Friday Download: The importance of Snapchat, 10 years of the Twitter hashtag and Facebook’s debut in China…

Why is Snapchat important? Have you ever wondered?

Many of our readers might not use Snapchat, but 173 million (mostly young) users snap away every day. Snapchat is important as a platform for reaching younger audiences, but it’s also symbolic of the disruption a new social media platform can bring and how it can challenge leaders. I’m talking about the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp versus Snapchat arms race that continues with the platforms copying each other’s best performing features.

As a simple example – WhatsApp has now also introduced the coloured text status function that is already very popular on both Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat’s recent disappointing financial results and news of top executives selling shares at the first opportunity has led to some people announcing “the social media war is over and Facebook is the winner”. We’re already on the lookout for the next “challenger” platform or technological innovation – such as blockchain – ready to disrupt our lives even further. There is also evidence of users abandoning multiple social media accounts, opting for a single one, or no social media at all.

In the meantime, the FTI Digital team are happy to continue using all these networks and update you on the latest developments.

FACEBOOK SNEAKS INTO CHINA

Mark Zuckerberg is front of the queue of tech companies trying to break the world’s biggest online market. His latest attempts to get around Chinese government blocks and censors involved a stealthy and anonymous release of a photo-sharing and editing app, called Colorful Balloons. According to initial feedback reports, the new app received a lukewarm reception so far and hasn’t created much of a buzz but Zuckerberg might be playing the long game.

Over the years, most of the major social networks and tech companies, including Google, Twitter, WhatsApp and Snapchat, have all been blocked by censors. Others didn’t make it for other reasons – EBay was outmanoeuvred by the local internet giant Alibaba and Groupon failed to stay afloat in the flood of copycats it inspired. The list of websites blocked in China only grows longer but that doesn’t stop the Zuckerbergs of the world trying. The prize after all is 731 million potential users.

#HAPPYBIRTHDAY, THANKS FOR…?

With everyone trying to pre-empt the next fad, social media speculation and future gazing is nothing new. Last week’s Friday Download pondered Snapchat’s future, this week we celebrate 10 years of the Twitter hashtag and consider whether the “People’s News Network”  has made the world a better place – have your say and vote here.

ALSO THIS WEEK

  • Facebook now lets you create and share GIFs using its camera app [Tech Radar]
  • LinkedIn told it cannot stop third-party companies monitoring public profile data [BBC]
  • YouTube tests showing how many people are currently watching the same video [The Verge]
  • Facebook launches new birthday celebration tools including charity giving [Digital Trends]
  • Angry Birds Set to Lay Golden Egg With $2 Billion IPO Value [Bloomberg Technology]
  • National Lottery deletes tweets after social media fail [BBC]

AND FINALLY

In light of the tragic events in the US this week, Twitter users have responded by liking Obama’s tweet – now the most liked in Twitter’s history.

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