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Messenger Adds New Group Effect for NYE, in Partnership with Cosmopolitan



Messenger has announced a new group AR feature for New Year’s, in conjunction with Cosmopolitan, which will enable people to ring in 2022 with interactive chicken nuggets in a champagne glass.

As explained by Messenger:

“Developed in partnership with Cosmopolitan, today we’re releasing Nugget Cheers, a brand new interactive AR video calling Group Effect created just for New Year’s Eve. The effect features the (weirdly) perfect pairing of champagne and chicken nuggets that you’ll be able to toast and share with friends on a Messenger or Instagram video call.”

Cool right? Right?

The feature uses Meta’s group AR option for video calls, which it added recently, and enables multiple people within a group chat to engage with the same effect at once.

And now, they’ll be able to nod their heads in unison to activate chicken nuggets in a glass to celebrate NYE.

Cool. Right?

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of faith in Meta’s renewed push to win back young users.

Part of Meta’s key challenge over the past five or so years has been that it hasn’t been able to keep touch with evolving web culture trends, an aspect that other apps, like Snapchat and TikTok, have excelled in.

Meta, through Facebook first, then Instagram, has gradually eroded any cultural nous within each of its apps, by instead focusing on massive growth, often over all else. Which has certainly succeeded in bringing the maximum amount of users to its apps, but in turn, that approach has also eliminated any exclusivity or cool factor that its platforms and features once had.

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Essentially, the company has been built with a structure focused on growth, not culture, and as a result, you now have executives and leaders who are very skilled at building systems, and formulating engagement algorithms, but have no clue when it comes to what’s cool and trending, and what will generate the most buzz to help boost engagement amongst various groups.

Which is why it’s always playing copycat, replicating the key features from other, cooler apps, and why, as a result, it’s lost all credibility among younger audiences as a cultural force.

Meta has more staff, more money, and more capacity that any other platform to develop new, cutting edge tools and options which could help it boost engagement across the board, yet no one would say that Facebook is cool, or even Instagram these days, as they’ve been overtaken by smaller, less resourced, but more in-touch players that know how to connect, and maintain connections with their respective communities.

When was the last time Instagram added a ‘must see’ AR option that wasn’t originally available on Snap or TikTok instead? What was the last Facebook feature that got you genuinely excited, or even interested in the app again?

This is why I have some serious questions about Meta’s capacity to re-connect with the youth, as per Zuckerberg’s new remit.

Back in October, as part of Meta’s Q3 earnings announcement, Zuckerberg said that:

We’re retooling our teams to make serving young adults their north star, rather than optimizing for the larger number of older people. Like everything, this will involve trade-offs in our products and it will likely mean that the rest of our community will grow more slowly than it otherwise would have. But it should also mean that our services become stronger for young adults.”

But can Meta actually do this?

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Nothing that I’ve seen from any of the company’s execs would suggest that they have any real nous or understanding of modern web trends (Instagram chief Adam Mosseri’s attempts to link into Insta trends are particularly cringe-worthy), while new pushes like this, linking champagne and chicken nuggets, seem very forced and disingenuous – and even then, they don’t seem engaging or even interesting at all.

I’m not sure how what other tricks Meta might have in its bag for re-gaining its cool factor, but right now, nothing they’ve produced has shown that it has any real capacity to tune into web trends, let alone lead them, which it will need to do if it really wants to win over younger audiences.

But, you know. Chicken nuggets are cool, huh? Classy and not so classy together, that’s cool, right?

There are also reply tweets like this from the Meta handle on Twitter, where it keeps trying to latch onto other trends via web lingo:

Maybe there’s something Meta has in the works that can help it win back youngsters in a whole other way, something metaverse-aligned, a next-level push that will help it become cool again.

But right now, I just don’t see it.

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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile



TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.

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‘Flurona’ is a great example of how misinformation can circulate



'Flurona' is a great example of how misinformation can circulate

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
Source – NIAID, CC SA 2.0.

In early January, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time, authorities reported. The two infections were found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman who had mild symptoms.

At the rime, the Times of Israel said, “Some reports suggested this marked the first such dual case in the world, but reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the US as early as spring 2020.”

And it was the Times of Israel that helped the story to go viral by using a catchy, made-up name – “flurona” – and reporting that this is the “first” such case in the country, which some people read as the first case ever.

One news outlet went about amplifying the anecdotal report into “a new nightmare to keep us awake at night.” All the hype over this supposedly new and nightmarish disease did nothing more than fuel the amount of misinformation already bogging down social media platforms.

Scientific American suggests that physicians and scientists just don’t seem to be able to get the right message across to the public about what is real, what is treatable, and what is downright false.

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Yes, you can catch the flu and Covid

Let’s look back a bit to the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, hospitals were being overrun with patients. At that time, COVID testing was still rather sluggish and expensive. So doctors often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.   

And yes, any number of patients were found to have not only COVID-19 but nearly 5 percent of patients tested had another viral respiratory infection, too. At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once. 

“What we found was actually that patients who had Covid plus another infection — they had lower rates of inflammation in their body and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Baron, a physician who helped author a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to describe the findings.

While the study was small in the number of patients involved, it may offer an intriguing look at how one virus suppresses the effects of another – something called viral interference.

Researchers have known about viral interference since the 1960s when a group of scientists noticed that a live vaccine against polio and other enteroviruses also seemed to protect against unrelated viral respiratory diseases like influenza.  

For the week ending December 25, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 6.2 percent of people tested for flu were positive, and 1,825 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with flu that week.

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So I would suggest to everyone that first – remember there are many reliable news sources on the Internet. Secondly, if a story you read sounds outrageous, take a few minutes to research it. You may just find out how inaccurate it may be.

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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]



12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]

Search engine optimization can be a complicated process, but every year, more tools and options are added to help simplify and streamline your efforts, which can provide you with valuable insights and guidance that hasn’t previously been available so easily.

The right tools can transform your strategy, and as such, it’s worth keeping track of the latest tool additions as you look to learn more about what people are searching for, and how you can create content and offers to align with those behaviors.

Which is where this new listing from PageTraffic comes in. The below infographic outlines 12 newer SEO tools that are worth a look in 2022.

More insight is always better, and these apps may just become a key pipeline to better understanding for your business.

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