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Facebook Launches New App Called ‘CatchUp’ to Facilitate Group Phone Chats

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Facebook’s experimental NPE team has released its sixth new app, this time focused on facilitating phone calls between friends who are up for a chat.

Called CatchUp, the new app is essentially Messenger Rooms for voice calls, providing the capacity to see when your friends are online and up for a voice call, as well as in-progress group chats that you can join.

Facebook CatchUp

As per the app description:

“Catching up has never been this easy. See who’s available and effortlessly join one-on-one and group calls. Never play phone tag or make an appointment to call someone again. Keep in touch more, think about it less. Any time you’re free to talk, CatchUp!”

So, yeah, you can see who’s active in the app, like Messenger, and join open group discussions, like Messenger Rooms. Seems simple enough.

Within the app, users can set their status to let their connections know when they’re ready to talk, and create groups to chat with. There’s also an ‘auto-availability’ function which will automatically update your status when you’re connected via Bluetooth.

It’s another way for people to connect – but of course, you can already call people through Messenger anyway, with the added option of using video as well, if you so choose. As such, CatchUp’s only functional addition over Messenger is that you can see when people are specifically up for an audio chat, so it doesn’t seem like it provides enough utility for a separate app, which you and your connections will subsequently need to each download in order for it to be of any real use.

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But then again, maybe in regions where connectivity is limited, and phone calls are the preferred means of connection, having the option to be able to see when people are open to a voice chat will be beneficial. The app is currently available in selected regions (we were tipped off to it by GratisDatingTips which is based in the Netherlands), on both iOS and Android.

Either way, it is interesting to keep tabs on where Facebook’s NPE – or ‘New Product Experimentation‘ – team is looking, and what trends they might be seeking to capitalize on with their test apps.

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Thus far, NPE has launched six new apps over the last six months. Those apps are:

  • Kit – Provides expanded messaging options via Apple Watch
  • Hobbi – Enables users to collect images of creative hobbies, and sort them into boards to track personal development
  • Whale – Enables users to create their own memes with simplified templates and tools
  • AUX – A participatory DJ app, where users try to get their song on a group playlist
  • Bump – A chat app which aims to introduce students to others in their vicinity

And now CatchUp, facilitating connection via voice calls.

There’s no specific theme to the various apps NPE is trying out, but you would assume that each is based on usage behavior, with Facebook looking to tap into the next key trend and keep ahead of the competition.

Given the limited functionality of each beyond apps that already exist, and where users, critically, already have established networks, none of these new apps looks set to become a mainstay. But that also might not be the intention – it could be that Facebook is simply looking to gather insights to inform other areas and tools.

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In its explanation of the NPE team, Facebook says that:

We decided to create this separate developer name to help set the appropriate expectations with people that, unlike Facebook’s family of apps, NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people. We expect many failures. We also want to minimize disruption to the billions of people who use Facebook apps every day.” 

So each app could simply be a small testing ground for a new feature in an existing Facebook app – so if notifications of friends who are up for audio calls in Messenger becomes a thing, this could well be why.

What we do know for sure is that the NPE is certainly not wasting time – and maybe, if they keep throwing ideas at the App Store wall, one will stick. 

You can find CatchUp on the App Store and the Google Play Store, and thanks again to GratisDatingTips for the heads up.  

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Twitter Launches New ‘Twitter Create’ Mini-Site to Highlight Monetization Opportunities for Creators

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Twitter Launches New 'Twitter Create' Mini-Site to Highlight Monetization Opportunities for Creators

Creators are the new currency for social media networks, with every platform now working to sweeten its deal in order to keep the top creative talent posting to their apps, and keep their fans coming back to check in on the latest.

And today, Twitter’s taking its latest step in working to boost its creator appeal, with the launch of a new Twitter Create mini-site, which will host a range of tips, insights and examples designed to help creators maximize their Twitter presence.

The new site, which you can check out here, includes specific sections for creators in different verticals to help guide them on how to maximize their Twitter presence.

Tap on ‘Podcasters’, for example, and you’re taken to a dedicated page of tips for how to promote your show, including notes on which specific Twitter products you can utilize.

Twitter Create

Obviously, given the focus on monetization, Twitter’s newer offerings, like Super Follows and Spaces are the main push, with each providing new ways to make money from what you do in the app.

Scroll down further in any topic stream and you’ll find case studies, notes, and other blog posts that can help to guide you in the right direction.

Twitter Create

The site provides a good overview of Twitter’s various monetization avenues, in nine different categories, while there’s also a range of blog posts and notes that can help to guide your tweet approach.

Twitter’s monetization tools, thus far, haven’t really caught on, with Twitter Blue not yet becoming a key contributor to the platform’s revenue, and other offerings also, based on Twitter’s most recent performance update, failing to drive any significant income for the company.

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But they do offer opportunity, and there are some users that are indeed driving significant benefit from these additions. The trick for Twitter now is to help creators maximize take-up, and build their own offerings to better incentivize people to pay for content, which is not a habitual behavior in the app.

That’s been a key challenge for its creator monetization tools thus far – people have always been able to read your tweets for free, why would they start paying for the privilege now? That hesitation seems to be a key tipping point that Twitter needs to overcome, and up till now, it’s been reliant on the creators themselves to come up with more compelling subscription offerings, in order to add value to their platform presence.

This new platform aims to provide more specific guidance on this element, which could make it a valuable resource for those considering their add-on options to incentivize subscribers, while newer additions like Super Follower Only Spaces provide more, simple add-on tools that can push creators in the right direction as to how they can enhance their Twitter presence for a paying audience.

Which is really what needs to happen. People aren’t going to pay for your tweets, no matter how witty you may think you are, but they will pay for exclusives and additional engagement offerings that can make them more aligned to your presence.

Up till now, Twitter hasn’t been great at articulating this, hence the low take-up of these tools. But this new platform provides more direct guidance, which could provide a boost for its monetization tools.

You can check out the new Twitter Create mini-site here.

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