Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat have much more to offer than you think

Your favourite social media app has cool features that you may not be aware of


Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, but most users don’t go beyond status updates and posting selfies. Photo: iStockphoto
Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, but most users don’t go beyond status updates and posting selfies. Photo: iStockphoto

Most of us log into Facebook daily to share an update or comment on someone else’s post. We also use Twitter to follow up on developing trends and voice our opinion. Then there are Instagram and Snapchat, and while both work in very different ways, they are all about the visual element. Each of these platforms, however, has very useful, cool features we may not be using regularly—or may be oblivious of. A look at what you may be missing out on. 

Facebook

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, but most users don’t go beyond status updates and posting selfies. Here are some options that you must pay attention to. 

■ Remote logout

You just traded in your phone or laptop for a new gadget, and it suddenly dawns on you that you perhaps haven’t logged out of Facebook. This is a huge privacy and security risk as someone could get access to your posts, contacts, etc. Don’t panic, however, because Facebook has the option of logging out of separate devices remotely. Go to Settings >> Security >> Where You’re Logged In and you will be able to see the complete list of PCs and phones your Facebook account is logged in on. You will also have the option to “end activity” individually on any of them. 

■ Change the lingo

Facebook knows how to have some fun with the language. You can, for instance, go to Settings -> Language and change it to something such as English (Pirate) or English (Upside Down). It’ll be fun to read, and Ye Olde Facebook will not be the same again.

■ Who inherits your social presence?

We are all going to die. That’s a fact. Facebook has thought through this scenario and wants to ensure that your legacy doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. You can nominate a “Legacy Contact”, someone who gets control of your Facebook account after your death. You will find this option in Settings -> Security -> Legacy Contact. 

Instagram

The photo-sharing platform of choice for millennials, the app has received significant updates over the past few months. 

■ Share everywhere, instantly

Instagram allows you to connect your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and more—thus you can share whatever you post on Instagram with the linked accounts as well. For this, go to Profile -> Linked accounts, and sign in with each social media account that you wish to pair. Every time you upload a photo to Instagram, you’ll have the option of sharing on linked social networks.

■ Remove photo tags

It may not take long for one of your friends to tag you in a slightly embarrassing photo s/he has just uploaded on Instagram. The tagged photos show up in the “Photos of You” section in your profile. You have the option of removing the tag or hiding it from your profile. Tap on the offending photo, and then tap on the tag for your name. This will open a pop-up, with the option of removing the tag from a post or hiding it. 

■ Save edited images as drafts

One big shortcoming of Instagram was that you couldn’t save images you had edited for posting later. Now you can—after you have added the filters and effects, select “back” to return to the editing page, and tap the back button again. At this point, you will get two pop-up options, one for saving the image as a draft and the other for discarding it. 

Twitter

The platform of choice for anyone who has an opinion on everything.

■ Beat the 140 limit

The short 140-character message has existed from the time Twitter first arrived on the scene in 2006. However, it is sometimes hard to squeeze opinions into 140 characters. You can work around this by using a screenshot. Here is how it works—write the text you wish to share elsewhere (a notes app, for example), and take a screenshot of it. On Twitter, compose a tweet with some highlight of that text, and attach the screenshot. 

■ Add stickers to images

It was said that an image is worth a thousand words. That was before you could add stickers to the images that you share. Now an image is worth more. Twitter allows you to add a little extra zing to shared images, without extra text. Compose a tweet and then tap on the camera icon below the text window. Select the image you wish to share from the phone’s gallery and then tap the smiley face stickers icon. You can choose from a regularly updated library. Stickers can be placed anywhere on the image. 

■ GIFs to get the message across

GIF is an image format that supports animated images. Many apps now support this, including Twitter. While you can attach multiple photos to a tweet, you can attach only one GIF at present. Sometimes, these moving photos convey a message or a response perfectly, and are quite fun too. These GIFs will show up as a static image attached to your tweet on the timeline.

Snapchat

Snapchat isn’t for everyone. But the image messaging app offers additional functionality. 

■ Night-mode camera

Trying to capture a photo in a place with not the best ambient lighting is always a bit challenging. And it isn’t fun if the picture of your night out with friends comes out grainy and distorted. In Snapchat, the camera has a night-mode option. At times, the app will automatically detect the low-light scenario and you will see a half-moon icon on the screen. However, in case the app doesn’t automatically switch to night mode, try covering the camera lens with your hand for a couple of seconds, to force-start the night mode. 

■ Video and voice messages

Unlike Facebook Messenger and some other instant messaging apps, Snapchat doesn’t have full-fledged voice and video calling. But that doesn’t mean you cannot send an audio or video message to friends. You can tap the camera icon in the chat screen and record a video. Alternatively, there is a phone call icon, which you can press and hold to record an audio message of up to 30 seconds. 

■ Create customized stickers

Snapchat has a rather wide range of stickers that you can paste on your media shares. You can create a new one too. Simply take a photo or a video, and then tap on the scissor icon at the top of the screen. Shade the part that you wish to keep as a sticker. Snapchat’s algorithms will crop the image accordingly and save the objects or faces as custom stickers.

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