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YouTube to launch the social networking features you’ve always wanted

A smartphone displaying YouTube on its screen as it lays on top of a laptop's keyboard.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
YouTube will soon let you interact with creators like never before thanks to the rollout of a new social timeline.

The feature, which is internally known as “Backstage,” allows users to share a host of multimedia content including photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with subscribers.

YouTube plans to launch Backstage by the end of the year, and as early as this fall, to a select number of influencers on mobile and desktop, according to VentureBeat.

By the sounds of it, Backstage will offer similar social functions that already exist elsewhere on platforms such as Twitter (which lets you conduct polls), and Facebook. This isn’t the first time this year YouTube has emulated those services — in June, Google’s video platform announced it was rolling out its very own mobile live-streaming service, arguably in response to the success of Twitter’s Periscope, and Facebook Live.

The latter live video feature poses the biggest threat to YouTube. Facebook Live is already poaching some of YouTube’s biggest creators with lucrative financial deals. Additionally, Facebook already boasts a massive social networking interface that those same creators can take advantage of to increase their audience.

Backstage is evidently YouTube’s answer to the growing threat of Facebook Live and Twitter. The popular video platform is planning to integrate the social features into its individual channels, alongside the “home” and “video tabs. Instead of relying on an algorithm, the Backstage timeline will appear in a reverse chronological order, with channel subscribers receiving notifications every time content is shared to the feed. Subscribers will eventually be allowed to reply to posts with their own comments, including multimedia posts that could include photos, videos, and GIFs.

Critically for YouTube, Backstage could help it to retain more creators that are busy extending their digital brands across social networks. Like its rivals, YouTube is also keen on encouraging more activity. As we’ve seen with Instagram (which recently copied Snapchat’s Stories feature) the more options you give users to share a status, the more engagement you are likely to receive.

Digital Trends reached out to YouTube for a comment on Backstage, but did not immediately receive a response.

Saqib Shah
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Saqib Shah is a Twitter addict and film fan with an obsessive interest in pop culture trends. In his spare time he can be…
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