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Original articles from Isaiah Reed.
 
Snapchat Has Some New Competition
Instagram is refusing to let Snapchat have all the fun. After launching its direct message feature seven months ago, Instagram has created an entirely new app titled "Bolt" that allows users to send auto-deleting photos to their friends. Bolt (iOS, Android) has already launched in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa, with more locations being added soon. Users will have to input their phone number, and the app syncs with their contacts to allow sharing with friends. A Facebook or Instagram account is not needed. Facebook (who owns Instagram) has already attempted a Snapchat-esque app called Slingshot, which is currently available on iOS and Android as well. It’s sitting at a three-star rating in the iTunes Store as of today and it is yet to be determined if the app will have any success. Bolt is attempting to differentiate itself by simplifying the sending process.

How Social Media Won the World Cup
The month-long soccer extravaganza that is the World Cup came to a close this past Sunday and has set new social media event records in the process. Over 672 million tweets were sent that related to the World Cup, which is the highest number ever for an event on Twitter. Yes, the World Cup does take place over a 32-day span, but this number is still pretty daunting regardless. That's 21 million tweets a day... And then there's Facebook. Over three BILLION interactions occurred on the social network that were related to the World Cup. It is the most-discussed sporting event in Facebook's history.

Snapchat Brings 'True' Chat in New Update
Snapchat has brought true "chat" to both its iPhone and Android apps with its most recent update. Users will now be able to send messages to each other that are automatically deleted once the app is closed. But that's not all... There is now a live video-chat feature that can be activated...

Facebook's 'Paper' App Continues to Stand on Its Own
The Facebook-owned app Paper released an update today adding a few well-known Facebook features, but wants to make clear that they’re still separate and more flexible than the main Facebook app. The new features include Birthdays and Events, photo comments, group updates, and new story buttons...

Twitter to Bring Social TV to New Regions
The Twitter TV measurement that tracks how much influence a particular show is having on the social network is now moving into more regions around the world. These new regions include the UK, Spain, Nordics, Russia, parts of Africa, and southeast Asia. Twitter has already partnered with Nielsen in the U.S. and has the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating to complement the standard Nielsen TV rating.

Firechat: The No-Data Messenger
A few weeks ago the app Firechat hit the iOS app store and is one of the first to use Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework. This feature, which is available on any iPhone that has the AirDrop capability, allows users to directly connect to each other with no cell phone data or wifi required. Why is this a big deal? For starters, it takes the middleman of wireless carriers and data plans out of the picture. The message you’re sending doesn’t go to some cell phone tower first and then to your recipient. For privacy advocates, this is a huge win in light of recent data mining activities by the NSA. If another device has the app and is within 30 feet of your current location you can connect directly to it and start a conversation. But it doesn’t stop there. Firechat is at its best when it’s part of a larger mesh network. Let’s say you are able to connect to one user 20 feet away from you.

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