This Week in Social: Facebook Messenger Adds New Camera Modes, Twitter introduces some Sparkle, Instagram Adds Music and Question Options

Facebook Messenger Adds New Camera Modes

This week Facebook has given us an early Christmas present, with the addition of three new camera tools: Boomerang, Selfie mode and Stickers.

First and foremost, Facebook is bringing over the ever-popular looping video format – the mighty boomerang.

To those new to the world of Boomerangs, this is a short video which plays in an endless loop, adding motion and fun to the contents.

Next is the new Selfie mode, which you may have guessed is designed to make you be the sharpest point of focus in your photos. This mode will automatically blur your background, to increase focus on your face.

And last but not least, Facebook is incorporating an option to overlay Stickers onto real-world scenes.

By clicking on the camera icon next to selected stickers, you can place your sticker over your camera captured images. It’s really a fun way to grow your sharing options.

This means that there are now 5 different camera modes for Facebook Messenger. This may be a push from Facebook for us all to flock to the Messenger tool, which has historically experienced myriad problems, and to encourage our interaction to take place through this option. However what’s clear is that Facebook is looking for further methods to expand its monetisation options, nurturing private messaging into a key business proposition.

Will you be using these new Messenger camera options? Let us know at

Twitter introduces some Sparkle

You may remember Twitter’s announcement all the way back in September, stating that the social media platform planned to offer the option to switch been chronological and algorithmic timelines.

Twitter rolled out initial tests of this option last month, and it will now be available to all users with the new ‘Sparkle’ button. This enables users to switch between the algorithm-defined feed and the chronological timeline of first-come-first-served tweets.  

We’ll find this button at the top right of the app, previously where the compose button was placed. Tap it and our timelines will switch between the options, so we can now easily toggle between the two. This new development was rolled out to iOS users on Wednesday, and will soon follow for Android and the web.

This has long been a point of contention for users, with some arguing that the algorithm completely undermined what Twitter stood for: showcasing updates in real time. Previous options to switch off the algorithm were viewed as clunky and awkward – forcing users to go into their settings and manually untick a box, or feedback to Twitter that they ‘don’t like this’ on certain tweets.    

Yet with the introduction of the Sparkle switch, the ‘Show me the best tweets first’ option is being retired, having been made redundant. This makes sense… but there’s a catch. When you tap the icon to switch to Latest Tweets, it will revert back to the algorithm-defined feed after a certain period of time (what they’re calling ‘Home’ of the two options.) So if you are someone who wishes to set the chronological timeline in stone, you’ll need to tap out of the algorithm timeline on each occasion.

Is this Twitter’s way of wrangling back the PR benefits? By ensuring we’re always going to be bouncing back to the algorithm ‘Top Tweets’ feed? Or is it their way of keeping the peace between the two camps of users?

We’ll have to see the reaction to this development over the Christmas period… will you be toggling to chronological? Let us know! Write to us at

Instagram Adds Music and Question Options

And last but not least, Instagram is introducing a music sharing option via the question sticker on Instagram Stories.

Here’s how Instagram explained it:

“You’ll see the new music icon when you use the questions sticker. When your friends respond, they can choose a song directly from the music library to share with you. Open the viewer’s list to see all their responses, and tap the play button to listen to the songs. When you share your favorites to your story, you’ll be able to capture a photo or video as the music plays in the background.”

Parent company Facebook has been striving to incorporate music to its apps for some time, and this option is an undeniably engaging way to do so. For instance, it will allow users to highlight their music preferences, ask for recommendations, and engage with friends who will be reacting to their own suggestions.

But that’s not all! Users can also add a range of brand new video effects within the camera – which respond to the beats and rhythms of the music! For example, the effects may pulse with the beat, offering an interesting option for users to utilise over the festive period.

Again, Instagram doesn’t stop there. It has also announced a new way in which to encourage interaction within Live Videos, with question stickers available during a broadcast.

As opposed to having a basic comment stream, Live Video users will be able to choose a question sticker which will be displayed at the bottom of the video (image to the right above.)

“People going Live can also share photos and videos from their camera roll to their Live video, so you can see behind-the-scenes content from the creators you love.”

This is a fantastic opportunity for brands, with the more professional appearance of the question sticker. It makes the Live Video option a more appealing option, engaging for Q&A products and how-to tutorials. The question will remain on screen, so new viewers are able to easily catch up on the topic being discussed, and the speaker will be able to keep track of the question theme itself.

2018 has witnessed a boom of evolution for Instagram, making it one of the leaders in social network growth. But has this caused a seesaw effect? With Instagram’s rise to the top, Facebook is increasingly on the decline. Facebook’s active user rates haven’t dramatically reduced, but a lot of users are still looking to alternative apps for fresher options. Nevertheless, being the owner of Instagram, it’s still reaping the rewards and we’ll just have to wait and see Facebook’s next move to monetise and grow Instagram even further.

…And that’s all for This Week in Social. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas!