Instagram’s trying out a new way to help users create more engaging Reels clips, while it’s also testing a new option to promote Reels in your main feed, as it works to compete against the rising threat of TikTok.
First off, as first reported by Business Insider, Instagram’s testing a new ‘Templates’ process with some Reels creators, which enables users to replicate the format of a Reels clip that they’ve seen in their own content.
As you can see in this example, shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, the Templates process enables creators to use any Reels clip as a template, which then creates a framework of clips that matches the time stamps of that Reel. You can then insert your own clips into these frame markers, enabling you to essentially copy the format of the clip.
Instagram REELS announced a new feature! “Use as template” allows user to replace the clips with your own and it will match the time stamps of the template reel. Let me know what you think of this feature. Does this make you want to create more reels? pic.twitter.com/rLMJAX89jG
— Jo Millie (@JosephineMedia) March 26, 2022
It could be a simple way to improve the timing of your Reels clips, by using any other clip you see as creative inspiration. And if you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas, or your uploads just don’t look as cool as those you’re seeing in the app, this could be a simple option to construct better content – though it could also encourage plagiarism of other people’s ideas.
But then again, remixing is a key engagement element in TikTok (and is also available in Reels), and so long as you’re not copying an idea frame-for-frame, with no credit to the original, it could be okay. But it does seem like it’s perfectly aligned with doing just that, which could be a problem – especially given that Instagram just this week announced a new algorithm update to better promote original content creators in the app.
I mean, re-creating your own variation of another clip isn’t copying, as such, but it is taking someone else’s idea. Evidently, this is not the kind of replication that Instagram’s looking to stamp out with its new algorithm change.
Instagram has confirmed to TechCrunch that the new Template feature is currently being tested ‘with a small group of creators’.
In addition to this, Instagram’s also testing out another way to boost interest in Reels content, with new, full-screen Reels promo tabs in the main feed.
As you can see in this example, shared on Twitter by @marselladondi, the new approach highlights several Reels within a single frame. Users can then tap on any Reels thumbnail to switch to the Reels feed, or tap on the ‘Watch Reels’ CTA at the bottom.
It’s another way for IG to lean into the short-form video trend, which it’s made no secret about in its product announcements.
Back in December, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said that video would be a key focus for IG in 2022, with Reels being the main element.
“We’re going to double-down on our focus on video and consolidate all of our video formats around Reels”
The ultimate next step, then seems to be this next-level format, which incorporates feed posts, Reels and Stories into a single-stream UI in the app.
That would put more focus on its video elements, while also presenting everything in full-screen, which will give the platform more info on your interests and engagement, based on each specific type of content as it’s displayed.
And with TikTok continuing its meteoric rise, and taking up more consumer attention, especially among younger audiences, it makes sense for Instagram to also align with the same trends. These new options are the latest in its ongoing effort to evolve in line with the rising video app.
Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots
Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.
According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.
Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.
And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.
Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.
In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:
- Total user tweets (within a given time period)
- Data on which devices were used
As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.
It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:
- Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
- Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
- Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
- Date, time, location, device info
That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.
I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.
But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.
Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).
According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.
Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.
The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.
Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.
Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.
It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.
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