Our senior digital strategist Boyd Neil is back to recap the need-to-know social web updates announced within the first few weeks of the New Year.

For Part 3 of his possibly never-ending segment, Boyd summarizes the newest news to hit our screens, making it a little easier to keep up. Follow this link for Parts 1 and 2. 

Three weeks or so into the year and the social web ecosystem is, as the British say, hotting up.

That is, possibly with the exception of Google+, which may be heading for the social web equivalent of Trotsky’s the ‘dustbin of history’ if numbers complied by Edward Mobius on Ello are accurate.

Mobius’s conclusion—”0.3% of all G+ profiles, about 6.6 million users, have made (a) public G+ post in 2015.”

My conclusion—for all the SEO benefits of G+, its easy interface and a sense of uncommonness these aren’t money-making numbers. Will this be the year Google stops defending Google+?

Now to ecosystem progress:

  1. Right after the holidays, Twitter announced the release of its “While You Were Away” feature that highlights things in your timeline that its algorithm thinks you might want to see but have missed. it’s not without its critics, including Matthew Ingram and others who like the algorithm-free “serendipity” of old Twitter.
  2. By many accounts, messaging apps will be to 2015 what storytellng was to 2014. Facebook’s WhatsApp is now available in a desktop version. An interesting side note to this is that one of WhatsApp’s strengths is its relative security. The question, then, is whether the desktop version will be as secure. (The other question, of course, is what’s the story behind the fact that it is not available of iOS phones.)
  3. Another messaging app took steps this week to move beyond its founding raison d’etre. Snapchat launched its advertising-supported ‘Discovery’ with the goal of turning “itself into a platform for content, much of it provided by publisher partners such as ESPN, CNN, Vice and Warner Music.” (Snapchat introduced ads in October 2014.)
  4. Social media scientist Dan Zarrella introduced PicStat this week. It’s a rough ands easy-to-use Instagram analytics tool that proves he point that this year will see advances in visual “listening” and analysis.

This post was originally published by Boyd Neil on his personal website on January 27, 2015.