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Whenever social media updates are announced, people have the tendency to lose their minds for a day or two. After a while, things settle down and soon it’s hard to imagine the platform before the change or update. Today I want to look back at Summer 2016 and go over some of the biggest the changes made to our favorite social media platforms.

During the Summer of 2016 we saw our favorite social media platforms make some pretty big changes. Here’s a quick summary if you weren’t paying attention.

Twitter Update:

No penalty for images

This is probably the best thing that happened to me all summer. Twitter dropped images from its character count. Okay, that’s probably not the best thing that happened, but it is up there. Twitter has been talking about this change for a while and I’m sure like most other social media managers, I was anxiously awaiting this one. Links, text and punctuation are all still part of the character limit, but now you have the freedom to add one or more photos without sacrificing half of a sentence or a hashtag.

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Direct message embraces more “messaging” features

If you’ve used the direct message function anytime recently, you probably notice something a little different. Twitter took a play out of Facebook’s handbook and added chat-like features. With typing dots, read receipts and media attachments, it feels a lot more like messenger that anything from Twitter. Different doesn’t mean bad, I appreciate being able to attach videos and photos to a direct message, but it is going to take some getting used to.

For a tool struggling to find their role in the world of social media both of these are solid improvements.

Facebook Update: Live videos dominate

The biggest changes in Facebook usually come from the algorithm side. They are often not obvious, but you will see them reflected in the content of your timeline. Noticing more photos lately? That’s because Facebook has changed their algorithm to give preference to visual content. It’s no secret that visual content does better on social media than plain text, but even above images and regular videos, live videos reign supreme. In this article from AdWeek they break down why the algorithm gives such preference to live video. The short answer? People prefer it and it’s easier to absorb while scrolling quickly.

Pinterest Update: Summary Pins

Back in May, Pinterest announced some pretty bold moves to improve their social platform and overall user experience. Pinterest is full of articles, recipes and DIY projects from all over the globe. With all of this content, comes some repetition. It’s not uncommon to search around Pinterest and see the same pin in multiple places with a different number of repins. To combat this issue, Pinterest has announced work on a ‘Summary Pin’ to help show the true popularity of the content. Instead of multiple pins with varying repins, the summary pin pulls the original image and URL for the content. All of its ‘sister pins’ contribute to the overall number or repins for the original. This gives credit and a little more exposure for the original pin, regardless of which pin picked up the most attention.

Instagram Update: Stories

As every social media platform struggles to stay on top, we often see them ‘borrowing’ ideas from each other. So the big news from Instagram this summer was the introduction of stories. This social media update is a nice feature, but not necessarily an original idea. Instagram stories feel a lot like another image sharing app – Snapchat. Instagram announced stories as a way to “share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.” The thought behind this new feature was to avoid oversharing and crowding the feed. It’s a nice addition to the app, but I still prefer the user experience of Snapchat to Stories.

All in all, I would say it was a pretty good summer in the world of social media updates. Now, if we could just get Twitter to drop the link from the character count I would be really happy. There are many more updates than just the ones listed above. What was your favorite social media update this summer? What would you like to see change? Leave your comments below!

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Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.