Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Snapchat authorises more shares

Messaging app Snapchat has filed to issue 25 million new shares, raising eyebrows over whether the company is looking for more funding or has acquisition plans in the pipeline. With the shares in question worth as little as $.001 each, the move has been deemed a curious one by financial experts. Usually a low share price hints at an initial public offering (IPO) with shares sold to the general public for the first time. However despite being hugely popular, Snapchat has not as yet begun to monetise, so an IPO is unlikely. To date Snapchat has disclosed $163 million in funding, and last year turned down a $3 billion offer by Facebook in a bid to remain independent.

ChitChat provides users with a new way to send voice messages

Described as one part voicemail, one part Snapchat, and one part walkie-talkie, a new app has been launched which allows users to send voice messages that ‘self-destruct’ after a set period of time. Free to use (data charges aside), ChitChat strips away all but the necessary functionality to allow the messages to be sent without the perceived urgency that usually comes with making a phone call. iOS users can download ChitChat at the iTunes store with an Android version expected to follow soon.

Are more Twitter developments pending?

Twitter financial chief Anthony Noto hinted at some significant new developments when speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference last week. In a bid to boost user growth, the current priorities for the microblogging platform are improved search facilities and changes to the Twitter timeline to ensure the right information is put in front of users at the right time – without the usual noise. In addition, Noto has indicated that private group chats might be round the corner; something that is needed if Twitter wants to compete with increasingly popular messaging apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp. Any changes made are likely to be incremental following a period of testing by the Twitter development team.

Facebook’s auto-playing videos blamed for high data-usage charges

A recent survey by MoneySavingExpert.com has found that Facebook’s auto-playing videos have led to a substantial rise in data charges. With videos consuming a high amount of mobile data, users on limited data plans scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed, may have inadvertently incurred excess costs. With the popularity of the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge resulting in a significant increase in the number of videos being posted, the last month may have hit users particularly hard. If you’re worried about the costs associated with videos being played automatically, you can disable the functionality in your device settings.

In more positive video related news, Facebook has announced that it now delivers one billion video views per day. In response, in a move targeted at advertisers, Facebook is now set to begin showing video view counts on videos posted on pages and add ‘call-to-action’ links that users can click after watching – helping businesses to drive visitors and/or sales.

Is Slingshot now just another Snapchat imitator?

This summer, Facebook launched a new photo-sharing app in a bid to generate more user created content. Designed to breed addictive loop-sharing activity, to unlock a picture sent to you, you’d first have to send a picture to another user. However, despite some initial hype (albeit mainly created by Facebook), the app failed to find a dedicated user base and the need to un-lock images has now been removed. By taking away the apps only unique feature, social media commentators have rightfully been asking whether Slingshot is now nothing more than another Snapchat imitator. Time will tell.

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