Facebook Stories Coming to Brands: You know those empty circles at the top of your Facebook app where none of your friends are sharing stories? Soon they will be filled with Stories from brands, news publishers, athletes, entertainers and nonprofits. The feature is rolling out over the coming month to all pages, which Facebook sees as their strategy to drive adoption. With the extreme adoption of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, and the continued rise of disposable media messaging, we see huge potential in brands telling short-form, chronological stories. Adoption has been slow on Facebook, but this could be the tipping point. (LINK)

 

Snapchat’s Context Cards: This week Snapchat introduced context cards, which add contextual information to geotagged photos and images shared in public stories. Users can swipe up on any snap that displays the word “more” and they’ll see an interactive card pop up with options to engage with OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Lyft and more. Now you never have to leave the Snapchat app! Isn’t that great? (LINK)

 

Facebook, Bring Me Dinner: Speaking of never leaving the app, this week Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to order food from local restaurants using its app. Users can find the new option “Order Food” in the Explore menu in the Facebook app, where you can then browse area restaurants and click “Start Order” when you know what you want. Some early criticism is that Facebook is doing too many things and ordering food isn’t hard in 2017. But we’re watching for ad units that result in a “Like” for delivery. (LINK)

 

How Machine Learning Finds You New Music: Every Monday more than 100 million Spotify users encounter a hot new playlist created just for them, and it’s worth mentioning because people LOVE IT. Oh, and robots make the mixtape. It’s called Discovery Weekly, and it’s a playlist of 30 songs that are algorithmically tuned just to you. We’re geeking out on the science of their music recommendation engine: Collaborative Filtering, Natural Language Processing and Raw Audio Models. Sorry friends, we may never take a human-based musical recommendation again. (LINK)

 

#WomenBoycottTwitter: Sparked by Twitter’s temporary suspension of Rose McGowan’s account earlier this week after she and many others came forward with their Harvey Weinstein stories, women across the world are showing solidarity by falling silent on Twitter for one day. Today. Hundreds of women, including actress Alyssa Milano and model Chrissy Teigen, have said they will not post anything to the microblogging platform on Friday, “in protest of women’s voices being silenced.” Other influential folks like Ava DuVernay chimed in with another perspective, posing questions about which women we’re willing to back and if #WomenBoycottTwitter is truly intersectional. Questlove echoed her sentiments saying he’s on board to support women, so long as we remember that Jemele Hill is also facing backlash for her free speech. We’re watching, but more importantly, we’re listening. (LINK)

Advertisements

AR Art Sparks AR Protests: Snapchat continued to push augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream this week with the launch of a Jeff Koons collab, featuring 3D versions of the artist’s most-popular sculptures at popular sites as an AR scavenger hunt. Of note, the following day artist Sebastian Errazuriz vandalized one of the AR sculptures, Balloon Dog, in Central Park in “a symbolic stance against imminent AR corporate invasion.” This marks one of the highest profile AR-resistance events to-date, highlighting the downside of invisible digital layers on the physical world. There will be more. You just may not see them! (LINK)

 

Babelfish Comes to Life:  This week Google released a line of new products, including a first pair of wireless headphones that support live translation between 40 languages called Pixel Pods. Powered by machine learning, this technology is like having a personal translator in your ear at all times. If you tell it “Help me speak German” and then start speaking in English, the phone’s speakers will output your translated words as you speak them. Then German replies will then play into your ear through the Pixel Buds as English. Amazing. This innovation marks another step toward technology bringing cultures further together. Look for Apple to launch something similar on their AirPod platform as a fast-follow. (LINK)

 

Comfort Content in the Negative Social News Era: It was an even rougher week for America than normal, and our social feeds show it. Thankfully, The Chicago Tribune put together a listicle of shareable ideas to post that are less partisan, more positive, for those times you (and your followers, friends and family) could use a break from the barrage of negativity. It includes things like: Throwback Thursday, posting photos of food, making a custom meme, posting animal photos and quotes, and sharing America’s Funniest Home Videos online. We’ve been tracking the increase in consumers sharing less personal information but still looking for “safe” things to post, and this list epitomizes that rise in comfort content posts that can serve as a distraction from heavy news and politics. #TGIF (LINK)

 

RIP AIM: The most successful instant messaging service of the modern era, AOL Instant Messenger, will shut down this fall.  Widely used in the late ‘90s and 2000s, AIM was many consumer’s first experience with short-form messaging, messaging slang, and set the framework for today’s SMS text-heavy culture. The closure follows other legacy messaging apps, like MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, meeting their maker as people move to mobile-first messenging like iMessage, Snapchat and Instagram. In fact, Facebook has multiple billion-user messaging services now — Messenger and WhatsApp. And texting slang endures! C U AIM. TTYL. (LINK)

 

Hacking Facebook Live’s Delay: Using the delayed audio and video from a Facebook Live stream, the band The Academic created a loop version of their song “Bear Claws” that blew up on Reddit and spread to social feeds this week – nearing one million views already. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. We thought this was really cool. (LINK)

 

 

Back in 2006, AOL made a pair of engagement bait TV spots designed to get people thinking and talking about the modern internet and its implications.

Although largely a bust (only 1,000 postings and 100,000 thousand hits in the first few weeks), the campaign’s legacy endures with these two videos that encapsulate the good, bad and ugly of the internet a decade ago — framing Orwell’s predictions as either right or wrong.

 

 

As recently as yesterday I found myself in a conversation about the perils and possibilities of technology.

The fact is, this entire campaign was a red herring. It’s like saying that a pencil is good or bad, based on what you could write with it.

Too often we look at technology as holistic and simple, when it is actually fractured and complex. To list off potential situations and then approve or condemn an entire technology based on possibilities is moot.

Orwell would be bored out of his mind.

  • 280 Characters Come to Twitter: Twitter is testing a 280-character limit with a small group of users — and that the limit will remain 140 characters in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. That is because tweets in those languages can already fit in a lot more information, as a single character might represent a noun. Like any change to any social network, users are up in arms with the change and Twitter’s prioritization of character count in the face of hate speech and bullying criticism. Regardless, brands will need to keep close watch on this change as they consider content and engagement strategy on the platform. (LINK)

 

  • Share Factories: We’ve talked about the Museum of Ice Cream before, but we’re continuing to see “Made for Instagram Museums” and brand experiences fill our feeds. This year marks the third year of Refinery 29’s pop-up installation space, 29Rooms, and just down the street from the Museum of Ice Cream is a 12,000-square foot space containing 15 interactive color experiences called the Color Factory. These event activations are designed with user-generated content in mind, which spreads awareness and FOMO (fear of missing out!) among attendee’s respective networks. Must-see! (LINK)

 

  • Mourning in the Age of Social Media: Even with every tweet stored in the Library of Congress and our subconscious knowledge that everything posted to the internet can be recalled with the Wayback Machine, it’s sometimes hard to remember our digital breadcrumbs will outlive our short, physical lives. This week a Mashable writer wrote about the outpouring of love he received in social media for the passing of his 102 year-old grandmother. “We all handle death and the grief that comes with it in our own way — so creating an electronic tribute is just as valid as leaving flowers on a headstone,” he writes. Facebook introduced memorial pages eight years ago, but the social media generation is just starting to work out the cultural norms for grieving online. (LINK)

 

  • Cash Me Outside Girl Shakes Up Record Industry: In lighter news, Atlantic Records just signed Danielle Bregoli — a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie, a.k.a. Dr. Phil’s “Cash Me Outside” girl – and it’s rocking an industry that has always struggled with the balance between art and attention. Talent be damned, Bhad Bhabie charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and her latest video has 12 million views. With reality TV stardom coming to the traditional record label business, true musicians continue to explore ways to compete with up and comers more skilled at growing Instagram followers than playing an instrument. HOW BOW DAH? (LINK)

 

The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter’s area of expertise.

And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks. Because Google and Facebook have a duopoly on online advertising, the only measure of success in publishing is whether a story goes viral on social media. Authors are evaluated by how individual stories perform online, and face constant pressure to make them more arresting. Highly technical pieces are farmed out to junior freelancers working under strict time limits. Corrections, if they happen at all, are inserted quietly through ‘ninja edits’ after the fact.

There is no real penalty for making mistakes, but there is enormous pressure to frame stories in whatever way maximizes page views. Once those stories get picked up by rival news outlets, they become ineradicable. The sheer weight of copycat coverage creates the impression of legitimacy. As the old adage has it, a lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on.

via Anatomy of a Moral Panic

The First Snapchat Ads Shot Entirely on Spectacles: Burger King and grocery chain Sainsbury’s are the first two Snap clients to use the glasses to shoot ads that appear on Snapchat. The creative difference between Spectacles’ clips and other footage lies in how the glasses capture video in a POV, circular fashion. Burger King’s ad appeared via the app in the U.S. for National Cheeseburger Day. Delicious! (LINK)

 

Chili’s Tries a New Social Voice: Restaurant chain Chili’s found itself tagged in a random comment about healthcare and jumped into the discussion with a wit and enthusiasm that has sparked a swarm of buzz and attention for the brand this week. Chili’s social media manager told BuzzFeed that the restaurant’s team was more than happy to take the time to help fans. “Life’s too short not to have fun with it,” he explained to BuzzFeed. “As you can see, we don’t take ourselves too seriously on social.” We’ll be watching to see how this new voice spills over into their proactive social content and engagement. (LINK)

 

The Beyoncé Army Takes to Instagram: Instagram, who this week is testing changing their number of grid tiles from three to four across, is blowing up with Beyoncé goodness this week. The music icon and social media star posted a series of images on Thursday highlighting 16 self-focused photos, each directly sourced from a past, impromptu, photo shoot with Jay-Z. The photos, published with no comment or detail, are currently are all gaining incredibly traction with over 3 million current likes as of Friday morning. Yes, Beyoncé is a big deal; but it is creative posts like this that help her maintain her iconic status in cultural relevance. (LINK)

 

Are Smokers the Nicest People Online? In a world of political issues, opinionated commenters and trolls, it turns out there are still communities who embody #WholesomeMemes everyday. Thanks to better education and Ad Council marketing campaigns, smokers are one of the most persecuted, under-appreciated interest groups in our society. So perhaps that’s all the more reason they are seeking each other out online through message boards, Reddit, YouTube, and websites like airportsmokers.com, where they offer each other advice, reviews, support and community. Who knew the key to warm-hearted acceptance online was the same as bumming a smoke off a friend? (LINK)

 

BONUS #HUMBLEBRAG: Did you catch South Park’s season debut? Cartman trolled us all by triggering our Amazon Echos throughout the episode – making them say foul things and adding unwanted items to their shopping lists. At Fallon, we’ve been obsessed with voice-control going mainstream and the evolution of conversation design for our clients. So we built our own Amazon Flash Briefing for the Fallon Social Pulse. Just say “Alexa, enable Fallon Social Pulse skill.” Then ask for your flash report, and you’ll get all this social goodness direct to your Echo every week! What a time to be alive, right? (LINK)

Bitmoji Comes to Life with Snapchat World Lenses: Snapchat just took Bitmoji to a whole new level by allowing users to place their customized characters into the real world as 3D animated cartoons. It’s pretty fascinating to watch what was once essentially a sticker now doing things like riding a skateboard, doing yoga, hanging around the water cooler, etc. The update further solidifies Snapchat’s decision to acquire Bitmoji last year. You have to try it. Have to. (LINK)

 

Facebook ‘Snooze’ Button: Sick of a friend’s non-stop vacation photos or political rants? Bored of hearing about some business Page’s big launch? Now Facebook has a Snooze button that lets you temporarily unfollow friends, Pages or Groups for 24 hours, 7 days or 30 days. To initiate the feature, users can simply tap the drop-down arrow in the top right of someone’s post. Now instead of just an unfollow option, it looks like there may be a “Unfollow or Snooze” feature coming. (LINK)

 

Crayola Debuts New Crayon Color: Crayola announced the name of its new blue crayon Thursday, which colored our news feeds this week. Bluetiful was the top pick of fans during two months of online voting, beating out Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars and Star Spangled Blue. The crayon maker received nearly 90,000 name submissions before narrowing it down to five. Bluetiful will make its debut later this year. It’s replacing the recently retired color, dandelion. Nice strategy for staying culturaly relevant, Crayola. (LINK)

 

Geniuses Who Think Google’s Facebook Page is a Search Engine: A video has emerged online compiling mistaken posts on Google’s Facebook page. Surprising or not, many users have come to think that simply entering text on the wall of the brand-specific page will yield the results they desire from the actual search site. Unfortunately for them, their queries have simply provided an odd window for the rest of the world to watch what is going on inside their minds. The video even includes a custom soundtrack to further detail these strange posts, like “Can baking soda improve my face?” (LINK)

 

‘Monkey Selfie’ Legal Fight Finally Settled: A photographer has settled a two-year legal fight against an animal rights group over a “monkey selfie” picture. Naruto the macaque monkey took the image in the Indonesian jungle in 2011 when it picked up a camera owned by David Slater. U.S. judges had said copyright protection could not be applied to the monkey, but PETA said the animal should benefit. Slater said he put in a lot of effort to take the photo which was more than enough for him to claim copyright. Say “Bananas!” (LINK)

Scott Galloway is asking CMOs and CEOs 2-3 times a week, “What are the most likely scenarios that would result in a tripling of value in half a decade, and how might that impact capital allocation?” and then works backward to see how those scenarios would shake out.

He then lists out their answers/approaches by category — including how a Best Buy, Amazon, Nike, Samsung, Uber, etc. may approach.

My favorite quotes:

  • “Amazon has turned the media into their bitch”
  • “Starbucks is the ultimate arbiter [in viewing staff and footprint as an asset], spending more on employee benefits than it does on coffee beans.”
  • “Apple’s genius move wasn’t the iPhone, but investing where brand equity was moving, at purchase, and opening extraordinary temples of brand worship”
  • “$1–3B firms are in no man’s land. Not small enough to present the agility and growth rates of long-tail brands, but not big enough to allocate the requisite capital in the arms race that is digital.”
  • “Uber, WeWork, and other (massively) overvalued unicorns: Raise as much money as possible and buy old-economy assets (cars, buildings, etc.) to build analog moats around your businesses / valuations.”

Worth a read over the weekend.

UNO’s Color Blind Redesign: Mattel made headlines this week as they released a color blind friendly version of the classic card game, UNO. As we all know, UNO requires and relies on the identification of colors to play. This has been accomplished with the implementation of ColorADD, a symbol-based system where each color is represented by a unique icon. The rules remain the same, but with 350 million color blind people around the globe, this is definitely a game changer (pun intended!). (LINK)

 

The 3 A.M. Challenge: Remember telling your friends ghost stories in the middle of the night as a kid? Well, there’s a new trend that’s keeping kids awake, and it’s probably not what you think. YouTube creators have been uploading videos of themselves attempting to interact with the paranormal at 3 A.M. (the devil’s hour) and it’s catching on. These videos are getting millions of views from young thrill-seekers looking to get scared while their parents are asleep. Speaking of scary, are you up on the Dear David thread? Hope you’re not a fan of sleep! (LINK)

 

Instagram tests a feature that lets users share Stories directly to Facebook: Instagram Stories have been a massive hit for brands and individuals alike, but as you might have noticed, the same cannot be said for Facebook Stories. On a daily basis, most people post to their Instagram Stories, while Facebook’s own version is only seeing a fraction of the action. In hopes of remedying this engagement problem, Instagram is testing out a feature that would allow users to upload their stories from Instagram to Facebook. We think “stories” as a content vehicle are here to stay, but mainstream adoption has been slow. So we’re watching this test closely. (LINK)

 

Taylor Swift Tix: You know TFW you go to buy tickets on Ticketmaster at the moment they go on sale, only to see the show is sold out in a time that seems humanly impossible? It was probably because it wasn’t entirely humans, or fans for that matter. In an attempt to combat bots snatching up tickets before true fans can get their hands on them, Taylor Swift has teamed up with Ticketmaster to introduce a verified fan program that incentivizes people to buy merch, music, and share to get a better place in line. After reading comments and reactions, it appears as though some fans aren’t wild about the model. We can’t see this standing in the way of Swifties by any means. (LINK)

 

Smile-to-Like Social Engagement: A few months ago Facebook quietly filed patents that would secretly use your phone’s camera to track your emotional reactions to your newsfeed and then serve up similar content, and another that generate emoji reactions to posts you’re reading based on your facial expression. Although Facebook claims this may never be released to the public, this week we’re testing out Polygram, a new photo-based social network that gauges your facial expressions and tallies up responses based on smiles or frowns. Creepy and cool, right? Wait, are you smiling or frowning right now? This email software must be too dumb to tell. (LINK)

 

RIP Mosquito: This one hits close to home for us Minnesotans. A Twitter user had his account permanently deactivated for angrily gloating over the corpse of a mosquito he had killed. The user had tweeted the following in Japanese: “Bastard! Where do you get off biting me all over while I’m just trying to relax and watch TV? Die! (Actually you’re already dead).” Cyberbullying and online abuse is a huge problem for Twitter, who recently announced it would increase action against abusive accounts 10x over last year. We’re guessing their AI moderators flagged the account based on the combination of words like “bastard” and “die.” (LINK)

 

Netflix-branded Weed: This week the streaming giant partnered with a pop-up dispensary in West Hollywood, Calif. to promote its new series, Disjointed. The promotion featured 12 strains of marijuana based on 10 Netflix shows, including Disjointed, Orange Is the New Black and Mystery Science 3000. The dispensary sold over a hundred jars of the Netflix marijuana (or roughly a pound), and although Netflix didn’t actually touch the pot, the stunt created an international news cycle that filled our feeds with munchie-fueled jealousy. (LINK)

 

Meme of the Week: A man walks down a city street with his girlfriend, head turned backward, ogling a woman walking the other direction. This is the “distracted boyfriend” stock photo, an image that launched a thousand memes. The meme has been remixed to make statements on things like dogsJessie’s Girlsolar eclipse, and even some brands have gotten into it – like Penguin Random House. Wired tracked down the stock photographer to get his take on the history of the photo. Which came from a photo shoot looking to create “infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way.” Because that’s a thing. (LINK)

Are We Talkin’ PSLs Now, or Nah? In an attempt to capitalize on the inevitable social buzz that accompanies peak pumpkin season, companies have been releasing their pumpkin offerings earlier and earlier each year. It’s a delicate move, because launching too early reeks of greed and launching too late, well, won’t have that intended “buzz-driving” effect. One thing’s for certain though, people are still digging pumpkin. Sales of pumpkin products, are still growing year-over-year (though the rate is beginning to taper). Happy Halloween? (LINK)

 

Hurricane #FAKENEWS:  We all know social media can be incredibly helpful during natural disasters for organizing aid efforts and letting friends and family in on your whereabouts. However, it’s also when madness ensues, boys cry “Wolf!” and #FAKENEWS imagery is spread. Next time you’re wondering if there really is a shark in the streets of Houston, save the image and take it to Tineye or Google Image Search. Either of those will confirm or debunk the image in question. (LINK)