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The Danger Of Apple iMessage’s New Features

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The Danger Of Apple iMessage's New Features

The opinions expressed within this story are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Search Engine Journal or its affiliates.

This week at WWDC 2022, Apple announced a ton of new features, enhancements, and hardware making techies across the globe drool in unison.

Its new messaging edit and unsend function, however, may have significant consequences far outside the tech space.

Apple proudly announced it’s releasing three of the most common requests when it comes to iMessage: mark unread, an unsend option, and edit feature. And people are thrilled.

Unfortunately, I have concerns.

Messaging, Autocorrect, Business, And The Dangers Hiding Within

Lockheed Martin likely would have rejoiced at the thought of the edit button. It might have saved them $70m in 1999 when the company misplaced a comma, forcing them to honor an unintentional discount price.

Taylor & Sons had been in business for 124 years when a press release went out notifying the public of insolvency for Taylor & Son. The UK government was ultimately found liable and was ordered to pay an estimated $17.2m, but the damage was already done.

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In 2021, for example, Simon Silwood claimed that autocorrect changed “buffoon” to “baboon” when he was jailed for a Facebook post.

These weren’t via messaging apps, but they could have been.

Facebook and Instagram generated many heated discussions when they originally announced their edit features. Most recently, Twitter announced a long-awaited edit feature of its own to a plethora of cheers and criticisms.

Would it be used for deceptive purposes?

How misleading could editing tweets really be compared to simply deleting and reposting them?

Would edits make it easier for those who have shared the tweets to see the updates?

Will it increase or decrease misinformation on the platform?

Some suggested Twitter could avoid many of these issues by allowing users to see a log of changes and edits, but that comes with its own set of issues. For example, users generally edit a tweet or a message with the intention of not having the original version seen.

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It would also open the door to the “oopsy” defense–send out a hateful or false message, claim it was a mistake, and edit it. While it may seem innocent, the damage may already be done.

Think about certain individuals tweeting about stock and how that affects price, for example. Or change the last two letters in “kiss” to Ls and the meaning behind the message morphs into something very different.

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Personally, I love the idea of finally being able to avoid embarrassing work-related texts when using the word “assess,” but it’s not worth what this feature may cost.

Because in some instances, it may cost lives.

I was once in an unhealthy domestic situation that resulted in a trip through the court system. Text messages became crucial when presenting my case.

And here is the scariest part:

Those text messages were the only real form of proof I had. Without them, it would have just been a lot of he-said-she-said, with a few witnesses on both sides testifying that the other person was lying.

Had I not had months of accurate text messages and emails, I may not have been here today.

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The Dark Side Of Text Messaging

Messages and texts have played a vital role in our daily lives for almost two decades. Sometimes, with serious consequences.

In 2008, for example, Kwame Kilpatrick, then mayor of Detroit, was found guilty of perjury and breaking whistleblower laws. He was ordered to pay $6.5 million in damages.

In 2015, Inflategate became almost instantly infamous when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were found to have deliberately manipulated the air pressure in footballs to give them an advantage in the AFC championship game.

Earlier this year, former police officers who regularly worked with domestic violence victims became subjects of investigations for sexual offenses.

In each of these cases, investigations, charges, and convictions were all triggered by text messages.

Someone Will Always Find A Way To Abuse A System

In 2012, iMessage already had more than 140M users sending over 1B messages daily. In Apple’s own words, “It’s integral to how we communicate to the people who matter most.”

We use it to discuss business deals, coordinate parenting activities, market a product, argue with intimate partners or line up a date, and even contact 9-1-1.

In this context, the thought of unsending drunken messages you accidentally sent to your mom at 2 a.m. sounds fantastic. But what about other situations?

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Through heartbreaking confessions and court transcripts, we know it’s not unheard of for women to be stalked, threatened, and harassed for months via Instagram or text messages.

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For better or for worse, police use them to catch bad guys. Divorce lawyers love text messages, too. They even made an appearance in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard case everyone’s been buzzing about recently.

Edited Message in Apple's iMessenger - WWDC 2022

Apple has thought about this at least to some degree. It’s possible to see that a message has been edited with a small comment on the bottom. However, it’s unclear if you will be able to see how the messages are edited.

The tech giant also placed a time limit on the feature, making comments editable for only 15 minutes. However, that is enough time to send a nefarious or threatening message, have it read by the victim, and edit it to something asinine.

(Reading them once is enough for them to be burned into your memory for a long time. Provided the offending party doesn’t follow through with the threats you can’t prove, of course.)

Some may argue that you simply need to take screencaps as you read the messages, but here’s the thing:

Sometimes, you don’t know how important a message is at the time. And no one plans to be double-crossed by a business partner, abused, or stalked. It may simply be too late by the time you realize the significance of something.

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Even if you see signs that there may be trouble on the horizon, it’s human nature to disregard them and explain them away.

As one expert put it, “…when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.”

The general public needs to be concerned about editing, too, particularly when it comes to social media and mass texts.

In March 2022, for example, Snopes.com found one scammer hijacked an account and edited 10 years of messages and posts to include links and ads for their scams to make the account appear legitimate.

And because these accounts are people you know and trust, it gives the ads and the scammer legitimacy.

Other Dangers In The Palm Of Your Hand

The dangers of technology have gone far beyond just messages.

Experts warned the public about stalkerware long before Google removed seven of these apps from the Google Play Store in 2019.

Online harassment has also skyrocketed, with an estimated 41% of all U.S. adults reported having been victims at least once.

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In 2019, for example, 75-year-old James Taylor shot and killed 70-year-old Catherine Taylor after he found her at her son’s home. Catherine had escaped him after a domestic abuse incident and thought she was safe until Taylor tracked her down using iCloud.

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Apple has attempted to solve this issue with today’s announcement of an emergency kill option that disconnects everything and prevents you from being tracked through your phone. At least by people connected to your accounts.

Why wasn’t this option added immediately with the original feature?

iOS is often chosen because it’s more user-friendly and highly rated by the less tech-savvy crowd. So, how many iPhone or iPad users know it’s there? Do they know how to use it?

For Better Or Worse, Text Messages Changed Human Behavior

Text messages have been an important part of disease prevention, management, and public health campaigns for well over a decade now.

Health providers of all kinds are using text messages to deliver test results, send appointment reminders, check on individuals living with addictions, provide diet or smoking interventions, and more.

Schools are using text messages to help reduce information gaps between teachers, institutions, and parents.

Physically, smartphones have led to an increase in a range of injuries with some studies estimating that as much as 82.38% of the population has experienced discomfort due to prolonged smartphone use.

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You may have also heard of the Google effect. It means we’re now forgetting information that can be easily searched in Google or found on our mobile devices including birthdays, factoids, and even directions. On the other side of the equation, studies find simple texts can make you feel more confident in your performance.

How will all of this change with the ability to unsend and edit messages already sent? Will we trust less? Will we move towards other mediums? I don’t know, but I will certainly be more careful in the future.


Featured Image: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

Are your Instagram posts not bringing desired results?

Then maybe you need to think about reshaping your strategy and create a content plan.

Content plans can help guide how you release content to make sure you’re hitting certain goals and help your content perform better.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a content plan that increases brand reach and conversions on Instagram. You’ll also learn some helpful tips to help boost your content.

1. Define Your Goal

The first thing you want to do is create your Instagram goal or goals.

What do you want to accomplish? Is it to grow your audience, drive more engagement, or generate sales?

Once you figure out your plan, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your content to meet those goals.

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Then, you can set the key performance indicators (KPIs) to mark different points of analysis you want to observe along with your Instagram campaign.

After you select your goal and some KPIs, it’s beneficial to break down your goal into different milestones you would like to reach along the way.

For example, let’s say you want to grow your audience by 20% by the end of the quarter.

What are some milestones along the way you can mark to achieve that goal? What types of content, topics, or content series can you create to increase engagement?

Now, that you’ve done some brainstorming, it’s time to start building your content calendar.

2. Plan Your Content Calendar

A content calendar is important because it’s your roadmap to guide your path, help you meet your goals, and set an end date for a campaign.

This way, you’ll know when you’ve met your goal and can readjust and analyze ways to improve your content strategy for your next campaign.

In addition, a content calendar can help keep ideas and campaigns organized, help you identify any content gaps, and help build consistency (which is critical for Instagram).

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When creating your content plan for the month, quarter, or recent campaign, it’s helpful to plot out which days of the week you want to talk about what.

Next, choose the topic and then form the right caption.

Break content planning into smaller actionable steps makes it easier to make a content calendar.

Then, if you have your goals, topics laid out, and captions, you can move to the next step: Create the necessary pictures or videos.

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Finally, you can compile your topics, days you’re posting, and captions and hashtags into a simple Google, Word, or Excel doc so you can easily copy and paste when you’re ready to schedule out your content.

Bonus Tip: Align Your Content With Marketing Initiatives

If you already have some marketing initiatives, it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your marketing campaign. For example, maybe you have a new product release.

Then, you can create a content series for that. Create a couple of posts teasing the release of the product, include a giveaway, have an influence to promote your product or a video with them using it, and market those benefits.

Events or holidays are another great way to get consumers engaged and turn more consumers into customers.

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If you have an event coming up, you can create a campaign hyping the event and discussing the speakers involved, products that will be there, or awesome grab bags you’re giving away at the event.

Holidays are another fun and positive way to get customers talking about your brand. Holiday giveaways or deals are another way to grow brand awareness and gain followers.

3. Keep A Consistent Theme And Tone

Creating a tone or brand guide can be an effective way to make sure you keep posts consistent. You also want to maintain a similar theme throughout your posts, including style, font, and colors.

For inspiration, you can look at your website, content, and logos to help create the proper tone and theme for your posts.

In addition, Instagram has the tools in stories that can help you get a color scheme that complements your brand.

You also want to think about the look of your content for both pictures and videos. Consider a consistent angle or filter to set the right tone and look for your content.

It’s also vital to think about your messaging, whether it’s for captions, comments, or responses to direct messages.

It’s crucial to have a standard operating procedure for how you respond to consumers on Instagram, especially if you have multiple people responding to comments and messages, to ensure it’s within the brand’s tone.

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4. Showcase Your Creativity

IG is more than just a photo-sharing app. There are many different ways to create content for Instagram that can highlight your brand and increase engagement.

Let’s talk through them and share some tips on when to use them.

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As you know, Instagram has pictures. Pictures are a great way to showcase products. It’s also great for sharing quotes, posing questions you answer in your image caption, or promoting deals or giveaways.

Videos are an excellent way to show sneak peeks of something coming up or create product teasers. You can also use videos for business BTS and show how to best use your product.

You can use Instagram Reels, or short videos, to showcase products, share stories, and grow your audience.

IGTV or Instagram TV are longer videos on an Instagram feed. Brands use these to go more in-depth into describing a particular topic.

Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows consumers to shop your products through your photos and videos.

Brands can create product tags and product launches where consumers can purchase products straight through Instagram.

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Then, customers don’t have to take the step to leave Instagram to go to your website. Instead, they can quickly buy through the app.

Stories are photos or videos that last 24 hours (unless you add them to your highlights on your profile) where you can share posts from your profile or post new content. It’s a popular way to gain more followers and engage with consumers.

User-Generated Content or content created by influences, customers, or other users is a great way to extend your reach to different audiences and further promote your products.

People are more intrigued to learn about a new product if it’s promoted by someone they already follow.

Likewise, it can help build trust with consumers new to your brand if they see a post by a customer who already loves it.

But what content goes viral? It can be beneficial to look at what your competitors are people on Instagram creating and put your brand’s unique twist on it.

5. Craft Compelling Captions And CTAs

While it’s great to have high-quality pictures and engaging videos, the captions and call to action still matter.

If you hooked the consumer with your picture or video, you want to reel them in with your caption and CTA.

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It’s essential to take time crafting the right CTA to ensure consumers follow your page, engage with your post, or purchase your product.

6. Choose The Correct Hashtags

It’s also crucial to research and choose the right hashtags to ensure your posts reach the intended audience and some new ones that might be interested in your brand.

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Hashtags allow your content to reach users beyond your profile’s following. As you create content for specific hashtags, note which posts perform particularly well.

That way, you can create future posts for specific hashtags that will increase your content’s visibility.

7. Know The Best Time To Post

Planning posts ahead of time can help alleviate some stress of social media strategy.

You can use Meta Business Suites to schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram and set posts for a week or a couple of weeks.

If you’re unsure when to post, they have suggested days and times where analysis points to where you’ll get the most engagement and views.

Although, it would be beneficial to do some research specific to your industry to see the best time and day to make your posts.

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One important thing to keep in mind when you’re planning your content is the upcoming holidays.

Are you going to make a post celebrating the holiday, use the holiday to do a promotion or give away, or choose not to post on that day altogether?

No matter what you pick, it’s important to keep holidays in mind.

8. Measure Results And Adjust

Instagram Insights, both on the app and through Meta Business Suites, can show how many views a post gets and statistics on the engagement with the posts to help you see which types of content are working best. You can see your content’s likes, shares, comments, and saves.

Brands can also use Insights to get metrics on the paid activity. Insights are a great way to see trends so that you can adjust your content strategy.

You’ll also be able to see metrics into your followers to see how many you’re receiving, the age of your followers, and information on when they are most active online. This way, you can adjust the times you post to ensure you are better at reaching your audience.

Wrapping Up

Content planning is the best way to help boost reach and engagement on Instagram.

Creating a content calendar inspired by current marketing objectives and tailoring your content with a theme backed by metrics is the best way to help meet your goals.

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More Resources:


Featured Image: alinabuphoto/Shutterstock

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