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Instagram to Launch TikTok Competitor in August

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One of the rising stars of the COVID era has been TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-sharing app that’s enchanted teens and young adults, while causing privacy concerns for our nation’s leaders.

But American-owned Instagram announced this week that it will launch a competitor by early August. The new feature, called Reels, is almost identical to TikTok.

What will Reels offer?

Reels will be a feature embedded in the Instagram app. Users will be able to access it by clicking a new icon at the bottom of the screen. They will then be able to create a 15-second video with their choice of music from a large library of songs. Instagram already compiled this wide songbook of licensed music before the launch of the popular Stories feature. But in terms of user interface, Reels will look nearly identical to TikTok.

The major difference from the Chinese prototype is that posts on Reels will disappear when the story expires. TikTok, on the other hand, allows users to revisit videos permanently. If creators want to save their videos on Reels, they’ll have to add them to their profile.

Rolling Out the Feature

Reels will be available in the U.S. and 50 other countries by early August. It first launched last year in Brazil, and has also had trial runs in Germany and France. Additionally, Reels is available in India, which was TikTok’s second-largest market until its government banned the app last month over cybersecurity concerns.

If you are a casual Instagram user and are not looking forward to the inevitable avalanche of Reels stories, fear not. You can mute these stories by clicking a circular icon at the top of the home screen and holding down until a pop-up appears. Select “mute,” then “mute story.”

There are also rumors of a potential Reels app that is separate from the main Instagram app. This would be an attempt to recreate the TikTok experience.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Reels will not be the first time that Instagram, which is a subsidiary of Facebook, has stolen popular features from other apps. Stories were originally a function of Snapchat, before Instagram recreated the feature and, using the same name. The move ultimately benefitted Instagram, as many users abandoned Snapchat for Instagram’s version of the Stories feature.

In 2018, Facebook created an app called Lasso with many of the same functions as TikTok. But Lasso never gained much steam. Facebook is now dismantling the app to make way for Reels.

American Future?

The timing of the Reels launch is not insignificant. Just this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the White House might ban TikTok in the US over privacy concerns. The app, which is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, collects data from its users, many of whom are minors. Fears have now mounted in the States that the Chinese government has easy access to these data. If a TikTok ban is on the horizon, Reels will be waiting in the wings.

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Business

The Truth About Time Management: It’s Not About Time

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We’ve all heard the expression, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” In truth, we’ve likely all said it at some point. Time management is a struggle for everybody, but especially entrepreneurs, CEOs, and founders.

Interestingly, some people seem to get more out of our 24 hours each day than others. As author Idowu Koyenikan said, the key to making the most of our hours isn’t time management—it’s life management. People who do it successfully balance the things they love with tasks they need to complete to maintain a well-rounded, satisfying life.

To-do lists or any one of the countless books on time management can help you achieve this balance, but things will eventually fall apart unless you make a habit of productivity—and stick to it. This might mean writing down your top priorities for the day or week, using a productivity app, or creating a plan that works best.

The Truth About Time Management for CEOs

When it comes to time management skills and techniques, business leaders are among the worst offenders. This typically happens because of the nature of leadership positions. These individuals are driven by the feeling that they have to do everything or have all the answers. On average, they’re also responsible for a lot: CEOs work 9.7 hours per weekday and spend 79 percent of weekend days and 70 percent of their vacation days working.

Success doesn’t come from adding countless tasks to your calendar and putting in the longest possible hours. It comes from purposeful, intentional work, which means managing your time more effectively to focus on what matters. To get there, business leaders have to reset their time-management expectations.

Only using productivity tools doesn’t lead to better time management—developing concrete time-management skills does.

How Are You Managing Your Time?

While CEOs and business leaders have countless resources at their disposal, they frequently lack time. Here are four steps to improve your time-management skills and techniques to maximize the time you do have: continue reading…

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Why You Should Have A Website And Not Just Rely On Social Media

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No one could have predicted just how revolutionary social media would be when MySpace started gaining followers in the early 2000s. Even in 2006, when Facebook and Twitter became widely available to the global population, there were still lingering doubts about its longevity and potential as a profit-making vehicle.

In retrospect, it makes sense: after the meteoric rise and crushing fall of the 90s dot com bubble, it was still very much open to interpretation as to whether this new wave of interactive media would be able to survive (let alone thrive) into the future.

We know differently today.

As of early 2019, there were 4.2 billion internet users, of which 3.397 billion were active on social media.

To put this even further into perspective, consider that, on average, every one of those users owns 5.54 social media accounts and spends 116 minutes a day scrolling their news-feeds or chatting with friends.

And those mind-boggling numbers are still growing. Three hundred twenty million new profiles were created between September 2017 and October 2018, which works out to 10 new social media users every second. This figure alone is almost double the average number of human births per second.

That’s right. Social media growth is outstripping the global human birth rate.

You Do Not Own Social Media

We get it. Starting a Facebook page for your small business when you don’t have much working capital seems like a much smarter option than stumping up for a website. Not only is it free, it can also put you in touch with pretty much everybody you’d like to sell to. If you’re a local-oriented biz you can make a point of highlighting your location or some other specific selling point.  Continue reading…

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