Need to Know: September 2014

Social media is constantly changing. We know that it can be hard to keep up, so each month we’re going to provide you with a quick round-up of the latest news in the space. We stay on top of all the changes so you don’t have to.

This month, like every month, there have been a lot of changes to social media. However, there have been two massive changes/additions (ironically both by the social media giant, Facebook) that overshadow most everything else. In a departure from our typical format for this month installment, we’re going to focus on these two updates and go a bit more in-depth into what they mean for real estate.

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Facebook Messenger

First, Facebook’s move to shift all mobile users to their Messenger app. Essentially, Facebook has now mandated that any of their mobile app users will now need to download a separate Facebook Messenger app to send and receive messages from the social network. Facebook is diverting mobile message from its main app through its separate Messenger app.

If you try to send a message using the main app, you’ll now receive a notification message to download the separate Messenger app on your device instead. Now, when you click on the messenger icon through the main app, you’ll be rerouted to the separate Messenger app.

According to REALTORmag, “Facebook touts that its Messenger app boasts more features. For example, the Facebook Messenger app includes free messaging, a “selfie” button for video sharing, a quicker photo-sharing interface, and group messaging support, and is reportedly 20 percent faster and more reliable than the main app’s chat system.”

It all seems good, right? However, there’s been a huge backlash from users who are worried about the app being an invasion of privacy and that Facebook is starting a conspiracy to take over their lives starting with the simple introduction of an app that lets you talk to friends and family. Okay, that might be a slight, tiny exaggeration.

The starting point of the backlash is the permissions that Messenger requests when you first sign into the app. The app initially asks for permission to access your camera, microphone and location data. Why would they want this, you may ask? It’s fairly simple. Access to your camera will allow you to share photos, access to your microphone will allow you to share videos (the microphone is what allows your phone to record sound) and access to your location data will allow you to share your location with your friends.

No, this isn’t Facebook’s backwards way of spying on you. And the truth is that the Messenger app doesn’t request any permissions that you haven’t already given to Facebook for use of their app.

According to Mashable, “As a Facebook rep told Mashable, nothing at all has changed in its Facebook Messenger permissions. If you installed the Facebook or Facebook Messenger app in the past, you agreed to give the app the same access that a person installing the app now would receive.”

While it isn’t unusual to be creeped out by the amount of information that’s requested of you when you use the Internet or social media, the fact of the matter is that it isn’t just Facebook. If you login to any website, social network, email service on the Internet, your information is being tracked. That might sound like a conspiracy, but it’s true and it’s the world we’re living it. It’s a fact of life that you should accept if you plan on living in the digital age. Hard to hear, but true.

Instagram Hyperlapse

And second, the introduction of Instagram’s Hyperlapse app. Hyperlapse, which is now available for a free download in the Apple App Store, turns footage stored on your smartphone into time-lapse videos. Time-lapse is a video technique that captures footage at a lower frame-rate than normal.

According to Instagram, “Traditionally, time lapse videos depend on holding your phone or camera still while you film. Hyperlapse from Instagram features built-in stabilization technology that lets you create moving, handheld time lapses that result in a cinematic look, quality and feel—a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment.”

After downloading the Hyperlapse app, users can tap to record and tap again to stop. Then you can select the playback speed, making videos up to 12 times faster. Videos are then saved to the camera roll and can be shared to Instagram or Facebook from there.

What does this mean for real estate? It means that you can now create creative, interesting, high-quality home, property and neighborhood tours with nothing more than your smartphone. It takes a bit of getting used to, but considering how simple the app is to use, there’s no real barrier to entry to give it a try.

Hyperlapse presents a great opportunity for real estate agents who are looking to provide their clients with a bit of added value—now, with this app, you can offer to create interesting videos of a property with very little effort. Download Hyperlapse and give it a try!

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