The Social Minute: December 26-January 2

January 2, 2018 Diana Pasgas

Celebrity apps are so 2017

• On December 13th, Taylor Swift fans rejoiced as the pop star released her new app, The Swift Life. The app includes features like ‘Taymojis’, a Taylor Swift fan community, and exclusive Taylor content. However, they seemingly only rejoiced for one day and one day only. By December 21st, the app was sitting at #793 on the App Store.

• Meanwhile, Swift’s sometimes Squad member Kendall Jenner announced that she would be discontinuing her own app in 2018 due to a shift in priorities.

Hit or Miss: While celebrity apps can be fun, let’s face it: they are a giant money grab designed to capitalize on (mostly young)  fans loyalty. Sure, you can argue that this gives you a chance to create a community  or to interact with the star themselves, but most content is either subscription based or behind half a dozen paywalls. It’s not an organic, true fan experience. Plus, Taylor herself has been interacting with fans on Tumblr for years - and for free. If celebrity apps are on the decline in 2018, we gotta say; it’s for the better. 

Facebook makes photos more accessible to visually impaired users

• Facebook is making its platform even more accessible to users with vision loss. Through integrating facial recognition into their alt-text tool, (which already identifies scenery, objects, animals and people in photos) Facebook can now tell visually impaired users which of their friends are in the photo, regardless of who is tagged.

• Using their existing facial recognition tool, (the very one that suggests who you should tag in photos), Facebook will analyze pixels in photos and compare them against those in your profile picture and other tagged photos to more accurate identification.

Hit or Miss: Anything that makes social media more accessible and more inclusive is a hit in our books. The introduction of this feature means that users with vision loss will not only know what’s happening in the photo, but who is in the photo. In the future, Facebook plans to expand upon their alt-tool to describe that the people in the photo are wearing or the colour of their hair. The platform says it’s a long way off, but the future seems bright in terms of accessibility!

HQ Trivia is now available for Android in Beta Mode

- Once an iPhone only app, the real time, live Trivia game HQ Trivia has made its way to Android. The app is now available in the Google Play Store’s Early Access section.

- The app is still in beta and the product description wants you to know that the app is kind of unstable...which regular players of HQ will already know. As the user base has expanded, so has the massive number of glitches.

Hit or Miss: On one hand, this is great for growing HQ's overall user base and making it look more appealing to investors as the company tries to raise money for a $100 million valuation. For users, it could mean better features and a better app. On the other hand, more people likely means more glitches in the interim. Not to mention smaller prize money at the end and the whole thing feeling like even more of a weird episode of Black Mirror. Is more the merrier when it comes to HQ? Time will tell.

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