Video is king in today’s social media world

Published November 10, 2021, 10:00 AM

by Jules Vivas

The latest updates on some of the biggest social networking platforms

WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL WORLD Wade Watts in VR gear in the movie Ready Player One

The internet is ever-evolving, more so now that we are heavily reliant on the digital space due to the ongoing pandemic. Plagued by the airborne virus, we consider online as the safest way to connect with other people and to go on with our everyday lives.

And the hottest buzzword to arrest the tech industry’s imagination: Metaverse, thanks to Facebook’s recent company name change to Meta Platforms Inc., Meta for short.

Metaverse merges the terms meta and universe, with the former being the Greek prefix that means “beyond, behind, or across.” It connotes to a location that exists in the virtual realm but seems real, a concept that’s been toyed around with since the films Ready Player One and, even way before that, The Matrix.

From this rebrand, one can surmise that Meta is getting more serious with regards to their venture in virtual reality (VR)—such is the direction tech giants such as Google, Viber, and video games have been following for quite some time now. The social platform, even when it was still Facebook, had acquired Oculus, a VR devices and services company, back in 2014 with a vision to connect the world in a more meaningful way. So yes, it’s only a matter of time before we start speaking with or seeing each other online via VR chat using 3D avatars.

IG VIDEOS The interface of Instagram Reels

But that’s the future. What currently dominates online socials is short-form video. Every few years, a new application or software redefines the way we utilize social media. The zeitgeist of culture in 2021 is video-sharing.

It started with TikTok, which incorporates music, lip sync videos, comedy, and micro-blog content in an easy-to-use and highly entertaining platform. The fastest growing social media app to date, there is an estimated 1.1 billion users across the globe, and 80 million active monthly users from the US alone. It was inevitable that other major social media platforms follow suit.

In the Philippines, Meta officially launched Instagram Reels at the end of October. The new experience allows users to produce and edit up to 60-second short-form videos, which can be shared through Instagram stories, direct messages, news feeds, and the new Reels tab, presenting yet another opportunity to be a content creator on an international stage.

Filipinos can now find Reels via the IG camera. One may opt to film videos directly on it or use a saved video from camera roll, and then edit via Reels. Currently, the latest video editing tool has creative features such as Speed to slow down or speed up footage; Timer and Countdown, with the former to record any clip hands-free, and the latter, a three-second delay before recording; Timed Text and Stickers, which lets users add text or stickers at certain points of the video; Align, which is a guide that lets creators’ line up objects from previous clips for seamless transitions; and Touch-Up, a smoothing effect.

“We are continuously listening to and taking inspiration from what our community wants. They’re telling us that in addition to all the ways to share video, they want the opportunity to make and watch short-form, edited videos that entertain, and to be a creator on a global stage with a bigger and diverse audience,” says Erin Pettigrew, product manager at Reels. “We see Reels as a core part of the future of entertainment on Instagram, and we are excited to give people in the Philippines new ways to express their authentic selves through Reels.”

Also rolled out is a full suite of music features on both Facebook and Instagram, particularly the expansion of the audio library for user-generated content with licensed music, music stickers and lyrics for both platforms, and music on Facebook profiles.

DO THE IMPOSSIBLE Keany Reeves as Neo doing the impossible from the film The Matrix Reloaded

“We bring music into all of the places people already are sharing and connecting,” says Revie Sylviana, entertainment partnerships director, Philippines. “This makes our opportunity with ‘Music’ even more distinct: we work with our music partners to build social music opportunities for artists, writers, music lovers, and people across our family of apps—in particular, Facebook and Instagram.”

‘We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?’

― Erik Qualman

The introduction of Music in the country was made possible through a partnership with the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP). “How people listen to and express themselves through music is ever-changing in today’s world. Facebook and Instagram music features definitely provide more space for music creators to celebrate their art and express themselves through music,” says Arturo Lui Pio, president of FILSCAP. “We are excited that by partnering with Facebook, music creators will be able to reach more audiences and inspire them with stories told through the art of music. Together, we will continue to support the development and promotion of the Filipino music industry.”

BE A CONTENT PRODUCER Viber Lens Create call for entries

On the other hand, Rakuten Viber is calling for entries to LENS Create, a virtual search for the next Lens design. If one recalls, launched in the Philippines last August was the Lenses, a new feature of the messaging software that adds the magic of augmented reality (AR) to its in-app camera, allowing for more expressive, quirky, and creative communication. AR filters featuring funny faces, animal masks, Viber characters, and seasonal Lenses are included in this short-form editing tool as well.

Those who want to join the contest may submit artworks to the official Lens Create Community and garner as many likes as possible. Judging the program is muralist, illustrator, and Viber Lens designer Jappy Agoncillo, along with the Rakuten Viber creative team. A total of ₱100,000 worth of prizes will be given out.

Winners will also receive tools, resources, and special offers from the design and online education platforms to develop their craft and hone their passion for the arts. Selected designs will be turned into Lenses and will be pinned as featured Lenses for up to two weeks.

“Viber has always created ways for our users to express themselves—from making our app as safe and secure as possible to offering features like Lens,” says Chris Aguilar, the marketing lead at Viber Philippines. “We hope through the LENS Create contest Viber is giving local artists and designers a platform to express their creativity and more opportunities to share their works with millions of our users across the world. We are happy to have partnered with local artists like Jappy Agoncillo, Anina Rubio, and Leeroy New for exciting new Viber Lenses for our customers.”

Entries may now be submitted to the Lens Create community. The first batch of winners will be announced on Nov. 15 and these user-created designs will be available as Lenses on the Nov. 29.

Scan the code to join the Lens Create community and send in your submission.