Peggy K's Creator Weekly: YouTube Podcasts, Meta Paid Verification, AdSense Sites Management
The question this week is “Would you pay to use social media?” Plus more tools for podcasters on YouTube, an update to AdSense Sites management, expanded access to Google Photos cool editing tools, and more.
Podcasts on YouTube
YouTube is also testing the ability to create and get analytics for Podcast playlists in YouTube Studio. According to a spokesperson, “Podcast playlists will be eligible for current and upcoming podcast features on YouTube, such as eligibility for youtube.com/podcasts, podcast badging, and inclusion in the YouTube Music app.”
It is not clear how this will affect (or be integrated with) the current Google Podcasts (podcasts.google.com).
You gotta pay to play
Meta is testing a new paid option for “up and coming creators” that includes an identity verification checkmark (so actual verification) on Facebook and Instagram, human direct support, exclusive stickers Stories and Reels for and “increased visibility and reach” in search, comments and recommendations.
On the one hand, if you are a wanna-be influencer or promoting a cause, how could you resist spending $12 per month to increase the likelihood of your content being seen?
On the other hand, this seems like it would have pretty limited appeal, outside of “influencers”.
It’s interesting to compare Meta’s offering to a Twitter Blue subscription. It comes with an “able to pay” verified checkmark. And just like Meta, one of the selling points is that your Tweets should be more visible, with “prioritized rankings in conversations” and enhanced visibility on other people’s notifications page “Verified” tab.
You also get access to new platform features like Tweet editing, Tweets up to 4000 characters, longer video uploads and (“coming soon”) only half the ads.
If you are a hard-core Twitter user, or Tweet for your business, that might be worth the monthly charge.
But I wonder what is going to happen in the long term. Will payment eventually be required for your posts or Tweets or Reels to ensure your followers see your content? And will other social media platforms follow suit?
I suspect that if there is wide-spread adoption it’s going to make Instagram and Facebook and Twitter less interesting as a result.
YouTube and Video
YouTube is expanding availability of multi-language audio to more creators. Additional audio tracks can be uploaded using the Subtitles Editor Tool.
There is a new Managing Moderator role for YouTube live chat. You can designate a current live chat moderator as a managing moderator. Managing moderators can manage blocked words, change chat modes in Live, remove and review chat messages, and hide or put users in timeout.
Tumblr Live is now available on the web. It requires third party streaming software like OBS.
AdSense is updating Sites Management. Starting March 20, you will no longer be able to add or separately manage subdomains that are part of an existing site. This does not affect sites managed by AdSense Platform Partners, such as Blogger blogspot.com sites. There will also be an updated look and feel to the Sites tab, and improved website review times.
Free Weebly accounts will no longer include the ability to add a custom domain starting March 14. I haven’t found a clear announcement of this change, but there is a lot of chatter about it, and the pricing page indicates at least a “Personal” ($10 per month) Weebly account is required.
Google Photos enhanced editing options are now available for all Google One subscribers and Pixel phones. That includes Magic Eraser, HDR effects on videos, special collage designs and free shipping on photo books in the US, Canada, UK and European Union..
Microsoft’s “Prometheus” combines Bing index, ranking and answers results with OpenAI’s most advanced GPT models. And Microsoft’s search team is working to improve the user experience, understanding when a chatbot versus search results are appropriate.
Pinterest explained how they are trying to engineer a “positive place online”. They say their business model is emotional wellbeing, and have a study that backs up that what they are doing works. And what are they doing? They train their algorithms on positive actions (like saves), rather than emphasizing views; they have introduced inclusive features like searching by skin tone or hair pattern; and craft policies aimed to protect teens mental health.
Facebook is updating their penalty system to provide more information to users about why their content was removed. They will now typically apply account restrictions after the seventh violation (which seems pretty generous), except for the most serious violations. These changes were prompted by recommendations from Facebook’s Oversight Board.
If you don’t follow the Romance community on Twitter, you may have missed the drama around new Twitter-alternative Spoutible. It was noted that its adult content policy is vague and problematic (is it allowed to discuss Romance novels? What about sexual abuse?), and site founder Christopher Bouzy was asked for clarification. Instead of clarifying, he seems to have taken it personally and posted that those asking questions were “trying to ruin it”, and directed some abuse at those asking. Not a good sign.
Social Media: Twitter
Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer’s latest look at Twitter notes that, among other issues, Twitter’s performance has been degrading. I’ve noticed it myself, with my Twitter feed requiring multiple manual refreshes to see the latest Tweets. I thought this was interesting:
But it’s not only big external events that can cause the platform to become slower or less stable. When a user takes their account private, Twitter’s systems have to go through every single tweet in the account’s history and mark them as private, before making those tweets visible to the private account’s followers.
So when Musk made his own account private (to try to understand if that was related to the decreased engagement on his Tweets), that caused “significant latency issues” for Twitter users.
Also, amidst new layoffs in Twitter engineering and sales teams, Musk has declared Twitter search ads should be contextual, like in Google Search — with a one week deadline. A number of people with experience in advertising on social media platforms (including ex-Twitter employees) have noted that even if Twitter is able to implement this in a week, it’s not likely to be successful because people search for current events and topics on Twitter, not things they are likely to want to buy.
Header image background: Daffodils by PatternPictures on Pixabay (via Canva). Free for commercial use.