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Users Can Now Create Messenger Rooms on Instagram

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With Facebook looking to maximize any possible chance of anybody using video chat amid rising demand during COVID-19, The Social Network has this week added the capacity for Instagram users to create Messenger Rooms direct from their Instagram Direct inbox.

As you can see from the above video, now, when you tap on the video chat button within Instagram Direct, you’ll see a new prompt to create a Messenger Room.

Messenger Rooms are, logically, hosted on Messenger, so while you can create a room within Instagram, you’ll still have to switch to Messenger to engage in the video chat. But it does provide another way to use Facebook’s new multi-participant video chat option – though active Rooms won’t be displayed in Instagram, so you won’t be able to use it as a drop-in video chat tool, as it’s designed on Facebook.

Thus far, Messenger Rooms have been a somewhat underwhelming option, though Facebook only just expanded the option to all users last week, so it’s very early days, and Facebook is still likely refining the format and getting everything in line.

In early testing (I’m in Australia, where Rooms has been active for a couple of weeks), I found Rooms to be overly glitchy, while issues with the display format seem likely to cause issues. In particular, the fact that Facebook lists both Rooms and any of your connections that are currently active on Messenger on the same function panel within the app seems to blur the lines between who’s in a Room and who’s simply online, which is a little unclear at a glance.

Messenger Rooms

That could lead to people sending random messages, and annoying connections – or you may end up in one-on-one video chats with people you didn’t really want to chat with, but you tapped because you thought you might say hi in a Room.

If that seems overly specific, it is.

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Essentially, Rooms is just a Messenger video call that other people can drop into. Which is all Facebook said it would be, but it still seems a little underwhelming as a product, like Facebook could maybe have done something more. The ability to see random video chats, and drop in to say hi, definitely sounds like a good fit for the current times, but I’m not sure that Rooms, at least at this stage, is the right vehicle for it. 

But then again, maybe its more in the application – Facebook has also added Rooms for Groups and Events, which could serve more specific purpose, while it’s also just added Rooms for Workplace, which could help to facilitate discussion with colleagues.

Workplace Rooms

As noted, it still feels too early to make any definitive calls on it, and providing more ways for people to connect into Rooms, and new presentation and/or sharing options, could change things significantly.

For example, what if Facebook only shared Rooms publicly if they had more than three or four active guests? That could then make people feel more comfortable about dropping in, knowing that you won’t end up in a one-on-one chat, while also aligning with the core, group chat purpose.

There’s still more to come from Facebook on this, no doubt – but as of right now, you have a range of ways in which to create your own Room and get started.

Socialmediatoday.com

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SOCIAL

WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

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WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new Call Links feature, which, as it sounds, will enable you to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

As you can see in these examples, you’ll now be able to create dedicated URL links for WhatsApp group video and audio chats, which will make it easier for others to join the discussion in the app.

When available (the option is being rolled out this week), you’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab, enabling you to create a shareable link to get people into your chats.

It could be an easy way to help enhance community connection, and facilitate engagement, while brands could also use the option to better connect with influencers and advocates, in a more direct, intimate way.

For example, you could run an exclusive chat to discuss your upcoming product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates. Meta’s says that it’s also working on secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people as well, so there could soon be a range of ways to use the option as a means to spotlight specific audience segments and engage with them direct.

And with more engagement switching to messaging tools, that’s definitely worth considering.

Indeed, as part of a recent product announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:

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Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections.”

As such, it may be time to start considering how you can lean into this shift, and better align with how users are now connecting, in order to maximize community and engagement.

Feeds are increasingly being overtaken by entertainment, so if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, that may no longer be the place to be to reach your fans.

Messaging, and messaging groups, could be an important consideration going forward, and these new tools provide more options on this front.



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