‘The Academic’ Schools Bands on How To Use Facebook Live

The Academic, an indie rock band from Ireland, has created a first-of-its-kind video using Facebook Live and it is epic!

It’s common knowledge that Facebook Live videos tend to lag when streaming. Well, The Academic decided to use this to their advantage to create something truly unique. Check it out…

The simplicity of the idea is what I really appreciate about it. The song comes together layer-by-layer as each band member carefully times their sections of the song, creating a loop that eventually builds-up to a complete song. While the concept may sound simple, it’s certainly not easy to execute.

It reminds me of Here It Goes Again by OK Go (remember, the treadmill music video shot in one take). That video launched the band into the spotlight in 2009 and has arguably been the most significant factor in their claim to fame. The novelty of the video lent itself to sharability, which resulted in new audiences discovering the band. OK Go have since continued the trend of creating elaborate music videos all in a single take, which has been a fruitful tactic in staying relevant and getting views.

This Facebook Live performance, however, is not the official music video for the catchy song but rather additional marketing to promote the single. The video was viewed on YouTube over 700K times in just 24-hours, and an additional 84K times on Facebook. The video has become their most viewed video to date despite already having a significant fanbase. In this age where it’s so difficult to get noticed in a noisy world, I’ve got to say that I’m impressed with what The Academic has achieved.

Bear Claws‘ is available on all of the major music streaming services so be sure to download the single. And don’t forget to share the visual loop music video as well as support the band by following them on social media.

The Academic

@TheAcademic

The Academic

Katy Perry Versus Taylor Swift: Who’s Winning?

Find Wi-Fi Hotspots With Facebook’s Latest Feature

Facebook has recently launched its latest feature that allows you to find venues that provide public and free Wi-Fi. Introducing ‘Find Wi-Fi‘. 

How Does It Work?

If a business has shared that they provide Wi-Fi on their Facebook Page, the business will be added to the Find Wi-Fi map, where users can find out more about the business and navigate to the venue.

Find WiFi Menu
‘Find Wi-Fi’ can be accessed on your iPhone or Android device under the Menu tab on the Facebook app

Who Can Use ‘Find Wi-Fi’?

The feature was tested in some countries in 2016, but as of 30 June 2017, Find Wi-Fi is now available globally. The feature is available to all iPhone and Android users.

How Do You Find Wi-Fi Hotspots?

On the Facebook app, click the ‘More’ icon and scroll down to ‘Find Wi-Fi’. If the option isn’t there, select ‘See More…’ and the option should appear. Once in the ‘Find Wi-Fi’ tab, enable the service and you will now be able to explore available hotspots on a map and learn more about businesses hosting them.

Who Benefits from the Feature?

Find Wi-Fi is a wonderful feature that is helpful to practically all Facebook users:

  • Particularly in South Africa where costly mobile data is a constant struggle, being able to find free Wi-Fi would significantly help people who have limited access to the internet. Students and entrepreneurs and students, in particular, could really benefit from this feature.
  • Businesses can enhance the chance of discoverability by firstly providing (preferably free) Wi-Fi, and making sure to add this detail to their Facebook Page. This can be a persuasive offering when considering a business meeting spot or study group location.

Facebook is an absolute innovation machine that is constantly releasing features to improve the user experience. With features like this, it’s no wonder Facebook is the largest social media platform with 2 billion monthly active users.

Additional Reading

Facebook Copies Snapchat Again

Facebook has just launched their latest feature, which allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This is the fourth time the giant has mimicked Snapchat after introducing the feature on other Facebook-owned entities – Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Here’s what you need to know about Facebook Stories:

  • The feature is only available on iOS and Android mobile devices and is essentially a second Newsfeed.Facebook Stories Screen
  • It is accessible as soon as you login to the app and can be found at the top of your screen, much like on Instagram.
  • Navigation is easy and works just as Instagram Stories, allowing users to skip stories or move forward and backwards in a story.
  • To add your own story, you can click on the plus icon or simply swipe across to access the camera.
  • The camera comes with a number of filters, including filters that use facial recognition – arguably Snapchat’s key differentiator.
  • The pen feature is also a nice touch, allowing users to choose the colour, width and texture of the pen.
  • Photos and videos can be shared publically or directly to one, or a few, of your friends.
  • Direct messages allow the recipient to view the file one more time within 24 hours after opening the photo or video.
  • Comments on Stories are kept separate from Messenger
  • At this moment, you are able to see who has viewed your story but not if they have taken a screenshot.
  • Your content can be downloaded and stored on your phone as with the other platforms.

The topic of Snapchat being on borrowed time has been a popular opinion for some time now. Is this the last nail in the coffin?

It is already available to all users, but for more information on Facebook Stories, you can visit their website here.

Additional Reading and References

SA Government Considers Regulating Social Media

In a press briefing on 5 March 2017, State Security Minister David Mahlobo indicated that the South African government is considering the regulation of internet usage in the country, with a particular interest in social media activity.

“We are contemplating to regulate the space. Even the best democracies that are revered, they regulate the space” – Mahlobo

According to Mahlobo, the primary reason for the drive is to restrict the amount of fake news shared via social media channels. He highlighted misrepresentation of oneself and other people on social media, and photoshopped images being main areas of concern in perpetuating fake news. While Mahlobo acknowledged that the campaign would be met with resistance, he claimed that even the best democracies regulate internet usage. However, as a reporter for The Citizen pointed out, “It’s unclear which “democracies” do this, since the foremost country that controls the use of the internet, China, is not a democracy in any sense of the word.”

This is not the first time the possibility of internet monitoring has been discussed. In October 2016, the South African government approved the submission of the Films and Publications (FPB) Amendment Bill, which restricts South Africans from uploading videos to online channels, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, unless they have registered as a distributor and have paid a registration fee. The bill was aimed at curtailing child pornography and revenge porn. There have been no notable developments on the bill since then.

Read more: Internet Censorship Restricts Video Uploads in SA (2016)

#HandsOffSocialMedia

 

#HandsOffSocialMedia trending topic
Twitter mentions of #HandsOffSocialMedia on 6 March.

Numerous South Africans have taken to social media to voice their outrage at the recent news, resulting in #HandsOffSocialMedia being a trending topic for several hours on 6 March 2017. The majority of mentions were in the form of retweets from news sources reporting on the update, while others provided their commentary on the subject. Negativity towards the African National Congress (ANC) was the most popular theme in this conversation.

Unfortunately, fake news exists and the implications cannot be ignored, but is government involvement necessary when the likes of Google and Facebook are working towards filtering questionable news? I say no. Internet censorship is unconstitutional and as consumers of information, the onus is on us to ensure that the ‘news’ we believe and share is real. Hopefully, nothing comes of this, but it’s scary to think the conversation is even being had. What are your thoughts?

References and Additional Reading

 

Facebook’s 5 New Copycat Features

Certain features and capabilities on the various social channels are bound to be similar. Although some overlap here and there in terms of what these platforms provide is to be expected, there are differentiators that give them a competitive edge. While there will always be competition, recently Facebook has aggressively been taking inspiration from other social media platforms to add to its own offerings.

Here is a brief look at how Facebook has been evolving over the past few weeks.

1 – Job Postings

News that Facebook was experimenting with a job posting feature came to light in early November, which poses a direct threat to the likes of LinkedIn, Jobscore and Workable. The feature allows page admins of business pages to drive traffic to their Facebook Page via the News Feed in the hope of recruiting new staff members. These positions will also be available via a Jobs tab on the business’ Facebook page. Users will then be able to apply via Facebook without having to type out all the specifics, as Facebook already has most of this information.

2 – Instagram Stories

Facebook-owned Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, which is basically the main point of Snapchat. Igers can now post photos and videos that expire after 24 hours. Users can apply filters, add text and draw over their content, much the same like Snapchat offers. Disappearing messages to other users is also now a feature. In addition, Instagram gives you the ability to tag people in your stories, which is not offered on Snapchat. Stories does not (yet) allow users to add filters that recognise facial features, however, Facebook has used facial recognition for years, particularly when posting photos, so it’s only a matter of time.

3 – Live Video Filters

There was much excitement about being able to use artistic filters in Facebook’s Live streaming thanks to third-party company, Prisma. This was short-lived as Facebook quickly blocked the app from being able to access its Live API as it did not comply with Facebook’s terms and conditions. The main reason was that the API is only for publishing live video from non-mobile devices such as professional cameras and drones. It has been argued that this is purely a bully tactic as Facebook is working on a style transfer filter feature of its own.

4 – Facebook ‘Collections’

Social media has become a popular source of information and news. The topic of fake news has been a hot topic lately as users consume news from media sources that seem to be legitimate, only to discover that the content is false. The repercussions of this on society and perceptions is a concern for many, including Facebook. The social brand has joined a network of more than 30 international media companies and organisations to filter out fake news and improve the quality of information being shared. Much like Snapchat’s Discover feature, ‘Collections‘ will be curated information from select media partners, inserted directly into users’ News Feeds.

5 – Instant Games

Facebook has just launched Instant Games, which enables users to play games against their friends via Facebook Messenger, however, WeChat has been offering this feature for years. The games will be available for Android and iOS users and will first roll out to 30 countries. The main reason for this feature is to encourage users to discover, share and play games without having to install new apps.

Despite having 1.79 billion active monthly users, Facebook is clearly doing all it can to be ubiquitous. Will any other social platform ever be as agile as the social network giant, or do any of them even stand a chance? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

References & Additional Reading

Facebook Launches Workplace for Enterprise Customers

Hot Topic of the Week

The world’s most popular social network has just rolled out a new offering called Workplace, that allows companies to communicate, connect and collaborate. This platform is an office-communication tool intended to encourage group discussion amongst individuals in an organisation of any size, as well as secure communication between companies.

Facebook Workplace Logo Fantomdan

The tool has been used by over 1,000 companies for the past two years as a part of testing, however, the product was officially made public on 10 October 2016. The enterprise service is modelled after Facebook’s internal corporate network and is available on desktop and mobile. Workplace allows for cultural transformation with a focus on communication and collaboration.

“We’re going to grow Workplace like Instagram and Messenger” – Julien Codorniou, Director of Workplace

Although not the first of it’s kind, Workplace has the competitive advantage of users already being accustomed to the interface, whereas other business messaging software often requires additional training to use the platform. Familiar features such as News Feed, reactions, video and audio calling, direct messaging, live video, events, groups and translation options are included, while all advertising has been excluded (for now).

Facebook Workspace Get Started
Companies can apply to use the platform via the Workplace website. After completing the online form, a sales representative will be in contact with you via telephone.

Unlike the free Facebook we all know, there is a monthly fee required for active Workplace users. While this is unusual for Facebook, pricing is competitive compared to other enterprise software on the market. A free three-month trial is available to try out the product, thereafter a $1, $2 or $3 cost will be incurred depending on how many employees are using the tool. Non-profit organisations and educational institutions may use Workplace for free.

How Is It Different From Facebook?

Rather than having friends as your audience, you create and join groups with your co-workers to be a part of relevant conversations. Workplace is a separate account associated with your company. Posts shared on your personal Facebook profile and Workplace account are kept completely separate, which means that you don’t even have to have a Facebook account to use the company tool. Employers are not able to monitor your personal Facebook profile, however, publicly posted content is viewable by anyone, including Workplace users.

With over 1 billion users, Facebook has undoubtedly changed the way we communicate. Constant innovation has made this social network the preferred platform for many individuals and has also become a powerful marketing tool. Although Workplace shows promise, there are numerous other cloud-based tools available. Time will tell if this is a worthwhile addition from Facebook Inc., or a failed attempt after a lengthy delay in the roll-out while competitors dominate this space.

What are your thoughts? Do you think a tool like Workplace is necessary? Are other offerings just as good, if not better? Do you believe Workplace will replace platforms such as WhatsApp Groups or Skype in a work setting?

For more information on the new Workplace, click here.

 Speaking of Facebook, be sure to like my Facebook page so that you don’t miss out on the latest social media news in an uncomplicated, accessible way.

References