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Meta Continues to Develop its Fediverse Connection Options for Threads

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Can Threads Still Capitalize on Early Interest?

Will Threads’ expanded Fediverse access plan ever take off and become a significant consideration for more users?

As you may be aware, as part of the development of Threads as an all new platform, Meta has also committed to making Threads interoperable with the Fediverse, which is a collection of independently hosted, interconnected servers, which decentralize the control of social interactions from any single player.

Mastodon is the best-known Fediverse platform, with many other, smaller apps and tools linking into the same process, with the guiding principle of the decentralized social approach being that rather than having users beholden to a few big companies, who then control all the data that they submit, and all the content that they see, the Fediverse will democratize social networking, enabling all users to take their data with them, and switch to other servers that better suit their personal needs, as they see fit.

At the same time, posting via Fediverse connection, powered by ActivityPub, will also enable users to share updates across different platforms and servers at once, which could expand your reach within a range of communities.

The common comparison here is email, in that you can send emails from, say, Gmail to Outlook, despite them being owned by different organizations. ActivityPub facilitates the same, but in a social media context, which could enable broader engagement, and freedom in such, to varying degree.

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Though much like cryptocurrency, the main focus is on reducing the power of big corporations, and in combination, crypto and the decentralized platform approach make up what we know as “Web3”, which many still see as the next evolution of digital interactivity.

Each element of Web3 is still in its early phases, and is experiencing various challenges, as is to be expected. But maybe, one day, decentralization will play a bigger role in how we all connect, by enabling anyone to exert more control over their digital information and experience.

And given that it could be the future, Meta, logically, is looking to maintain an interest in its development.

Last week, in an interview with Wired, Meta project manager Rachel Lambert outlined the platform’s progress on this front, and its future Fediverse integration plans.

Lambert told Wired that general Threads users may be able to access new Fediverse features “in a couple of months”, following on from Threads initial tests with Fediverse integration in December.

As per Lambert:

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“We have some milestones that we’re working towards, but I think we’re most invested in just making sure that the experience feels really good and that things are actually working.”

Hints of the coming integration are already present in the back-end code of the app, with app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi sharing this new “Fediverse sharing” option last week.

Eventually, that’ll enable more widespread sharing and control capacity.

Or at least in theory, that’s how it will work. 

Already, many Fediverse admins have established a pact to block any attempt by Meta to connect into the space. Which goes against the whole principle of a more open web, but at the same, these admins view Meta, and other social media incumbents, as the cause of the Fediverse push in the first place, in that Meta’s past actions in controlling user data, using that for ad targeting (and anything else), and imposing its own moderation rules, have led to the call for a more open, less corporate-controlled approach.

Now, Meta’s looking to get in on that too, and you can see why they might want to oppose such, and essentially lock Meta, and other corporates, out of the process.

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Meta’s been trying to find a common ground here, by meeting with Fediverse admins to address their concerns. But right now, opposition to Meta looms as just a big of a challenge as the technical refinements required to enable Fediverse connection from Threads in the first place.

And that’s before you even consider whether the majority of users even want these new options.

For the most part, social media users don’t update their settings, and don’t look into the technology that facilitates their connection in each app. Most people just want to download an app, fill in the required details, and get to using it as soon as possible, and as such, it’s not clear that Fediverse connection will appeal to the majority of users either way.

Over time, proponents believe that people will come to adopt these new, improved control options. But history tells us that most people simply won’t care, and are unlikely to utilize these new elements either way.

Which begs the question of why Meta is even bothering with the Fediverse at all, considering it already has such a dominant hold on the social media market.

My read here is that Meta’s mostly looking to keep tabs on the development of these new processes, while also ensuring that it has some stake in the game, if it does take-off. Though much like crypto, I suspect that, over time, most Fediverse admins will learn why centralized control is often more beneficial, and that going it alone, while it does provide more control, also means more challenges in maintaining these varied services.

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Whether we like them or not, there’s a reason why most financial regulations and processes are in place, and as many crypto traders have found, the benefits of those do outweigh the negatives in many respects, even if that does mean more centralized control and oversight.

As the Fediverse grows, I suspect many will find the same, and I don’t personally see the Fediverse taking off as a large scale option for most social media users.

Maybe Meta plays a role in making it more of a thing, maybe it reduces its impetus somewhat. But either way, I’m not sure that all the effort to link Threads into the Fediverse is going to mean a lot for regular users in the long run.

But it is coming, and you will soon have more options to consider, which could actually introduce many, many more people to what the Fediverse has to offer.

Will they care? We’ll find out.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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