social media

Instagram stops being a square, supports landscape & vertical photos

Instagram stops being a square, supports landscape & vertical photos

Instagram has finally gotten with the times and dropped its requirement that photos be in a square format. The social network has updated both its iOS and Android apps and now allows users to post photos in landscape and vertical orientations, in addition to the classic square. The same size change is applied to videos too. This will likely be a welcome change to Instagram users, who for years already have been taking photos and video on devices with rectangular screens.

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Twitter removes backgrounds from timeline, moves to tweets

Twitter removes backgrounds from timeline, moves to tweets

Did your Twitter timeline's custom wallpaper just disappear on you? No need to panic, there's nothing really wrong There is no widespread Twitter bug. Actually, yes do panic because since it's not a bug, it means there's nothing to be fixed. In a still unexplained move, Twitter removed custom background images and design from your profile and home timeline page. Fear not, it hasn't completely disappeared into nothingness. You can still see them, but only if you're viewing individual tweets and nowhere else in the Twitterverse.

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Instagram now storing higher resolution photos

Instagram now storing higher resolution photos

Good news for Instagram fans, or just users who are tired of the social network's small resolution for displaying photos: the service is now storing images at a size of 1080 x 1080 pixels, a big increase over the previous 640 x 640 resolution. Unfortunately, both the mobiles apps and Instagram's website are still displaying photos at the smaller size by default, but it was discovered that the larger sizes can still be found by playing around with the web view's source code.

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White House (mostly) ends its ban on social media and photos

White House (mostly) ends its ban on social media and photos

After 40 years of banning photography -- and later on social media -- during White House public tours, the Obama administration has decided to lift the limitation. Michelle Obama announced the change today on the White House's Instagram page, showing the White House's photography ban sign and saying those rules no longer apply. She ripped the sign in half, and thus ends an era, at least for the most part. There are still some limitations on what you can use to snap your pictures.

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New Twitter feature collects tweets based on products and places

New Twitter feature collects tweets based on products and places

Twitter has just announced a new feature for its web and mobile apps that will collect tweets and media about products and places onto dedicated pages. The feature is currently being tested on a limited number of such topics, but new updates to the Twitter apps for iOS and Android make it possible to come across dedicated pages in the timeline, as well view collections put together by select high-profile users.

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Snapchat adds sponsored Geofilters, starting with McDonald’s

Snapchat adds sponsored Geofilters, starting with McDonald’s

Snapchat is experimenting with ways of turning ephemeral pic-sharing into a revenue stream. Instead of making the end-consumer pay, the app is turning to big brands to create sponsored geofilters (stickers and filters particular to certain locations) for the app. The precarious task of adding advertising can come at the cost of alienating users. Let's face it, people hate ads--unless they are interactive, feel like a game, or are worthy of sharing. Sponsored geofilters will let users do the advertising, all under the guise of sharing memories. The first company to step up to the plate is McDonald's.

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Facebook tests ‘Saved Replies’ letting Pages streamline customer service

Facebook tests ‘Saved Replies’ letting Pages streamline customer service

Facebook is making it easier for businesses to reply to customer inquiries en masse. Business pages in some select areas are getting the ability to test out "Saved Replies," a new feature which Facebook hopes will not only draw more businesses to the platform, but increase the activity of businesses that are inattentive to their pages. With Saved Replies, companies can create multiple static responses to use in specific customer situations, like a taking orders, confirming reservations, or thanking someone for their patronage.

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Facebook Messenger payments expand test market, bring improvements

Facebook Messenger payments expand test market, bring improvements

Facebook Messenger's mobile payment system is going to undergo an update, which aims to increase user-friendliness, removing any obstacles that are preventing users from opting for Messenger for their peer-to-peer payment needs. The service was first introduced to Messenger users in March, in select U.S. cities such as Portland, Seattle, and Austin. The update adds New York City to the roster. The app just announced its incoming changes on Wednesday.

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Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope released for Android

Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope released for Android

Periscope, the live-streaming app/service that was acquired by Twitter earlier this year, has finally debuted on Android with a new app on the Google Play Store. Today's release comes roughly two months after the iOS version, which has become very popular since then among Twitter users, celebrities, and as tool for citizen journalism. At its core, the Android app functions the same as it does in iOS, letting you both watch and record live broadcasts on your phone, but there a couple features exclusive to this new release.

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Pinterest launches new video ads, dubbed ‘Cinematic Pins’

Pinterest launches new video ads, dubbed ‘Cinematic Pins’

Pinterest is the go-to destination for wedding-planning brides and backyard barbeques, alike. Now as users scroll through pins during their lunch break, they may notice some new types of pins popping up that are seamlessly interconnected with the crowdsourced content. Pinterest is making itself more attractive to advertisers with new, targeted pins and video-like ads, dubbed "Cinematic Pins." The company has also remodeled the way it charges for ads, making them more efficient and "taking the risk out of how you spend" on advertising.

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Facebook delves into online garage sales with improved search

Facebook delves into online garage sales with improved search

If you're looking for used furniture or electronics online, after checking Craigslist and eBay, you might want to take a look at Facebook for that second-hand gaming console. Facebook is reportedly testing a new search feature that will make it easier to browse through Facebook sales. The social network's lack of listing fees is already making it an attractive destination for sellers. The real question is if improved searches will be enough to sway buyers away from verified sellers on places like eBay and Amazon.

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Why use words? Emojis dominate Instagram

Why use words? Emojis dominate Instagram

If you were to comment on Instagram with actual words and phrases, you'd look out-of-place in a sea of emojis and hashtags. It makes sense that on a platform ruled by images, emoji would be the language of choice. If a picture is worth a thousand words, do emoji carry the same weight in prose? Some would consider the pictorial designs worth a few phrases at best, but a team of Instagram researchers took a look at the way users are writing on Instagram comments and found that the online language is evolving towards emoji.

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