The Biggest Changes To Social Media In 2016 Have Made For An Interesting Year
It's been a weird year, to say the least, and not just because there were some huge changes to social media in 2016. The entire world had a brief, intense fling with "Pokemon Go." A possible 13th zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, threw the astrological community into chaos for a few weeks before fading back into the realm of fun facts to bring out at parties. Planned Parenthood received thousands of donations in the name of vice president-elect Mike Pence — and these are just things that have happened since July.
That being said, social media is a huge part of modern society, and there have been some major changes since January. Snapchat finally passed Twitter in daily usage, and Facebook reevaluated its trending topics function. (It also kept trying to make Facebook Live happen, with surprising success.) Oh, and remember the days before Instagram Stories? Me neither.
Needless to say, it's been a big year for social media. So with 2016 rapidly drawing to a close, let's take a look at some of the biggest changes (in no particular order) in the world of social media to happen this year. Who knows? Maybe you'll even come across something you missed.
Snapchat Released Chat 2.0
It might seem like an integral part of the app now, but Snapchat Chat 2.0 was a game-changer when it was released in March. The update came with the ability to send stickers, video chat, and multiple photos at a time over chat; it also allowed users to mark up photos from their camera roll before sending them off. As you'll see later, though, that's far from the only way Snapchat has switched things up this year.
Instagram Added Stories
It's only been a few months since Instagram announced the addition of Snapchat-like Stories, which allow users to create a slideshow of their day that disappears after 24 hours, but it's hard to remember what the app was like beforehand.
Snap Inc. Created Spectacles
This fall, Snap Inc. announced that it would be selling Spectacles, aka sunglasses that function as GoPros for your face. (Basically, it's Google Glass' cool younger cousin.) It took a few months, but they made it to the market in November.
On that note, Snapchat's company name changing to Snap Inc. was a biggie, too. It suggests that there are plans in the works beyond just the Snapchat app, of which Spectacles will likely only be the first.
Instagram Went Non-Chronological
In June, Instagram dismayed many users by switching to an algorithm-based feed rather than the traditional chronological one. Six months later, the furor has died down, and the days of worrying about the best time of day to post are long gone.
Facebook Automated Trending Topics
This year, Facebook was criticized for allowing people to curate and edit its "trending news" feature, which could lead to possible bias in the selection of news. In late August, the company removed its trending news team and announced it was moving to an automated algorithm instead. This, too, has had its bumps in the road, largely in the realm of the fake news epidemic.
Twitter Relaxed Its Character Limit
Although Twitter is known for the 140-character limit that makes it unique, the platform announced in September that it was finally relaxing the limit. Photos, videos, GIFs, and so on no longer count toward the character limit. The catch? It still applies to text and links.
Snapchat Allowed Group Messaging
Just this week, Snapchat released an update allowing users to message groups of up to 16 people instead of individuals, and it was kind of a big deal. There are only a few weeks left in the year, but given the ever-changing nature of social media, I wouldn't count out the possibility of some other big changes before 2016 is finally over.
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