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We’ve said it before and now we’re going to say it again: the Internet loves a good multiple choice. The ongoing success and popularity of polls and online quizzes has made that clear, and at this point, if you haven’t used them in your marketing, you’re running out of excuses. Twitter’s now made it even easier, with the introduction of polls to its site and app. Read on...
Facebook
There were a number of Facebook headlines last week with several small but important updates popping up. Here’s what you need to know:

Livestreaming
In hopes of competing with livestream leaders, Periscope and Meerkat, FB is upping its livestreaming game with an increase in notifications of its livestreams. 

If you’ve forgotten that FB even had a livestream feature, you’re not alone. So here’s a quick refresher on the feature to help you out: Livestreams can only be posted to FB through, Live, the livestreaming portion of FB’s VIP-only app, Mentions (VIP now includes all verified accounts).

Viewership of FB livestreams was down, likely due to the lack of notifications associated with the feature. This begs the question: if a livestream happens, but no one’s notified, does it make sound? 

Users will now be able to subscribe to livestreams from the FB pages of verified accounts that use the Live app. For example: 


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FB’s wariness of incorporating notifications likely stemmed from complaints of over-notification from users of rival livestream app, Periscope. (Periscope has since added a “mute” button that cuts down on the noise.) Will push notifications push users to pay attention to FB livestream or push them over the edge? We’ll keep you posted.

Learn more: TechCrunch

Event Planning
FB’s taking Events out of the sidebar and into the News Feed spotlight, and marketers should pay attention. Events will soon be targeted just like any other posts with “Related Event” suggestions made (like articles) and preference shown to publicly posted events in the News Feed. On the targeting side of things, events presents a new metric to take into consideration when looking for ways to reach your most relevant audiences.

Learn more: Wired

Vanishing Messages

In another Snapchat-like move, FB is testing out vanishing messages (only in France so far). The feature apparently involves an hourglass icon, located next to the text box. When selected messages sent will disappear after an hour.

The move is a reminder of the strength of Snapchat as a guide for the next big things in social media. So, we guess the question is: What Would Snapchat Do? (WWSD)

Learn more: Mashable
Twitter
After some rough initial reactions, Twitter’s star-bursting heart had a meteoric rise during its first week in action, seeing a 6% increase in the button's activity. 


An increase of this size in one week is no joke, showing the data is there to back an increase in engagement.

Among new users, the increase was even greater, coming in at 9%.

This is particularly heartening news for Twitter, as it has been struggling to find ways to attract new users (i.e. Moments).

A week may be too soon to tell, but we'll be keeping our eyes out for any other effect this could have on Twitter's engagement rates. 

Learn more: The Verge
Snapchat
Last week was full of ups and downs for Snapchat. We’ll start with the up: Just a week after Facebook announced 8 billion daily views on its videos, Snapchat announced that it isn't far behind with 6 billion daily video views of its own.

To give that some context, Snapchat's video was only at 4 billion views in September. If its growth continues at the same rate, it won’t be long until it surpasses Facebook. The fact that Snapchat is only used via a mobile app should not be ignored as it emphasizes the evolution of technology from desktop to mobile.

This incredible growth made the bad news that much more surprising:  Fidelity downgraded its investment in Snapchat by 25%. While people are clearly using the app, others are left wondering what exactly the future of Snapchat, and several other companies devalued by Fidelity last week, might be. 

Learn more: TechCrunch
 
Google

It’s difficult to find much of anything that Google hasn’t touched in some way, updates are a constant, but this week brought a couple of noteworthy updates for marketers to be aware of:

Artificial Intelligence
Last week, Google open sourced TensorFlow, its artificial intelligence engine, making it available for free public use. Sounds great, right? Now, what does it mean?

TensorFlow can be used in a variety of functions from speech recognition to searching through photos. Think Facebook’s facial recognition but with even wider applications. This system isn't quite so advanced yet, but will continue to develop—even more so now that it's available for wider use. 

For marketers, this is a reminder of the ever-expanding reach of search. Search is quickly moving beyond keywords and metadata to every aspect of content. What will updates like this mean for SEO down the road? The specifics remain to be seen.

Learn more: Wired

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Hangouts
Also last week, Google introduced what they are calling a "new experience" for Hangouts that includes a streamlined interface and sharper video. This is the first major update the feature has seen since it cut ties with Google+ earlier this year.
If you use Hangouts for communicating with customers or broadcasting meetings, this update won’t derail your current system. Instead, it will offer a simpler way to invite others to your calls and smaller call buttons, making the screen less bulky and Hangouts more user-friendly. 

If you aren't a fan of the new look, don't worry. Google explains how you can easily revert back to the original version.

Learn more: TNW
 
Our weekly picks to inspire your social programs.
GIF 
What better way to showcase a new visual search tool than with a GIF? Pinterest did just that to show users how to take advantage of its new visual search, which allows users to select individual parts of photos and search for them elsewhere on Pinterest. This GIF does all of the talking, acting as an easy to understand explanation of the feature. We love this new search capability for visuals and the added proof of the usefulness of GIFs!

See more: Pinterest
Video
The future is here, and it is a cardboard box. Not so high-tech you say? Think again. With help from Google’s Cardboard (a cardboard headset, pictured above, that users place phone in to experience a virtual reality
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Vine

How do you bridge the gap between print and social media? For The New York Times Magazine the answer is easy—Vine! By animating the color wheel that covers "The Future Issue," it goes from an image to interactive.
 

See more: Tumblr
view), YouTube is entering the world of virtual reality. Any YouTube video that is recorded in virtual reality and viewed from within the YouTube app using Cardboard can now be seen in a way that makes "Near things look near, far things look far," according to a post from YouTube. While VR recording capabilities are still slightly out of reach for the average user, who knows what the future of smart phone updates holds. Before you know it users everywhere might all be able to record and upload VR video directly from their phones. 

See more: YouTube
Instagram

MasterCard took to Instagram this past #TBT to engage its followers, asking them to tag a friend they’d lost touch with in the comment section and include a #priceless memory. The responses? Adorable. We love the creatively and strategically placed call to action. It's a friendly reminder that even when a picture is worth a thousand words, engagement is worth so much more.

See more: Instagram