look like. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter has launched Ticketed Spaces with a limited rollout on iOS. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter seems to be working on a ‘replay’ feature for Spaces along with other new features spotted in code. [@nima_owji]
  • Twitter is testing a ‘tweet your reply’ button in embedded tweets. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter could soon let you schedule replies. [@oncescuradu]
  • Twitter is testing telling your followers when you’re listening to a Space. This can be turned off in your privacy settings. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter Spaces has a new ‘quick feedback’ pop-up when you leave a Space. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter is working on a profile category label for Business and Creator accounts. [@wongmjane]
  • TikTok’s Effect Studio is the company’s attempt to build an AR effect platform like Facebook’s and Snap’s. [TechCrunch]
  • TikTok’s radio station has launched on SiriusXM in the US. [Adweek $$$]
  • TikTok is running a ‘Live Influencer’ incentives programme in the UK until 28 August. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok's 'Live Influencer' program.
TikTok's 'Live Influencer' program.
  • TikTok has rolled hashtag and mention stickers out more widely. [TestingCatalog]
  • TikTok has published a guide to help parents protect youngsters who use the app. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has launched cybersecurity career training resources. [Adweek $$$]
  • TikTok is running a programme aimed at Latinx creatives, until September 8th. [@tiktokcreators]
  • YouTube will make 2-step verification mandatory later this year. [9to5Google]
  • YouTube now lets Premium subscribers test picture-in-picture on iOS. The feature will eventually be rolled out to all users [TechCrunch]
  • YouTube’s line art icons are now showing in the platform’s TV app. [Android Police]
  • Giphy has launched a ‘creators club’ that will pay artists to create original GIFs. [TubeFilter]
  • Telegram’s latest beta has an “endless” channel feed and video live stream support for channel voice chats. [TestingCatalog]
  • GoDaddy has launched a social media scheduling tool aimed at its core SMB audience. [TechRadar]
📖 Weekend reading
Social Media Algorithms Are Controlling How I Grieve
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
…. And that’s everything you need to know this week!
You just boosted your social media IQ by +7 points
Right… my 11 year old daughter wants to film me doing a new TikTok challenge. Something about a milk crate. 🤔
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
__________________
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
Did you enjoy this issue?
Also on our network
Tech Revolution makes sense of the tech and media stories that deserve your attention most if you want to understand the future. All delivered in a fun, easily digestible, but by no means lightweight, package
Subscribe with one click