Since Facebook and Instagram are going through some massive changes right now, it can be hard to keep up. Here are just a few changes to know about and some handy tips to keep you in the loop:

Facebook’s colorful updates

Have you noticed these updates in the past couple of weeks? They look something like this:

You’ve seen these types of updates on Facebook recently, right?

So, how do you make that happen? It’s pretty simple, but you need to be on a mobile device. Here are screenshots to walk you through it on an iPhone:

Go to your status update, on your mobile device.

 

Once you tap in the update window, these colored circles appear. Click each one to see which background color you prefer.

 

Once you tap in the update window, these colored circles appear. Click each one to see which background color you prefer.

 

Then click the top right corner where it says “post” and you are all updated — in a colorful way!

Instagram allows you to make “live photos” into looping videos.

There have been times when I loved the “live photo” option on my iPhone, but I had no idea how to share it beyond the “still photo” version. There is now a work around, but you need to act fairly quickly after taking your “live photo” to make use of this tool. From what I’ve encountered, this technique only works if used within 24 hours of taking the live photo.

Here is an example of a “live photo” of Glennon Doyle Melton and me taken at The Power of the Purse luncheon in Nashville. This “still photo” does not capture the moment as well as I would have liked:

Here’s the still shot, which does not show the moment off as well as the live photo, which irked me a bit. So, upon further research, I figured out how to share the live photo, in the form of a looped video.

I uploaded this photo to my Instagram story in such a way that it created a looped video (Boomerang video) that 1) became part of my Instagram story and 2) I could also download as a video into my photo library to keep forever.

Here’s what it looked like, far different than the still shot above:

Click to see the live photo in action. More engaging, right?! And, that was taken as a photo originally, not as a video, but with the live photo option (which I keep on all the time). Previously, I did not know of a way to share the action part of these types of photos. Pretty cool!

Here’s how I did it:

  • Open Instagram.
  • Click the house icon in the bottom left corner.
  • Swipe right and you are now in the Instagram story section.
  • Swipe up and your recent photos will be visible across the bottom of the screen.
  • From the selection of recent photos, choose the live photo you want by tapping on it.
  • You’ll see the photo now across your screen with options to save, add to your story or send. BUT, this is where you need to take an extra step. Hard press the photo (the center of your screen) until you see it upload (the circle going around and around) and then “Boomerang” will appear. That’s it; it’s now a live photo.
  • From here, you can download that live photo (which is now a Boomerang video) into your photo library, or upload it to your Instagram story, or send it to someone.
  • This means you can upload your live photo as an Instagram or Facebook update as well, as it now lives in the video section of your photo library.

Facebook stories and more Snapchat-like features

My brother started sending me photos via Facebook of my mom with a raccoon filter on her face last weekend. Then I got videos shared the same way, but they were of him with minion eyes and actual minions throwing bananas into his mouth. It drove me crazy as I couldn’t figure out how he did it or where on Facebook this lived. But, I figured it out and want to show you how to use this new feature. And, just so you know, the options have changed immensely in the last five days, and even since yesterday, so I expect this to change again in the next week. This is what happens when you are playing with technology as it rolls out! But, have fun with this knowing that it may be different for you than the step-by-step I’m presenting below. Even with changes, I expect this to be roughly the scenario to make these new options work:

  • Pull up Facebook on your mobile device.
  • If your screen shows you “stories” at the top, then you’ll also see “Your Story” with a “+” next to it. If so, click that. If you are confused as you are not seeing this, just click the bottom left icon and then swipe right.
  • Your screen now looks just like the Instagram screen in the section just described above, but you have extra options (which I assume will be part of Instagram in our near future). It looks very similar to what your screen looks like when you are using a camera app.
  • Flip the camera icon around so that your face appears.
  • In the bottom left corner is a magic wand icon (I have no idea what to call that icon, but I think magic wand describes it!). Click it.
  • All sorts of little pictures will appear. These are all filters that once you click, will appear over your screen, changing the way you are viewing yourself or the world around you.

Examples of the filters. Click on each one to see yourself differently. Or, turn the camera back around and add filters to the people or scenery around you. You can see the blue star in the bottom left corner. Again, things are changing almost daily on this feature, but right now this seems to mean “all filters.” If you click the mask icon, only mask filters appear. If you click the frame icon, only filters that add objects in the frame area of the photo appear. The sparkle icon shows filters similar to the Prisma app, which are the filters used in each of the above photos.

The mask filters are ones where you need to specifically have a face to make them work. Here, a moustache is automatically added to my face. Then, the minion eyes (and when I opened my mouth, bananas are thrown in!). Lastly, I swiped the filter boxes down (see the little arrow in the middle above all the filter boxes? Just swipe that down to hide them.) and then I looked up and a minion popped down! If I look to the right, a minion pops out from the right side. Several of the masks are interactive in this same way. Yes, all Snapchat users are rolling their eyes, but I assume this falls under imitation being flattery.

  • Now that you know how to add the filters, let’s start making photos and sharing.
  • When you find a filter you like, just press the camera circle in the bottom center (see above photo, the one the right side — that gray circle in the middle. Click that. When you do, the photo saves without all the added icons that you see on the screenshots above.).
  • After clicking the photo circle, you’ll have the option to share to your Facebook story or timeline, to download into your photo gallery, or to send directly to a Facebook friend.

1) On the left is screenshot of a photo I took looking out my office window. From here I can delete the photo (click the “x”), I can download the image (the icon on the lower right) or I can press the arrow for more options. 2) In the center is the screen that appears after clicking the arrow for more options. From here I can post the image to my timeline or share it on my Facebook story. I can also choose friends to directly share this image with, and then send to them by clicking the arrow on the blue button, on the lower right. 3) The image that appears will be free of all the extras that the screenshots show … just the image with whichever filter you’ve chosen.

In conclusion

Yes, there are lots of changes occurring, but pick and choose what you want to play with. Social media should just add fun, not stress to you life!

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