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Social Closeness: How Instagram Live and augmented reality give readers personal connections and enhanced interactions

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Social Closeness: How Instagram Live and augmented reality give readers personal connections and enhanced interactions

By Debbie Goh

 

“COVID-19 and the virus quarantine have forced us to do a lot of communication through the video screen and augmented reality has become this pervasive technology we don’t even question,” said Emmanuel Lusinchi, Facebook’s platform partner engineering manager.

Using the example of Zoom, Lusinchi said: “We often use augmented reality to change the background to something more interesting. This is really how augmented reality is coming into our lives.”
 
Engagement on Instagram Live has also soared to unexpected levels for all types of accounts during the pandemic, said Nicci Meek, strategic partner manager at Instagram APAC.

From March to April this year, Instagram saw an unprecedented usage of Live allowing users to connect in real time, authentically with their followers.
 
“Instagram is a platform where people are coming to connect so when they are able to hear human stories, that’s where we saw the space really come alive,” said Meek.
 
Meek and Lusinchi were speaking at the Asian Media Leaders eSummit, where they shared ideas on how publishers can develop their Instagram strategies and accelerate the adoption of augmented reality.

 

Print - “a great base for AR”
 
“Print media can really serve as a great base for augmented reality,” said Lusinchi. He added that smartphones today are very competent for augmenting printed surfaces, and publishers can take advantage of this to provide readers a digital experience that is superior to the real item.

  Make magic with AR: the technology can augment printed surfaces to provide readers a digital experience superior to original medium, says Facebook’s platform partner engineering manager, Emmanuel Lusinchi.Make magic with AR: the technology can augment printed surfaces to provide readers a digital experience superior to original medium, says Facebook’s platform partner engineering manager, Emmanuel Lusinchi.

Describing an AR-enhanced magazine, he said: “You look at the cover of the magazine and you look at your cell phone and the person on the cover turns around and starts talking to you. That’s not something you expect, that’s not the normal behaviour of a magazine, and this is a real magical moment.”
 
Publishers can also use AR to make advertisements in their media popular, said Lusinchi. “If the effect is entertaining enough, if it helps users express something about themselves, something that is sharable, they will start to share it.”
 
Because people are looking to share and connect experiences, Instagram Live will do well for news, said Meek.
 
It is highly personal and people will feel like they are chatting with a journalist in that exact present moment, she said. She added that with one in six Instagram accounts following a publisher, engaging with people in the digital space is more important than ever.

 

Program for the under-25s
 
Meek recommended programming for readers who are 18-24, and even 13-17, and offered three tips:
 

1.     Put a face to it
 
The most followed accounts on Instagram are about people. Showing high-reach posts from @nowthisnews, @omarcnn and @nyt during the George Floyd protests, Meek said the posts “took protests of very heavy content and put a face to it.”
 
“Where you’re able to, put a face to your account or that of somebody readers need to know,” she said.
 

2.     Design for sharing
 
Publishers need to design their posts so that they are worth sharing. Memes, for example, get shared seven times more than other content on Instagram. Examples of posts that saw high interaction rates included a headline card from @r29unbothered and a service journalism post from @seventeen.

@r29unbothered is Refinery29's Instagram channel made for and by Black Millenial women celebrating their strength, beauty and power.@r29unbothered is Refinery29's Instagram channel made for and by Black Millenial women celebrating their strength, beauty and power.

 

@seventeen is the Instagram channel of American bi-monthly teen magazine, Seventeen, which debuted in 1944.@seventeen is the Instagram channel of American bi-monthly teen magazine, Seventeen, which debuted in 1944.

“Every one of these is extremely full of information, super newsworthy, and allows us to click and find out more,” Meek said.
 

3.     Invest in Community
 
Invest in building communities on Instagram. The entire platform runs on two-way interactions, Meek said. Notable examples include American filmmaker Ava DuVernay hosting a Live screening and conversation on her Netflix series, “When They See Us,” and Bon Appetit’s Live dinner party to raise funds for restaurants struggling through the pandemic.
 
She also advised publishers to be consistent.
 
“Don’t try to overwhelm yourself by doing all of this if it is not sustainable to your account. Think of a rhythm that makes sense and do it really regularly,” she said.
 
 
About the author: Debbie Goh, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Culture, Media & Performance at the California University of Pennsylvania.

Author

Date

2020-07-28 15:54


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