Social media has come a long way from the days of MySpace (News - Alert) and Friendster. Now, the combination of social media and mobile devices has skyrocketed the usage of both smartphones and tablets in our everyday lives. In just a year, social app usage has increased among mobile users by 76 percent, and users are spending more than seven times as many minutes on apps than on the mobile Web. Consumers are still using computers most often for social media use – 94 percent of people use PCs -- but other devices are also increasing, such as tablets.
The growth in both mobile devices and social media brings consumers more than just the popular Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert) and Instagram apps. Developers and innovators are introducing new apps everyday that enhance already-existing social apps and improve the social mobile experience.
Image via Snapchat
Even though Snapchat has taken some flak in the past for being a platform that enables underage sexting and nude photos (the photos self-delete, so there is supposedly no way to recover the photos, although many reports have discovered ways the app isn’t so foolproof), it is rapidly becoming a platform for users to communicate with each other and share updates throughout the day. Just in June 2013, 18.6 percent of all iPhone (News - Alert) users used Snapchat, making it the ninth-most popular iPhone app in terms of usage. That’s still a long way behind Facebook (72.5 percent of iPhone owners) and Instagram (36.6 percent of iPhone users), but it’s still a pretty dominant position to hold – Snapchat users share more than 200 million snaps every day.
The app joined the video sharing game in December as it introduced video capabilities as well as photo sharing. Users can take up to 10-second videos and, just like photo snaps, can only be viewed once via the app.
“The image might be a little grainy, and you may not look your best, but that's the point. It's about the moment, a connection between friends, and not just a pretty picture,” the company’s website reads. “The allure of fleeting messages reminds us about the beauty of friendship - we don't need a reason to stay in touch.”
Image via Google (News - Alert) Play
The point of this app is simple: it allows you to resize images so they look the way you want them to in Instagram. Sometimes you take a photo on your smartphone and want to show the entire frame in your Instagram post, but sometimes the crop feature when uploading a photo to Instagram doesn’t allow you to do so. You’re limited to the designated square size, and can only really zoom in on a photo. InstaSize allows you to upload a photo, add a colored or patterned backgrounds (for more money, better backgrounds) and then upload straight to Instagram to continue with the photo editing process. Easy, breezy and helpful for shots like landscapes, portraits within landscapes and other photos where you just want to customize the parts of the photo you are and are not including in your Instagram post.
Image via GifBoom
You’ve heard of Vine, you’ve heard of Instagram and you may have heard of Viddy, but why have you never used GifBoom? This app is legit. You can record right from the app, which turns up to 60 photos into to GIFs, or you can select photos from your phone’s photo library. You can add filters, frames, text and music, and you can adjust the speed of the GIF and crop its size. Scrolling through the “Popular” feed, I can tell this looks like a popular platform for teenagers and selfies, but there are really, really awesome GIFs in the mix. You can upload photo collages to make multiple moving GIFs in a single file, or have a GIF overlap another one. The outlet for creativity is crazy -- a lot more than what is offered on Vine or Instagram video, for sure. In the world of popular GIF-inspired articles (See: BuzzFeed) and social media networks featuring video, this app looks like it will fit in just fine.
Here’s a GIF I made quickly just testing out some of these capabilities:
Image via FullContact
Last but not least is IFTTT, or If This Then That. The service powers many behind-the-scenes processes it calls “recipes.” All users have to do is specify the “This” and the “that” of your equation to create your own recipe. For example, there’s a recipe for if you upload a photo to Instagram (this) then it will automatically share a link on your Twitter account (that). You can ask IFTTT to save all of the photos you upload to Flickr to Dropbox (News - Alert), send a tweet when you post something on your blog, save e-mail attachments to Dropbox or send you an SMS message whenever you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook.
The recipes are totally customizable. A quick browse through recipes shows options for emailing $0.99 movie of the week on iTunes, e-mailing if there’s an iOS 7 update, backing up my contacts to a Google Spreadsheet, sending me an SMS with National Geographic’s Photo of the Day and more.
It’s a great tool, especially in today’s world of so many different channels, networks and accounts. It thrives on tiny, yet tedious, tasks you probably do without even realizing it. The service describes itself as a “digital duct tape” that helps anyone create time-saving shortcuts. It also just released this week as an available app on iOS, so be sure to download it and get cooking! (With recipes…get it?)