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It's that time of year when we start to reflect on the year, and think about highlights and top news stories. But we all know that 2020 hit differently. YouTube thinks so as well and announced it's cancelling its annual Rewind feature.

But let's start to look forward to 2021. Today, we talk about:
  • Why you may want to start practicing those vertical-video skills
  • The roll out of Vanish Mode for messages
  • And one Twitter change that's going to stick
This and more in today's e-newsletter. Read on ⬇️

 Filming on the vertical  

If there is one social media skill you may want to practice for 2021, perhaps it should be creating vertical videos. That's because this style of post — introduced by Snapchat, copied by Instagram, and tweaked by TikTok — is spreading across social media, and beyond. Even Netflix is experimenting with this style of entertainment viewing. So whether you like it or not, vertical video is now officially a thing. Let me explain. 
 The vertical-video bandwagon 
Vertical video is definitely not new. Instagram famously copied Snapchat by introducing Stories in 2016. And more recently, it launched TikTok copycat Reels in August 2020. Its parent company, Facebook, also offers "Stories." But 2020 saw a number of other platforms invest in vertical video. This includes:
Twitter Fleets (Status: Testing recently expanded to Japan)
LinkedIn Stories (Status: Active)

YouTube Shorts (Status: Being tested in India)
Pinterest Story Pins (Status: In beta testing)
 Instagram pushes Reels 
Not only are more social media platforms investing in the vertical-video trend, but some are also putting it front and centre. For example, Instagram recently announced a major update to the home screen navigation to make Reels (and Shopping) more prominent in the platform. Now Reels is a tab in the bottom navigation. That means some of the other options — such as notifications and content creation — has also moved. And while some aren't too happy about the change, to be fair, it may just be that Instagram realizes this is the future. 
 And then there's Netflix 
Netflix first embraced vertical video in 2018. But according to a recent article in TechCrunch, the company is now experimenting with a TikTok-like feed of funny content. Fast Laughs will offer short clips of comedy. It's similar to TikTok in that it is full screen, offers engagement buttons on the right-hand side, and you swipe vertically (BTW: Snapchat is also testing vertical swiping).

All of this just proves that this is a trend that can't be ignored. And while you don't need to necessarily rush out and get a TikTok account, you might want to start thinking about how to adapt your content.
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 Facebook's Vanish Mode 
Earlier this month, FB announced it would launch disappearing messages on WhatsApp. Now, it is starting to roll out a new Vanish Mode for Messenger and Instagram DMs. That means that anything you send as a one-to-one chat, including text, photos, videos, GIFs and emojis, will vanish as soon as they are viewed or when the chat window is closed. To activate it, just swipe up on an existing chat thread. Swipe up again to go back to regular chat mode.

Facebook first announced Vanish Mode as part of an October Messenger redesign. The new feature will roll out to Messenger users starting now, and will appear on Instagram at a later date, according to The Verge. In 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that private, encrypted messages were a core part of the platform's future direction, so we can likely expect to see more updates like this.
 Quote Tweets are here to stay 
It turns out that at least one measure that Twitter put in place to control the spread of misinformation during the U.S. election was so effective that the company plans to make the update permanent (at least for now). I'm talking about Quote Tweets. To recap, Twitter promoted Quote Tweets instead of Retweets during the election. The reason? To give people "an extra moment to consider why and what they were adding to the conversation," the company said in a statement. This change resulted in a 23% decrease in Retweets and a 26% increase in Quote Tweets. Twitter says it is now taking time to understand the impact of this change and "are leaving it in-place for now." While Twitter found that Quote Tweets were effective, other measures, such as removing tweet recommendations from accounts you don't follow, was not and it is reverting this change. It's also removing the requirement to provide context before showing Trends in the "For You" section.
🔴 Behind the Scenes of a TikTok Video: Weeks of Work for Seconds of Content [Wall Street Journal]

🔴 Parler, a Conservative Twitter Clone, Has Seen Nearly 1 Million Downloads Since Election Day [The Verge]

🔴 YouTube Copies Spotify's 'Daily Mixes' With Its New 'My Mix' Feature [TechCrunch]

🔴 WhatsApp Makes Shopping Within Its App Easier [Engadget]

🔴 The Trump Administration Gave TikTok More Time to Reach a Deal [NY Times]
 Welcoming a new addition to Instagram 
Harry Potter fans will be happy to know that Rupert Grint has joined Instagram. But wait, there's more! Grint (aka, Ron Weasley) debuted on Instagram with a post introducing his daughter. More than 2.9 million people liked the post, and he currently has 3.2 million followers. Not too bad for just joining. And in case you're wondering, Daniel Radcliffe is still not on Instagram (at least not yet 😉).
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