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Meta Adds New, Holiday-Themed Elements to Messenger, Including Soundmojis and AR Effects

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Meta Adds New, Holiday-Themed Elements to Messenger, Including Soundmojis and AR Effects


Meta has added some new, holiday-themed elements to Messenger, including seasonal AR effects, new Soundmojis to help spread Christmas cheer and fun additions for Messenger Kids.

First off, there’s a new AR effect, created in partnership with beauty influencer Ashley Strong, which adds ‘sparkles and shiny snowflakes that appear from your eyes when you blink’.

“With this effect, you can magically freeze the screen – just open your mouth for a cold breath to start to appear and freeze the screen.”

Not entirely sure if Christmas or Ice King from Game of Thrones, but it’s a new feature either way.

Messenger’s also got some new word effects – now, when you wish people a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa, you can also spark a flood of related emojis up the screen to give your messaging an extra themed kick.

Messenger holiday effects

Meta also notes that you can ‘plan some seriously lit end-of-year parties’ with its new New Year’s Eve chat theme for Messenger and Instagram DMs, which also includes word effects.

Messenger holiday effects

I don’t really like Meta’s attempts at cool lingo in their announcements, which may be a part of its broader plan to re-connect with the youth. But yes, lit parties, via Messenger. Rock on.

There are also new soundmojis, Meta’s attempt to bring another, unique dimension to emoji usage.

“Visit your Messenger expressions tray, select the loudspeaker icon, and find the present and Christmas tree emojis for a special holiday song surprise!”

Messenger holiday effects

While Meta’s also taking the opportunity to encourage more funds exchange activity within messaging, with new, themed funds transfer visuals when sending money in the app.

Messenger holiday effects

The more people moving their money in Meta’s apps, the easier it will be for Meta to then encourage eCommerce activity, so while this is a lesser element in the broader announcement here, it may be the most impactful in terms of Meta’s strategic plans.

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In addition to this, Meta has also added a range of new holiday elements to Messenger Kids, including an option to chat with Santa (with the messages going to the parents), new holiday games and themed AR effects.

Messenger holiday effects

I mean, it’s getting pretty close to the wire if you wanted to use the Santa chat feature as a means to find out what your child really wants this Christmas, but it could be another way to get kids excited about the holiday – which still feels like it’s sprung up way too early this time around.

Some of these are fun, and will add an extra element to your holiday messages, some are a bit meh – but either way, they provide more options to facilitate engagement and interaction via message for the season.

You can check out the new features in the latest version of the Messenger app.



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

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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

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'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]

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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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