Blue is the new social media gold

…Show me the money!

Hello, geeks…

I’m back from Dubai! Miss me? Thought not 😁

Social media managers… I have an important question for you

I’ve spent the past few days catching up on all the social media news I missed whilst I was away last week. My head hurts. I scanned 5,000+ unread RSS feed items…

…And the highlight for me? Elon Musk’s removal of legacy verified blue check marks drove just 28 people to pay for a Twitter Blue subscription. 😝 Burn!

I want to say a quick thank you to the team at I spoke at their Nas Summit event in Dubai last week. It was an awesome 4 days in the desert. The event was packed full of amazing creators. I highly recommend attending the next one.

Check out my Instagram Story and spot TWO very famous YouTubers I bumped into.

Quick thing… 👇THIS👇 is genuinely worth checking out. It’s 100% FREE. 🔥


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Ok, let’s get into it… These were the hottest headlines in social this week:


  1. Bluesky Invites Became Hot Property Selling For $$$ On eBay [HOW MUCH?!]

  2. FTC Moved To Completely Prohibit Meta From Monetising Kids [META FUMING]

  3. Elon Musk Revealed (Old) Plans To Let Publishers Charge Per Article [DÉJÀ VU]

  4. Instagram Testing New Process To Help Brands Source UGC In-App [UGC FTW]

  5. Twitter Backtracks, Letting PSA Accounts Keep Free API Access [U-TURN]

There have been SO many new features spotted or launched this week. Here’s my curation of ones I think you’ll want to know about:

(Let me know if the inclusion of platform headers helps you skim read this section)

Meta / Facebook

Instagram / WhatsApp


  • Geekout PRO is filled with the world’s smartest social media managers.

  • Members manage social for brands including: Innocent Drinks, RyanAir, Netflix

  • NEW channel just added: BlueSky / T2 Invites

  • Brent + 521 members ❤️ it…


Twitter edited the wording of its verification check mark label again (no mention of Twitter Blue now. I wonder why 😆) ... Elon Musk threatened to reassign @NPR’s username if they don’t start tweeting again (eyeroll) ... Elon also brought Periscope back to life this week … Twitter will no longer let logged out users use advanced search (A.I. data scraping fears) … WordPress removed its Twitter integration

TikTok / YouTube / Snapchat

Bytedance was accused of using an internal sensitive words tool to monitor and suppress content … TikTok launched a new creator fund … TikTok also launched a new ad product for publishers offering a 50% cut of revenue … TikTok reportedly has a secret UGC program that pays creators thousands … Snapchat rolled out new features and tools for advertisers … And YouTube Channel pages have a new recommended content section that channel owners can customize.

BeReal / Discord / CapCut / Reddit

Discord is scraping numeric prefixes to usernames … Capcut now has a Windows desktop app … Reddit added rich link previews for iMessages and Instagram Stories … Reddit is also testing a new community chat channel feature

And finally… BeReal’s newest feature is a curated feed of high profile users (too little, too late!)


  • 😆 LOL: 20 Funniest YouTube Videos, According to Reddit [TAKE A LOOK]

  • 🤦🏻‍♂️ FAIL: 18 Influencers Who Instantly Got Called Out On Their BS [ROASTED]

  • 🧪 TEST: Experiment: Do Instagram Carousels Outperform Reels? [REVEAL RESULTS]

  • TIPS: 7 Pro-Tips to Create An Efficient Social Media Workflow [TEACH ME]

Let’s dig a little deeper into the social media news everyone’s talking about this week… BlueSky invites being the hottest ticket in town, Instagram’s new UGC tools, and the latest Elon Musk Twitter BS.

Geekout analysis is coming up next 👇

– Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

For some Twitter users, this is the first time they’ve been excited by a social platform in a long time.

As we noted last week, Bluesky is taking off among Twitter power users at a rate only constrained by the limited number of invites available.

The app has been rising up the app store charts, and invites have been spotted eBay for thousands of dollars. That’s not to say they’re worth anywhere near as much as $6,900(!) but scalpers gonna scalp.

Meanwhile, on the app, there’s a feel of early Twitter. Apple’s TestFlight is already buzzing with some neat third-party clients, and other cool apps have started to emerge, with some third-party devs working on things like video and screensharing.

Bluesky posts are making news, too. Jack Dorsey (who kicked off the Bluesky project when he was at Twitter) made headlines after he posted that Elon wasn’t a great leader after all.

And yet, moderation has been a challenge for the small Bluesky team, which has been caught offguard by the app’s sudden popularity.

Feeling liberated from Twitter, some users posted naked pictures of themselves. Due to the basic way the ‘what’s hot’ feed in the app works, anything with at least 6 likes would show up there, meaning newcomers discovered ‘what’s hot’ was perhaps ‘hotter’ than they expected.

Bluesky had, as Wired put it, a nudes problem. The developers fixed the issue, but there are already signs that some of the same negative interactions that plague Twitter are popping up.

The dev team seem to be doing their best to fix these problems, but the idea is that in the long term, they won’t be an issue in the same way as they are on most other platforms.

After all, what underpins Bluesky is a protocol that will work roughly similar to Mastodon, and let users choose their own algorithms to help decide what they see. For more on that, read this useful article from TechDirt.

User generated content can make a big impact on the success of social marketing campaigns, so it’s interesting to see both Instagram and TikTok test features to help brands find the best UGC for their needs.

As Social Media Today explains, Instagram’s approach is linked to shops on the platform:

Instagram is now prompting some Shop managers to ‘Add user-generated content’ to their product listings to further encourage potential purchasers.

When you tap through on the prompt, Instagram’s system will then highlight Instagram posts that your business has been tagged in, which you can then associate with your product listings.

– Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today

Updated policies from Instagram indicate that this is going to be a significant push from the platform.

Meanwhile, there are whispers of a similar–but different–approach from TikTok. As Lia Haberman explains, this is more of an on-demand content creation operation:

TikTok’s running a secret UGC (user-generated content) program that pays creators thousands of dollars every month to create ads for brands.

According to one TikToker who's part of the Creative Challenge beta program, creators are making up to $34,000 a month by producing UGC for brands like Uber Eats, Zynga, Alibaba and TikTok. In fact, "creators are buying houses with the amount of money they're making from UGC," the TikToker told me.

– Lia Haberman, ICYMI

TikTok might not be ready to talk about this itself yet, but this week it finally launched the revamped creator fund it announced back in February.

“This reformulation of the TikTok Creator Fund is designed to offer better incentives for creators to monetize their videos,“ says the company.

It’s not open to everyone though. It requires 10,000 followers and videos longer than a minute.

But while the steam has seemed to be running out of creator programmes in recent times, it’s clear some platforms are still keen to encourage creators with cash, even if the exact terms have changed.

Maybe it’s because I’m spending increasing amounts on alternatives like T2 and Bluesky, but Twitter has started to feel like a bar left to fall into decline after a negligent new owner takes over. The regulars still show up out of habit, but they don’t enjoy it as much as they used to.

Musk is still trying to boost engagement and revenue through ideas like letting publishers charge readers per article - an plan that might sound great until you realise that it has been discredited by many failed attempts over the years. Publishers just don’t like it.

Meanwhile, the wheels have started to fall off Twitter’s once amazing third-party ecosystem, as pricey new API charges came into effect.

WordPress Jetpack no longer supports Twitter sharing of blog posts, a major blow for easy sharing of content produced with the most used CMS on the planet.

But things aren’t as bad as they could have been. Twitter U-turned on charging public utilities, leading the likes of New York City’s MTA to resume posting automated travel alerts.

But as Elon Musk continues to cut costs and corners wherever he can, we’re seeing effects that could hurt the platform in the longer term.

Twitter abruptly stopped sharing information about government data requests, after it emerged that the company has accepted all data requests since Elon Musk took over.

For all the talk from Musk’s camp of the previous management being in cahoots with the US government, ‘Twitter 1.0’ regularly pushed back on attempts from governments to obtain data about users and limit free speech.

And media brands won’t be happy that moderation on the platform isn’t what it used to be. The entire Super Mario Bros movie was live on the site for days, clocking up a view count in the millions.

Oh, and this week, ‘verified’ users spread misinformation about an imminent nuclear strike. Who could have predicted that would happen… except pretty much anyone?

And then there was Musk threatening to re-assign the @NPR handle to another company if it doesn’t start tweeting again. Musk eventually responded to NPR’s story about the threat with a childish two-word email.

No wonder he’s venting, though. Unpaid bills and legal bills are mounting up as Twitter’s second debt payment comes due.

Blue is not taking off and there are questions over the growing user numbers Musk has proudly trumpeted. Subscriptions might not be the success he wants, either. Twitter is reportedly encouraging employees to subscribe to creators and then expense the costs back to the company.

…and of course, Musk didn’t even want to buy Twitter by the time the deal went through. He must be cursing himself for making a bid in the first place.

It’s all a bit of a tragedy, isn’t it?

😆 LOL tweets

Twitter’s decision to geotag tweets as ‘from Earth’ hits a snag…

🔼 Trending memes

The Met Gala is always good for a meme, and 2023’s event didn’t disappoint

Meanwhile, yesterday was Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) and the memes flowed.

📈 Going viral

Alt text memes on Twitter: a bit of fun or abuse of an important accessibility feature?

Red Bull and McDonald’s both deleted widely-criticised tweets using the format for jokes, leaving Specsavers to clean up with a wholesome meme explaining the problem.

(tap through on the tweet to check the alt text here 👇)

🐣 Brand Twitter

Ryanair continues to stay just on the right size of edgy by roasting unhappy customers for likes and retweets, while revelling in the airline’s no-frills approach.

I mean, they’re really skating that edgy line with style! 😱

 📣 PSA

Heads up, Facebook Page admins!

🤦‍♂️ FAIL

A hot topic in the Geekout PRO member chat today is this bizarre ‘verified’ scam ad on Facebook.

It seems it’s not just Twitter that has a problem with verified users not being who they say they are…


Once-hot social app Poparazzi is no more…


🪲 Bugging out

The award for ‘funniest bug of the week’ goes to Twitter.

As many users discovered, legacy verified users could (briefly) get their checkmark back for free, just by editing their bio.

🐾 Tracking

Here’s one we’re keeping an eye on. Is Lemon8 not the hot property it briefly seemed to be?

❓ Question of the week

This question was just for fun. As regular readers will know, I have ADHD and find it can be a superpower that helps me massively in my job.

So how do non-ADHD social media managers cope…?

…and if LinkedIn is more your thing, there’s plenty more discussion about it over there, too.

🤖 A.I.-mazing

How A.I. is transforming social media:

This could be really good. Cover letters are always a pain to write when you apply for a job, and LinkedIn wants to help with A.I.


💡 New feature spotlight

It’s surprising this one took so long to emerge. It’s really exciting a lot of Company Page admins.

👀 Reads of the week

"In a way, its users were set up to fail: either take the picture at the designated time and feel a bit rubbish about what you’ve posted, or take it late and tell the world that you (gasp) care about your digital self-presentation.

"BeReal held a mirror – or at least a front-facing camera – up to its users, encouraging reflection on our self-presentations. But maybe, deep down, we quite liked what we already had."

And don’t miss:

🧠 Expert opinion

Here are BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s predictions for the future of internet publishing

  1. Rise of homepages: More traffic will flow to publishers directly as users ditch social media as a news and information source.

  2. Entertainment wins: Internet platforms will lean more heavily into fun and entertainment. In a huge reversal from the social media landscape of the 2010s, content that fosters toxicity — like news and opinion — will not win out algorithmically.

  3. Creators form alliances with media companies: Creators will get burned out by competition and will increasingly look to established media companies for distribution and resources.

  4. A.I. boom: Peretti predicts that generative AI tools, like ChatGPT or Lensa, "will kill the majority of new static content."

  5. Cultural moments get bigger: Huge cultural moments will take up a much higher percentage of ad budgets and social media attention.

Read more here 👇

😮 What did you say?!

Bluesky’s first news-making moment:

💬 You can quote me on that

If I’m quoted in the news, you’ll find it here:

I spoke to Sky News about how Andrew Tate’s arrest has helped him on Twitter.


📊 Stats of the week

📈 Charts of the week

Publishers that pinned their futures on Facebook traffic face a reckoning:


Meta News

  • …but Meta calls it a “political stunt”. [@andymstone]

  • Meta is removing developer accounts with no active app roles in the past 30 days, starting 28 May. [Meta News for Developers]

  • Meta must 'unplug the hate machine,' an open letter from human rights groups says. [Insider]

  • Meta has removed several ad location targeting option. [Search Engine Land]

  • UK publisher Reach has blamed Facebook changes for its falling revenue. [The Guardian]

  • Meta will hold a Quest Gaming event on 1 June. [Social Media Today]

  • Meta has flagged more than 1,000 domains hosting ChatGPT-themed malware. [Axios]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Carousels are still the top-performing post type on Instagram. [Hootsuite blog]

New features and tests:


  • Meta is rolling out new discovery and personalisation controls for Facebook Reels. [TechCrunch]

  • Facebook has new Group content filters on iOS. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook now displays the author’s profile icon when liking a comment left on a post. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook appears to be adding features like Events and Ad Center for Professional profiles. [@oncescuradu]


  • Instagram is working on public group stories. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is testing songs in photo carousels. [The Verge]

  • Instagram has a new option to share your 1st profile photo as new post. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has added a new option to find similar tracks on the Audio page. [@howfxr]

  • Instagram is developing the ability to generate custom stickers using A.I. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to share a note with all followers. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering the ability to add moderators to broadcast channels. [@_Yousseff]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to automatically play voice messages in order. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has introduced Camera and Drafts buttons to the top section while creating Reels. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram is changing the way Notes are displayed, adding avatars. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering the ability to compare the performance of two pieces of content. [@BusMark_w_Nika]

  • Instagram has been spotted displaying like, comment, and share counts in a different format. [@KishanuK]

  • Google is testing displaying Instagram follower counts in search result snippets. [Search Engine Roundtable]


  • WhatsApp has started letting users auto-share their status updates on Facebook. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is rolling out improvements to polls and sharing with captions. [WhatsApp blog]

  • WhatsApp could soon support chat history transfers without Google Drive. [WABetaInfo]

  • …and it’s launching a feature to transfer data between iPhones without iCloud. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is rolling out its revised UI on Android. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is working on adding autoplaying GIF support. [WABetaInfo]

The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:

  • Meta has launched new AR ads for Reels and Facebook Stories. [TechCrunch]

  • Meta Verified could almost be ready for its UK launch. [@mrchrisfloyd]

  • Meta plans to integrate shopping elements into Facebook and Instagram ads. [Social Media Today]

  • Meta Business Suite now lets you add a mix of photos and videos in Instagram carousel posts. [@crisu_avadanei]

  • Meta Business Suite now lets you save drafts for both Facebook and Instagram. [@jonah_manzano]

Twitter News

New features and tests:

  • Twitter plans to launch previews of subscription content. [The Information $$$]

  • Twitter has opened Subscriptions up to creators worldwide. [@Twitter]

  • Twitter has tested reviving the Periscope video livestreaming code. [Mashable]

  • Creators could soon have more price options for Twitter Subscriptions. [@nima_owji]

  • Twitter Community Notes now appear on embedded tweets on third-party sites. [@CommunityNotes]

  • Community Notes have been expanded to seven more countries. [@CommunityNotes]

  • Twitter has changed the text on the Verified label again, with no mention of Blue. [@MattNavarra]

  • Twitter now tuns down Blue applications from users who have changed their username, display name, or profile picture in the previous three days. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Twitter is working on inline media controls. [@TitterDaily]

  • Twitter is working on new ideas for the Media tab on profiles. [@ehikian]

  • …and a Video tab is apparently coming soon. [@TitterDaily]

  • Twitter seems close to launching threaded DM conversations. [@TitterDaily]

  • Twitter is working on a ‘cost per follow’ metric for advertisers. [@nima_owji]

TikTok News

  • TikTok advertisers are sticking by the app despite the threat of a US ban. Its ad business is set to grow 36% this year. [Reuters $$$]

  • ByteDance has a ‘Sensitive Words’ tool that monitors discussion of topics like China, Trump, and the Uyghurs. TikTok denies it’s been used on its app. [Forbes]

  • US Senators are to explore new options for legislation to address the perceived threat of TikTok. [Reuters $$$]

  • One of the journalists TikTok admitted spying on was tracked via her cat’s account. [BBC News]

  • TikTok’s head of US trust and safety is leaving the company without a permanent replacement being lined up. [The Verge]

  • TikTok has shuffled its US music team as it looks to make a bigger impact in the music industry. [Insider $$$]

  • TikTok has announced education and funding initiatives for small business month. [Social Media Today]

  • The NYPD is giving away 500 free Apple AirTags to combat a rise in car thefts linked to the ‘Kia Boyz’ TikTok challenge. [The Verge]

  • TikTok’s third annual TikTok World event will be held on Tuesday. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • TikTok has launched a ‘Fundamentals’ guide to help advertisers make the most of the platform. [@TikTokBusiness]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is working on an ad product for publishers and giving them a 50% cut. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • TikTok Effect House has added gamification via ‘Bonus Badges’. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok has been spotted offering a ‘Watch Nearby’ tab. [@ahmedghanem]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Social media is particularly damaging to the mental health of Gen Z, according to a new study. [The Guardian]

  • Nearly a quarter of 10th grade girls spend seven hours or more on social media, according to new research. [Forbes]

  • The number of child abuse reports on online platforms is increasing. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • YouTube has failed to fully demonetise climate change denial videos, according to new research. [Engadget]

  • YouTube's podcast deals with NPR, Slate and the New York Times are flopping. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • YouTube has expanded the Partner Program suspension period from 30 days to 90. [9to5Google]

  • Clubhouse has laid off more than half its workforce as it works on a ‘reset’ of its product. [Variety]

  • A former Truth Social exec turned Trump whistleblower now works at Starbucks. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Snapchat has signed content partnerships with the Women’s World Cup and NBCUniversal. [Hollywood Reports]

  • Social media shopping scams are on the rise. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Audiense has acquired Tweet Binder. [Audiense]

  • A Brazilian court lifted a suspension of Telegram in the country, put in place after it failed to comply with an order related to neo-Nazi groups. [Reuters $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • The 20 marketing leaders shaping the creator economy. [Rolling Stone]

  • YouTube has launched a new series to spotlight each month’s viral crazes. [TubeFilter]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube has launched new ad formats for Shorts. [TechCrunch]

  • YouTube’s Android TV app now has smooth in-video info pane animations. [9to5Google]

  • YouTube is testing bringing the Home feed to video pages. [9to5Google]

  • YouTube is tweaking channel pages to improve engagement. [Social Media Today]

  • LinkedIn is experimenting with A.I. generated cover letters for jobseekers. [Engadget]

  • LinkedIn is rolling out ability for company pages to send and receive messages. [@MattNavarra]

  • Snapchat is testing sponsored links in its A.I. chatbot. [Variety]

  • Snapchat has launched new ad products and a collab studio for brands and creators. [Deadline]

  • Reddit has added rich previews for content shared in iMessage and Instagram Stories. [The Verge]

  • BeReal has launched RealPeople: "a curated timeline of the world’s most interesting people – from top athletes, artists, activists and everything in between." It’s being tested in the UK. [BeReal]

  • Mastodon has introduced a simpler signup process and will soon roll out ‘quote tweets’, better search, and group creation. [TechCrunch]

  • Clubhouse is working on the ability to invite co-hosts to events. [@alex193a]

  • Nextdoor has added a new 'Assistant' feature powered by OpenAI tech. [TechCrunch]

  • CapCut has added an A.I. image editing option for pro subscribers. [@oncescuradu]

  • OBS can now stream high-quality AV1 video to YouTube. You can even broadcast 4K60 video. [Engadget]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

Americans discovering British food and losing their minds is a proud internet tradition, and it’s good to see it’s still going 😆

📅 Back next week...

,..You’ve reached the end of this week’s Geekout.✅

Bask in the glory of this small geeky achievement. 😎

Quick things before you go…

Time to get outta here!

Goodbye, geeks.

– Matt

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This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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