This year, Instagram introduced Stories like Snapchat, Twitter added native live streaming like Facebook, and now Facebook has added a native camera and creative features to Messenger, (just like Snapchat)!

2016 has been the year of the platform blend, and it looks like they intend to continue these updates through the new year. What will be next? Time will tell.

More details on why this matters, and what else is happening in social media below.

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Facebook Messenger Introduces a Native Camera and “Superpowers”

Facebook has introduced a native camera and “superpowers” that include 3-D masks, style transfers, frames, stickers, canvas’, and other artistic features.
Why does this matter?
All of the features that have been introduced to Facebook Messenger are similar to those in the Snapchat app. The 3-D masks mirror the facial recognition filters, the frames mirror the geofilters, and the other artistic features mirror the stickers and other creative tools in the app. As Facebook continues to mimic Snapchat, only time will tell if they will begin to win over the younger demographics.

Facebook Introduces Group Video Chat in Messenger

Facebook has introduced group video chat in Messenger. This will allow Messenger users to call groups of people to video chat at one time.
Why does this matter?
Group video chat has been a long time requested feature. This will allow groups of people to communicate in a “Skype” or “Google Hangouts” type setting directly within Facebook.

Instagram Adds More Creative Tools to Stories

Instagram has added more creative tools to Stories including, contextual stickers (ex. location), fun stickers (ex. holiday), and the ability to record video hands-free.
Why does this matter?
The contextual and fun stickers are similar to what Snapchat and Facebook currently offer in their apps. These fun features allow for the personalization of content. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity! The greatest differentiator of these updates is the ability to record videos hands-free. With one tap Instagram users will be able to record video, opposed to holding down the record button. Snapchat and Facebook do not offer this feature, putting Instagram at an advantage.

Facebook Debuts Live Audio

Facebook has introduced Live Audio. Live Audio will allow publishers to broadcast audio-only content live.
Why does this matter?
This will allow for a new kind of content that wasn’t natively available in Facebook before. In Facebook’s blog post, they suggest that users can now do interviews or book readings. This may open up a new avenue for podcast or radio style content.

Vine to be Replaced by “Vine Camera”

In October, Twitter announced they would be doing away with Vine, their micro video content app. It was then announced that Vine would be replaced by the Vine Camera app. This app will be a basic version of the original Vine app. It will allow users to make 6.5 second videos, and share them to Twitter or save them to their camera roll.
Why does this matter?
This new pared-down version of the Vine app will allow similar basic functions for creators, while saving Twitter time and resources.

Facebook Adds Background Colors for Status Updates

Facebook has added the ability to add background colors to text only status updates. This is currently available on Android, and will be rolling out to iOS and web.
Why does this matter?
This new feature makes your newsfeed colorful and more dynamic. Opposed to plain black text on a white background, Facebook users can be more creative and draw more attention to their status’. The status updates look similar to the text features in Instagram Stories.

Twitter Tests Push Notifications for Breaking News

Twitter confirmed that they have began testing push notifications for breaking news stories.
Why does this matter?
In recent statements, Twitter has alluded to moving away from being a social network and transitioning into a news source. This update would be in alignment with those statements. It will be interesting to watch how Twitter continues to evolve.

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