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More Generative AI Tools are Coming to Social Apps – Is That a Good Thing?

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More Generative AI Tools are Coming to Social Apps - Is That a Good Thing?

The latest developments in generative AI have opened up a range of new possibilities and potential use cases, But are we sure that there’s a value to them within social media apps?

Sure, there are some helpful, practical use cases like image editing for ad backgrounds, and creating optimized ad copy for varying purpose.

But for regular users, does generative AI really enhance the social app experience?

For years, people have complained about spam messaging polluting their DMs, and artificial engagement prompted by, say, anniversary and birthday updates. These types of posts feel disingenuous, non-engaging, and don’t really add value to the “social” experience.

But now, with Gen AI, social apps are trying to make such even more prominent, with almost every app now experimenting with different forms of generative AI, which can be used to create content that humans can then post to their profiles, cosplaying actual engagement.

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LinkedIn, for example, has an AI post composer, which will write your updates for you in-stream, and Facebook’s also experimenting with the same, while X claims that, soon, you’ll be able to transfer responses from its Grok AI chatbot into your updates.

Why would people want that? Why would users want to post robot responses, and attempt to pass them off as their own thoughts and opinions?

Spammers and scammers will love it, no doubt, and engagement farmers will be keen to “optimize” their updates through these tools. But are those the types of posts that actually enhance social media interaction?

Of course, that’s seemingly an afterthought, because now you can create a profile image of yourself as an 18th century warrior. Isn’t that cool?

As a novelty, sure, that’s kind of interesting. But how many generative AI images can you create to depict yourself in different scenes before it starts to weigh on you that you’re not actually doing any of these things?

Social media, by definition, is “social”, which involves humans interacting with each other, sharing their own experiences, and the things that are filtering through their real human brain, in order to then feel more connected to the world around them. That’s been the universal value of the medium, building on books and movies in facilitating more understanding and connectedness, so we all feel less alone and more engaged with the world around us.

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How do bot updates help with that?

And of course, this is all, inevitably, still going to get a lot worse.

LinkedIn says that it’s re-building its foundations around AI, in order to power “the next ten years of product development and innovation”. Which means more AI integration, and more bot-generated content, and as these tools continue to iterate on the latest trends, in order maintain relevance, they’ll also be training on more and more AI-generated updates that are flowing through their circuits.

Which means that AI tools will increasingly be powered by AI responses, diluting human input out of the process with every refresh.

The “social” aspect is becoming more automated, more stale, and less human with every such integration.

Of course, the counter is that people can already use AI tools outside of social apps anyway, so whether they’re integrated or not, they’re going to be utilized for the same purpose. Which is partly true, but still, adding them in-stream, making it easier for people to just tap a button to generate a response, seems like a step in the wrong direction either way.

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That’s not to say that Gen AI tools are not useful. As noted, there are practical use cases for optimized, simplified tools that can complement human creation.

But bleaching humanity out of the source code is simply not a pathway to value.

And whether we realize it or not, the Gen AI shift is going to take far more significant turns yet.  

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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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