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YouTube has a new way for users to find and engage with content creators directly by tagging their handles. Announced via the video-sharing platform’s News and Events page, it allows channels to use unique identifiers with the @username format.

Handles will be rolled out over the next month and creators will be notified when they can choose their handle. If a channel already has a personalized URL, that will become the handle by default, though this can be changed for a short period after the notification is received.

“The timing of when a creator will get access to the handles selection process depends on a number of factors, including overall YouTube presence, subscriber count, and whether the channel is active or inactive,” YouTube said in the announcement.

Handles Joins Channel Names As Unique Identifier

In early 2023, YouTube began allowing content creators to change both the name and the URL of their channels. These offered branding opportunities to help channels identify and distinguish themselves.

However, unlike channel names, each handle will be unique, allowing creators to further distinguish their distinct brand. This is similar to the handles and usernames commonly used on other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

@Username Format Seeks To Compete With TikTok

With more than one billion users worldwide, the short-form video platform TikTok has become a major player in the world of social media. As such, other social media platforms have been seeking ways to compete with it  Facebook by launching Reels and YouTube by expanding into Shorts.

One of the features TikTok offers is the ability for users to engage in conversations through posts and the resulting discussions and results. By adding @username handles to both channel pages and Shorts, YouTube is hoping to generate similar usage.

Featured image: Shutterstock/PixieMe

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Google Launches Free Tool To Help Businesses Create Short Promo Videos

Google is helping businesses create short, promotional videos for YouTube with the launch of a free beta tool.

YouTube Video Builder is available to any business that may not be capable of creating videos from scratch.

“Because businesses of all sizes are strapped for time and resources and in-person video shoots are no longer practical in many countries, we are accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability.”

Video Builder allows businesses to create 6 second or 15 second videos using a variety of layouts.

The tool is designed to animate static assets, so no actual video footage is necessary.

Businesses provide their own images, text, and logos which is then generated into a short video.

During the video creation process you can customize colors and fonts, and even add music from Google’s royalty-free library.

When a video is created and uploaded it can be used however you wish.

Here’s an example of what a video created by Video Builder looks like:

Supplemental, Lightweight Videos

Google clarifies that this tool is designed for “supplemental” and “lightweight” videos only.

Video Builder is not capable of creating or editing videos of any significant length.

For that, you’ll have to turn to YouTube’s creator studio or use your own software.

As Google points out, this might be the first opportunity a business has had to create videos of any length at all.

“For smaller businesses and those with less creative experience, it can provide an efficient, low-resource way to create videos, perhaps even for the first time.”

Those who are interested in using the beta version of Video Builder can sign up for access here.

Google says requests will be processed as soon as possible based on tool capacity.

How to Use YouTube’s Video Builder Tool

Once you sign up for the beta and get an email granting you access to the tool, here’s how to get started.

In a launch video, YouTube recommends creating a video by following the steps below:

Select the layout that works best for your goal

Add your brand’s color and logo

Upload images and add text

Choose a preferred font

Pick a music track to set the tone of the video

If satisfied, save and upload it to your channel

As shown in the video below – the interface appears to be intuitive and user-friendly, requiring a bare minimum of technical expertise.

The video you create will be saved as a template that you can revisit.

So if you want to create similar videos with only minor differences between them, you can do that with Video Builder.

As an optional step, you can immediately create a YouTube or Google Ads campaign featuring the video you just generated.

For more information about creating videos with Video Builder, see the official help document here.

Source: Google Ads Blog

How To Change Your Snapchat Username

There are times when you are no longer happy with your current username on a social media platform and would rather prefer a new one. Snapchat, like other popular messaging apps, offers a way to change your username. Although all you could do was change your Snapchat display name for years. Now, the messaging platform is rolling out a new option to change your actual username without having to delete your account. So, if you’re wondering how to change my Snapchat username, read on to find out how you can do that.

Note: These methods remain unchanged and working as of Snapchat version on iPhone and version on Android.

Snapchat Display Name vs Username

Snapchat username highlighted

Before we detail the steps to change your Snapchat display name and username, let’s discuss the difference between the two in brief. Your display name is your Snapchat profile name, and that’s what users see in the conversation window. It’s not only possible for you to change your own display name, but others can also change your display name on their end.

Note: The option to change your Snapchat username is available to all users now, which means you can easily update your username on Snapchat on your Android or iOS devices. Make sure you update the Snapchat app to the latest version available on Play Store and App Store, in case the option isn’t showing up for you. In case you do not see the “Change username” option even after updating Snapchat, you could try force-closing the app and clearing the cache.

Change Your Snapchat Username on Android & iOS (Official Method)

Snapchat has finally started rolling out the option to change your username. It’s worth mentioning that you can only change your Snapchat username once a year. We have used an Android device for this demonstration, but the steps remain the same on iPhone. With that out of the way, here’s how to change your Snapchat username.

1. Open Snapchat and tap your Bitmoji (or profile) icon at the top-left corner to open your profile. When the profile page appears, tap the Settings gear icon at the top-right corner.

2. Up next, tap on “Username” under the “My Account” section and tap on “Change Username” to modify your current Snapchat username.

4. You should then enter your password and press the “Confirm” button. When the confirmation prompt appears, press “Continue” to confirm the changes.

5. And that’s it! Snapchat will show you a pop-up confirming that you have successfully changed your Snapchat username. As mentioned earlier, you will have to wait a year to change your username again.

Change Your Snapchat Display Name on Android & iOS

1. Open Snapchat and tap your Bitmoji icon at the top-left corner. From the profile page, tap the Settings icon at the top-right corner.

2. Under “My Account” settings, tap “Name” to change your display name. Although you might be tempted to tap on the Username field present below in Snapchat settings, nothing happens when you do that, and you cannot change it here.

4. After saving the new display name, it will immediately show up on your Snapchat profile, as you can see in the image below:

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Change Snapchat Username On Iphone

What you and your thoughts are today is not necessarily what it was a few years ago when you created your Snapchat account. So, the username you set years back does not reflect or fit with what you are now. Thus you might want to edit it to something you currently prefer! However, due to security reasons, Snapchat doesn’t allow this. But there are workarounds you can use to change Snapchat username. Let’s talk about them!

Your Snapchat display name is visible in most places. You can modify it as many times as you like by following the steps below.

Launch the Snapchat app and tap on your profile picture icon from the top left.

Tap on your current name.

Type the new name and tap on Save.

In step 2, you may also tap on the Settings icon from the top right → tap on ‘Name,’ type the new name and finally tap on ‘SAVE.’

Create a New Snapchat Account and Username

You can delete your current Snapchat account and create a new one with the desired username. However, with deletion, you will lose everything in your account, like its settings, friends, messages, saved snaps, etc. Nobody, including you, can use this username again!

The second option is to leave the current account and create a new one with the fancied username. You may have to use a different email or phone number for this second account.

Here’s how to create a new Snapchat account and add your friends.

Before you begin: If you are already logged in to the Snapchat app, log out of it. For this, tap on your profile icon → Settings icon from the upper right → Log Out.

Inside the Snapchat app, tap on SIGN UP. Allow the app to send you notifications.

Enter your first and last name and tap on Sign up & Accept.

Set your birthday.

Very Important: You will see a username recommended by Snapchat. Since you wish to use your own, tap on Change my username.

Type the desired username and tap on Continue. Think and make the correct choice, as you won’t be able to change it again.

Fill in your password and tap on Continue.

Type your mobile number or tap on ‘Sign up with email instead.’ Next, fill in your email address.

On the ‘Find your Friends’ screen, tap on Continue. Next, tap on OK to permit the app to access your contacts. This will help you find your existing friends. Tap on +Add → Continue to add friends from your contact list. Next, you can choose to create a Bitmoji or not.

Congratulation! You are on Snapchat with your new account.

Signing Off

This is how you can get your desired username on Snapchat. No doubt, it is an inconvenient solution, but this is the only way as unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Snapchat does not let you change the username!

Once you get your new account set up, here are some excellent related resources you might find valuable.

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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

Youtube Stories To Be Discontinued

In a recent announcement, YouTube confirms discontinuing its Stories feature, a tool similar to Snapchat’s and Instagram’s disappearing messages.

The feature, which allowed creators to post updates that would remain live for seven days, will officially be phased out on June 26, 2023.

The Rise and Fall of YouTube Stories

Launched in 2023, Stories were initially available to creators with over 10,000 subscribers.

The tool was designed for sharing behind-the-scenes updates, vlogs, sneak peeks at upcoming videos, and quick updates.

The decision to remove the feature comes after mixed reactions from users and creators, with some finding it “weird” and lacking certain key functionalities like swipe-up and video linking features.

Community Posts & YouTube Shorts: The New Frontier

As YouTube puts an end to Stories, the focus shifts toward community posts and YouTube Shorts.

YouTube recently expanded access to community posts to millions of creators and added popular aspects of Stories, such as editing tools and the ability for posts to expire after 24 hours.

On the other hand, YouTube Shorts has emerged as a strong contender to TikTok’s short-form video content.

Despite challenges, such as technical issues, and an initial lack of monetization, YouTube Shorts is now an established tool for driving engagement and gaining new subscribers.

Shorts Monetization & The Competitive Landscape

This revenue-sharing model replaces the YouTube Shorts Fund, and it’s seen as a potentially more sustainable and equitable way to compensate creators for their work.

Nevertheless, marketers are beginning to see the long-term return on investment potential in Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts, creating a shifting landscape in the industry.

Looking Ahead

Following the discontinuation of Stories, YouTube reassures everyone it remains committed to investing in new and innovative tools to help creators grow.

With more features for Shorts and community posts on the way, YouTube’s vision for the future centers around the tools that show the most promise for user engagement.

Source: YouTube

Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney. 

Hitwise: Google+ Traffic Dropped Last Week

After weeks of explosive growth, the Google+ social networking site saw its traffic and usage drop last week, according to Hitwise.

For the week ending July 23, Google+ received 1.79 million visits, down 3 percent from the previous week, and the average time spent on the site fell 10 percent to 5 minutes and 15 seconds, Hitwise said Wednesday.

By contrast, visits for the week ending July 16 shot up 283 percent from the week before, and 821 percent from the week before that, Hitwise said last week.

As of July 16, Google+ ranked as the 42nd-most-visited social networking site and the 638th-most-visited site overall in the U.S., Hitwise said last week. Hitwise didn’t update those rankings Wednesday, but given the drop in usage it’s unlikely that Google+ improved its position on either list.

Google+ is in limited beta release, available only by invitation from current members and from Google, which is purposely limiting access to refine the site and fix bugs before opening it up broadly.

However, a drop in activity is never a good sign for a website, especially a social networking site and one whose launch at the end of June was welcomed with such enthusiasm and buzz.

Hitwise didn’t offer an explanation for the drop in Google+’s usage. It’s estimated that about 20 million people have Google+ accounts so far.

One key factor for social networking sites to lure new members and get them to use the site often is to foster sharing and interaction among friends.

With Google+, because of the limited availability, it may be that after checking it out and setting up a basic profile, existing members aren’t finding enough reasons to return because a critical mass of their friends aren’t on it yet.

In the past week or so, Google+ also has weathered a couple of controversies. One centered on Google’s decision that people must use their real name for Google+ accounts, which led the company to delete many profiles. That prompted complaints from members who claimed they used their real name and had their account deleted anyway, and from others who argued they should be able to use a pseudonym to protect their privacy. After the controversy hit a fevered pitch this past weekend, Google pledged to communicate better with affected users and give them a chance to respond before suspending their account.

Another issue revolved around the fact that Google+ only allows profiles for individuals. Many companies have set up business profiles only to see them deleted by Google, triggering more complaints. Google has said that it will allow business profiles within the next few months and that it’s working fast to get the site ready for this.

Google+ is an important initiative for Google. The company has high expectations that the site will finally make it a strong competitor in social networking, where it has struggled to find its footing.

Meanwhile Facebook has become one of the world’s most popular sites, a situation that makes Google nervous because Facebook keeps a lot of its user-generated content off-limits to the Google search engine.

Google trusts that Google+ will prove compelling enough to eventually prompt a massive exodus of Facebook users. In particular, Google believes that Google+ offers privacy and content-sharing features that are better and easier to use than Facebook’s.

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