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Welcome back to another Smorgasbord of Social Media, your weekly roundup of all things social. This week, Facebook and Twitter are expanding their content options and YouTube is giving users the option to go ads-free.


Forget Phone Numbers

Facebook wants to replace phone calls and text messages with messenger. The latest way Facebook is attempting this is by making it possible to contact any Facebook user by their name.

Previously, one needed to be friends (or friends of friends) with the one they were messaging, or their message would appear in a practically invisible “other” section of messages. Users could also pay $1 to bypass the “other” section. Now Facebook is getting rid of the “other” section and messages from users who aren’t your friends will show up as message requests.



Twitter Polls

Twitter users will soon be able to create polls within the platform!

“Over the next few days, we’re rolling out the ability to create polls on iOS, Android, and on desktop at twitter.com. Once you see the poll icon shown above in the compose box, give it a try and create your own poll!”

Previously, users were able to tweet questions and receive replies, tally hashtagged votes, or ask followers to vote via RT. Now users will be able to create a two-option poll, which will remain live for 24 hours. Anyone can vote on any poll and your response is not publically shared.




Last week Instagram launched Boomerang, a new video app that lets you take a burst of photos and turn them into a short 1-second gif-like video that plays forward and back. Although Boomerang offers no unique capability, as similar apps already exist, several businesses (Refinery 29, Benefit Cosmetics, and Plated) have already adopted Boomerang to create new content.



YouTube Red

YouTube is launching their new subscription service, YouTube Red, which allows users to enjoy YouTube videos without ads for $9.99 a month. Copying the similar subscription model of Spotify or Pandora, YouTube Red also allows users to save videos to watch offline on smart phones or tablets, and allows the audio portion of a video to play in the background if you’re answering a text, for example.

Aiming to become something like a Hulu or Netflix, YouTube will grant YouTube Red subscribers access to new original content from successful YouTube “stars” paired with some of Hollywood’s finest.



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