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Weekly Update - December 4, 2021: Best of 2021; Twitter personal info policy; Google Photos memories

I want to start this week's update with a pearsonal plea.

This week I got my COVID booster shot. There were some minor side effects, but it is worth it. If you are eligible, and haven’t gotten your vaccination or booster yet, please do, for your health, for the health of your family, friends and co-workers, and to help prevent new variants from emerging. In the US you can find a location at or on your state’s vaccination website (in California it’s Do it now, and you will have protection in time for your Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. Just do it.

OK, with that out of the way, this week we take a look back on what was popular in 2021, and have a few creator updates. There was a change in leadership and policy at Twitter, new creator features on YouTube, Facebook, Clubhouse and LinkedIn; new Memories in Google Photos and more.

Best of 2021

Facebook’s GIPHY shared the top GIFs of 2021. Here’s number one:
And 2021 has often been...

Unicode announced the most used emoji of the year 😂 ❤️ 🤣 👍 😭 🙏 😘 🥰 😍 😊. Surprisingly the top emoji list hasn’t changed much since 2019. The most dramatic changes: 🎂 🎈 🥺 jumped significantly in rank. The least popular emoji? Country flags.

YouTube announced their top 10 lists and trends for 2021. You can check out the Top 10s in seventeen different countries at . Once again I don’t ever watch any of the top creators and I haven’t seen any of the top trending videos (other than the Biden/Harris inauguration), and it’s great that I can watch what I’m interested in and not just “trending” stuff.

Google Play announced their Best of 2021 apps and games. And you can find lists of top selling Books and Movies in the Google Play app.

Spotify listed the top streamed songs, artists and albums of 2021, plus top podcasts and trends. If you are a Spotify listener, sign in to the mobile app for more lists and to check out your personalized “Wrapped” overview.

YouTube Music’s personalized Year in Review is available to members (free and paid) with at least 10 hours listening time. You can find it in the YouTube Music app by tapping your profile photo. The option will be in the menu if and when available to your account.

Apple announced their Best of 2021 Music, Podcasts, Apps and Games.

Mozilla’s Pocket posted their Best of 2021 collection. It’s a great collection of articles across the web published in 2021.


December 13-14: Creator Conf 2021. It’s not free, but a paid pass gets you two days of speeches, panels, overviews and networking events.

December 14WordPress State of the Word. This is an overview of WordPress in 2021 and plans for the future. If you have questions for Matt Mullenweg, you can submit them now.


Google Photos will now show you celebration “Memories” in your photo grid. It will include photos and videos from holidays and milestone events, such as birthdays and graduations. You can rename, personalize, or remove the Memories.

If you have a Chromebook, you can now use the built-in camera to scan documents and create a JPG or PDF file. And soon the Chromebook Camera app will let you create GIFs from short video clips.

Flickr has opened their “Your Best Shot 2021” group where you can submit your best photo of the year and possibly win an award (Peak Design bag, Capture One Pro license, and/or a Flickr Pro subscription). It’s open through January 4.

YouTube and Video

YouTube is launching basic YouTube Analytics in the main YouTube app. The separate YouTube Studio app is also getting more YouTube Analytics data, including live chats and concurrent livestream viewer stats.

TikTok has a new monetization portal called “Creator Next”. If you are an eligible creator, that’s where you go to enable monetization features, including the new Tips, Video Gifts and more.


Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey (@jack) stepped down to focus on being the CEO of Square (which just changed its name to Block). Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal began as a Twitter engineer over a decade ago, and was most recently Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer. Already the company is undergoing reorganization, with Twitter’s current engineering lead and design and research lead leaving at the end of the year.

Twitter announced an expansion of their “no sharing private information” policy to include sharing of private media, such as images and videos. The person depicted (or their authorized representative) can request the content be removed. They say context will be considered, including whether it is newsworthy, publicly available, or in the public interest. Unsurprisingly, there have already been “coordinated and malicious” reports aimed at journalists and crime researchers, removing their Tweets. Twitter has acknowledged that their “enforcement teams made several errors.” Hopefully, they will get their moderation team’s act together.

More Social Media

Facebook Creator Studio has a new “Inspiration Hub” that lets you discover recent popular posts and hashtags relevant to your Facebook Page. It includes data from both Facebook and Instagram.

Clubhouse launched new and improved Topics to help you find “Rooms” to join. There are new Topic pages, and topics can (optionally) appear on your profile. Plus creators can add Topics to their Rooms to let people know what they are about.

LinkedIn “creator mode” now includes Live Video and Newsletters. You can enable creator mode for your LinkedIn profile.

Web Creators

Google Search Central has two new best practices for product reviews: provide evidence (visuals, audio, links of your own experience) to support your expertise, and provide links to multiple sellers.


Microsoft Teams is going after Zoom with a new “Microsoft Teams Essentials” plan focused on meetings and video calls.

Microsoft Teams video calls have a new smart “Content from camera” that improves sharing of physical whiteboards.

Facebook Messenger has new AR Group Effects and new soundmojis to round out the year. They are also testing a “Split Payments’ feature to help you split bills and expenses.

More reading

Ethan Zuckerman wrote an article for the Atlantic about how he “made a metaverse 27 years ago” and says, “It was terrible then, and it’s terrible now”.

Not quite the Holodeck: Google has shared more details about how its Project Starline 3D video chat booth works. It’s a lot of hardware.

If you use a screen reader, the “Get image descriptions from Google” option in Chrome enables AI-generated descriptions of unlabelled images. This week Google added 10 new language options.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Image: Photo by Catalin Manea from Pexels. Free to use.