YouTube Shorts rolls out globally
Look out TikTok, YouTube Shorts is making moves. First launched in India last year, the feature is now available around the world. For creators, Shorts has the exciting offering of YouTube’s massive library of audio content, which can be inserted into their short-form videos. Other than that, the feature is remarkably similar to TikTok, boasting timers, countdowns, filters and effects. With TikTok now branching out to include longer-form videos, it’ll be interesting to see if Shorts succeeds or *ahem* falls short.

Twitter shuts down Fleets
Fleets made a fleeting visit to Twitter, with the platform making the decision to shut down the feature due to low usage. Fleets were Twitter’s answer to Stories, with the feature first appearing in testing in March 2020. But unlike Stories on Snapchat and Instagram, Fleets never found its footing on the platform, with several technical glitches and a lack of virality causing its downfall. Adios, Fleets!

Clubhouse ventures beyond audio with Backchannel
DMs have arrived on Clubhouse, giving users an alternative to its audio offering. The platform has named the new feature ‘Backchannel,’ with the system offering both one-on-one messaging and group chat. Speakers can organise it in advance or coordinate live through messaging while running a Room. For those suffering from stage fright, Backchannel allows the audience to ask text-based questions, which will allow more timid users the opportunity to engage in conversation.

How to send a direct message in Clubhouse using Backchannel

Twitter is letting you choose who can reply to your tweets
Fed up with your aunt leaving cringe comments on your tweets? You can now change who can reply to a tweet after you have posted it. Prior to this update, you could limit who replied to your content, but this preference had to be set while writing a tweet. To change who can reply now, click or tap the three-dot menu on a tweet and look for the option in the menu that appears. You can make it so that everyone can reply, only people you follow can reply, or only people you mention in your tweet can reply. This is bound to be handy when it comes to reducing harassment on the platform, allowing users more control over the responses and reactions to their content.

Twitter adds captions to voice tweets
We’ve seen several small wins for accessibility on social media over the past year, and now Twitter is making this a priority, by adding captions to voice tweets. Having been available for over a year now, this is undoubtedly a delayed move from the platform, which has previously drawn criticism for its lack of captions. To see captions on a tweet, you can click on the CC icon on the top-right corner of the voice tweet window. You'll only be able to use this feature on new voice tweets, so any older content will still remain without captions.

Twitter adds captions for voice tweets

Exclusive TED chats are coming to Clubhouse
An exciting partnership has been struck between Clubhouse and TED, bringing exclusive conversations to the social audio platform throughout summer and beyond. Under the deal, TED is free to sell brand partnerships or ads, without Clubhouse taking a cut. Rooms will be run weekly at 11am ET on Mondays, with last week’s chat called ‘Thank Your Ass Off.’ The partnership is a big win for Clubhouse, who will benefit from the buzz that TED talks often accumulate, drawing new punters to the platform.

Google redesigns its emojis to be more universal
Emojis have come a long way since the early noughties, covering a wide array of topics and themes. However, Google has reviewed its designs to be more universal and authentic, ensuring users across the world can relate to and use the images. Tweaks made include the pie emoji looking less like an American pumpkin pie and more like a general fruit pie, and the facemask emoji now shows a face with eyes open, rather than an ill-looking person.