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Tinder Icon surrounded by music notes at festival

Spark Bites: Social Media Updates for Communities and Festival Flings

The world is full of unique individuals, but everyone should feel like they belong to some kind of community. This week on Spark Bites, we’re looking at the cool new features that are aiming to bring that community to you via your trusty mobile device! Facebook is strengthening community ties in its biggest redesign to date, Spotify is bringing back the radio experience with its new app, Twitter is bringing the Twittersphere together one reaction at a time, and Tinder is connecting you with your potential festival fling. The only catch? If you want access to these changes now, you may need to pack your bags and make that overseas trip you’ve always dreamed of a bit sooner than expected. A lot of these new updates are being tested exclusively in Australia and Europe before they’ll be available at your fingertips in the North American App and Play stores.

But since we’re feeling generous, we’ll save you that costly plane ticket fare and let you in on the details of these new community-building features that will strengthen your global ties on social media from the comfort of your own screen.

Spotify

Picture this: it’s 2005 and that one CD you love is scratched and keeps skipping, so you turn on the FM radio. Ahh, the indie top 20.

Remember when listening to music was as easy as turning on the radio and listening? With all these music streaming services and the abundance of choice these days, quite frankly, we just want someone else to put on some good music and expand our palate so we can then steal the credit and recommend it to our friends.

To that end, Spotify has launched a new experiment: a listening station exclusively in Australia for iOS, which allows users to “jump right into streaming instead of having to curate their own playlists or stations or save favorite music to their library.”

The Stations app features a minimalist interface where users can scroll between playlists based on genre, decade, artists, etc. They can also rate each track a thumbs up or down (just like regular Spotify), which makes the stations personalized with continued use. Think a modern version of the Pandora streaming service.

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Instagram

It seems like Instagram is going incognito these days.

The platform has already started hiding likes in certain regions, but rumor has it that a new feature is rolling out that will allow followers to have a private group chat outside of the typical direct messaging box.

This new sticker feature will allow followers to join a private group chat directly from someone else’s story. Just in case voting, polls, and question stickers weren’t enough for you, Instagram really wants you to have a more personal connection with your followers and following. Thanks, Instagram!

Facebook

Facebook is like that one endearing mom that wants to keep up with the trends.

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During the most recent F8 conference, the social media giant discussed plans of a complete interface redesign called “FB5”.

The new facelift is scrapping the majority of the blue tones on the desktop version, instead opting for a more modern, minimalistic news feed. It also emphasizes the Groups feature and the Marketplace—social media’s version of a yard sale (you never know what to expect).

One last thing that Facebook announced at the conference is that it’s striving towards a private, encrypted future. We can expect the company to announce many more initiatives this year that are driving towards that goal. So don’t worry: your private meme chats will continue to be confidential information.

Twitter 

Remember when Twitter was restricted to shady subtweeting with frog and tea emojis? Well, now you can level that up with a GIF, photo, or video. Previously, quote-tweeting (which is adding additional commentary to someone else’s tweet) was restricted to text-only.

Twitter is now allowing more ways to express your opinion, thoughts, and your somewhat shady comments with media, so we expect nothing but hilarious commentary on our feed from this point on.

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Tinder

If you go to music festivals and concerts solely for the music… well, you might not need this next update from Tinder.

With the rise of “Coachella culture” in the past few years, music festivals have become the stomping grounds for Instagram influencers and fashion icons. Now, Tinder is taking advantage of these huge social events in its attempt to appeal to a younger demographic. Your favorite time-killing pastime (besides that fidget spinner you were obsessed with in 2017) is adding a new feature exclusively in Australia and the UK. Tinder has created the “Festival Mode” feature to help single people mingle and bond over their love for music.

Festival Mode will allow Tinder users to display an event-specific badge approximately three weeks before the actual concert date, so mentally prepare yourself for all the possible we-almost-dated interactions you may run into at the event. No judgment if you suddenly “have to meet up with other friends” during the festival and ditch your Tinder match… there are plenty of fish in the sea. Now THIS is modern dating, people!

In addition to the festival badge feature on Tinder profiles, the dating app also plans on introducing a Tinder U badge, specifically made for university-affiliated events and college students. So students, keep an eye out…

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And that’s the scoop on this week’s social media updates, Spark Biters! Now go make some new connections this weekend and start that overseas vacation fund if you’re oh-so-eager.

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Sophie Peralta
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