HEADLINE NEWS FROM THE SOCIAL SPACE
Mark Zuckerberg Explains Why VR Is So Important To Facebook
At the French tech conference VivaTech, Mark Zuckerberg joined as a virtual guest to talk about Virtual Reality (VR) at Facebook. The Facebook CEO explained that at Facebook’s core, it is all about connecting and VR is quickly becoming a technology that makes connecting online feel like you are right there with other people. Technology delivering a sense of presence was pinned by Zuckerberg as the next big digital shift. Facebook has already jumped headfirst into VR through Oculus Quest, and very soon there will be the availability of Raybans smart glasses which will leverage Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
In the last four years, Facebook has bought a number of VR gaming companies, showing exactly how invested the social media platform is in VR technology. However, Zuckerberg also stated at the conference that VR is growing beyond just gaming into industries such as fitness – with new use cases constantly developing. Facebook also announced it would start testing ads inside its Oculus headset, showing a move into even more immersive ad experiences for consumers.
So what we know is that Facebook is taking VR and AR very seriously and other social platforms such as Snapchat are too. However, Facebook has been acquiring so many VR companies as of late, that it perhaps already has the monopoly on VR software.
Famous Birthdays Launches ‘Pro Service’
Famous Birthdays is a website that allows users to find out information about celebrities and influencers that include their date of birth, birth sign and information of why they are famous. Famous Birthdays has also become a platform to support creator discovery, with the ability to search personalities in various categories and locations. The website has built up a significant amount of creators in its database in various locations and boasts 30 million monthly visitors- mostly comprising of English-speaking and Spanish-speaking users.
Famous Birthdays has recently had a linguistic expansion, which has led to the website now being live in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Japanese. The founder of Famous Birthdays, Evan Britton, states that an ongoing expansion of other languages is an important strategy for the impending growth of the website.
Famous Birthdays is now in the process of testing a new subscription service named, ‘Famous Birthdays Pro’. This offering will seek to attract platforms, talent agencies and brands for a solution for creator discovery beyond the native features currently available through the free website experience. The paid service will include a dashboard that helps detect emerging creators by search volume – making it easier to connect with talent before they become huge.
Facebook x Indie Artists
Facebook has recently launched an Independent Artist Program, which will allow indie artists to get exposure on tracks through the use of songs across Instagram products such as Stories and Reels.
Facebook has partnered with both DistroKid and TuneCore, who are third-party music distributors to add artists’ tracks to Facebook’s existing music library. Artists who are not signed to record labels can apply for the Independent Artist Program through the distributor’s websites. This is a great way for Facebook to get more music on the platform, with music licensing being an ongoing struggle for social platforms.
The benefits for artists when signing up will obviously include exposure of tracks, but also payment when music is used to create content across Facebook and Instagram. In addition, Facebook will be offering insights for artists, helping them to understand how many people are viewing content featuring their music, among other things.
Interestingly, YouTube has signed a similar deal with TuneCore for YouTube Shorts and Snapchat only last month partnered with Distrokid for music distribution on the platform.
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF INFLUENCERS
KSI Launches His Own Boxing Promotion Company
KSI, the popular UK-based creator with over 23 million YouTube subscribers on his main channel, has announced he is starting his own boxing promotion company. KSI has become a creator who has transcended YouTube and found success in multiple industries – including music and boxing.
KSI pioneered the YouTube boxing movement with his initial match with fellow UK creator Joe Weller. Following KSI’s victory over Weller, the YouTuber called out both Logan and Jake Paul as his next opponents. It would be the older brother, Logan, that stepped up to the challenge and what followed was a fury of excitement for the match with dramatic press conferences and interviews, generating hype among both creator’s fanbases. Ultimately, the boxing match ended in a draw and led to a re-match which saw KSI take the belt. Ever since the event, the question on everyone’s mind is “who KSI will fight next?”
KSI’s next move did not come in the form of a confirmation of another fight, but the launch of his own boxing promotion company. The YouTuber and musician will be partnering with sports promoters Kalle & Nisse Sauerland, sports team Wasserman Boxing and multimedia management company Proper Loud, which is owned by Mams Taylor – a British singer, songwriter and producer.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH PLATFORMS?
TikTok Launches ‘Jumps’
TikTok has announced a new feature that has been in testing since February, named Jumps. The feature is a new way in which creators can share great and informative content on TikTok. Jumps are essentially mini-programs and services that creators can link to within videos, any user can then click on these links and explore things such as recipes, quizzes, exercises and more.
A stated by Sean Kim, Head of Product at TikTok US:
“TikTok has become a destination both to be entertained and to learn; through TikTok Jump, we’re creating that ‘last mile’ of our community’s discovery journey and helping to spark action and deeper interaction both on and off the platform. An expanded group of creators will now be able to use Jumps in their videos, and we’ll continue to gradually roll out availability more broadly”.
TikTok Jump partners already include Whisk, Breathwrk, Quizlet, StatMuse and Tabelog – all of which came on board as early beta collaborators. Now Jumps will be looking to partner with the likes of BuzzFeed, Jumprope, IRL and WATCHA. The aim of Jumps is to create new experiences through providers to enhance the TikTok user experience, whilst also offering an opportunity for developers to promote apps.
However, like any new feature, some other platform has done something similar first. Snapchat recently expanded its developer tools to help third-party apps integrate within the Spotlight feature, allowing users to easily link to third parties to enhance experiences through short-form video.
Twitter Announces Launch of Tweet Sharing to Instagram Stories
All iOS users now have the ability to share tweets directly to Instagram Stories, following tests of this feature last year. When you head to Twitter to share a tweet, there will now be an option to share via Instagram Stories. Once clicked, you will be able to add the tweet to a blank camera frame, which can then be edited with backgrounds or your own imagery or video.
The overall aim of tweet sharing through IG Stories is to boost interest in Twitter and streamline how users can share tweets across platforms – something that has long been done through screenshots. Importantly, the sharing of a tweet through IG Stories is not tappable, which fails to help directly drive traffic back to Twitter and the original author’s profile. However, this does mark the first move in a Twitter integration with Instagram since 2012. Both platforms have long been resistant to provide an easy way for cross-platform posting, which could be changing soon!
Facebook Launches Live Audio Rooms
Facebook is officially rolling out live audio rooms to act as a competitor to Clubhouse. The feature has been in testing in Taiwan, and now will be available to select public figures and Facebook Groups in the US.
Audio Rooms on Facebook will appear on top of Facebook News Feeds and users will be able to sign up for reminders for live audio events. The overall user experience of Facebook’s Audio Rooms will also not steer far from what other live social audio apps and features such as Twitter Spaces have already created.
However, there is also a ‘Front Row’ space in Audio Rooms for paying subscribers and those sending ‘Stars’ (Facebook’s tool for creators to monetise streams), which will help speakers to express appreciation to their top supporters. Rooms will have a maximum of 50 speakers and there will not be a limitation on listeners.