Instagram tests a new standalone messaging app called Direct
DM sliders, Instagram has taken your game (or lack thereof?) to a whole new level. What started as a photo-sharing app is now testing a standalone app for private messaging called Direct, which if you install causes the inbox in the original Instagram app to disappear. It is available in only six countries so far - Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay. The rationale being that Instagram could never produce a 'best in class' messaging app when it is inside an app designed for broadcasting publicly. Pretty sure its power users are more concerned with ass than class, so we'll see if this takes off. To convolute things even more, Facebook is also testing a feature in Messenger that lets users import their contacts from Instagram. Confused yet 🙃?

Instagram introduces Story Highlights and Archive
Instagram has introduced two new features that make its disappearing Stories less...disappear-y. Now after Stories expire, they will automatically be saved to an archive that handily doesn't take up room on your phone. See ya never, camera roll. Also, you can now pin your 'highlights' to your profile page, so people can explore your best brunches and dog tricks for more than one day.

Did you know about Did You Know...?

Facebook rolled out a new feature called 'Did You Know?', which encourages people to answer questions about themselves that they can then share with their friends. Answers can be customised with background colours, patterns and photos. Once they're shared, friends can chip in their thoughts on your answers, too.

Facebook celebrates a year of Instant Games with new games and features
How time flies when you're gaming your little fingers off. Facebook is celebrating a year of Instant Games in Messenger by announcing that it'll be introducing Angry Birds to the platform in early 2018. Along with this, you'll be able to live stream your playing to your friends (if you think that'll be interesting to them ...) and also start a video chat with your gaming buddies while you're playing. The first game this will be possible with is Words With Friends.

FBInstantGamesOneYearVideo from SocialTimes on Vimeo.

Pinterest launches a Facebook Messenger bot
Pinterest has launched a Facebook bot to power Pin searches, which means that any pin shared in Facebook Messenger will now automatically link to the Pinterest chat extension. The chat extension is meant to be used when brainstorming ideas with friends in group chat. The bot will suggest related ideas if users share a Pin and, according to Pinterest, over one million Pins are shared per week this way.

The longer, the better
That's what she said (in a DM...). Ok, bad joke, but good update from Twitter who, back in November, doubled its character limit from 140 to 280. Just a month later, they're happy to report users are loving it. SocialFlow tracked over 30,000 tweets between November and December and found that tweets longer than 140 characters were being retweeted 26.52 times on average, as compared with 13.71 times for shorter ones. The same applied to post likes, with longer tweets receiving more likes on average. Community managers, rejoice!

This post courtesy of @ohmychristiee