Weekly Social Pulse, Week of 3/12

SXSW 2018: At South by Southwest this week we skipped the buzzworthy Westworld experience to hear Facebook Global Creative Director Andrew Keller’s presentation on Facebook for brands in 2018, featuring tips on “astounding audiences” and nods to old school community management and groups. Quantcast’s Steven Pereira’s shared advice on how brands can use A.I. to analyze ad campaigns to get the right creative for right campaign. Obama’s former speechwriter, Sarada Peri, shared thoughts on persuasive communication (instead of adverbs use a better verb; instead of adjectives use a better noun). Elon Musk spoke on colonizing Mars to the benefits of a carbon tax, autonomous cars to the future of artificial intelligence (“AI is more dangerous than nukes”). And Esther Perel shared her insights on the state of modern love. It was an uplifting, educational and inspiring week. What a time to be alive, right?

China’s Xinhua Bookstore Retires Humans: Twenty new staff-less bookstores opened in Beijing this year, operating 24 hours a day and featuring an automated system with no regular human staff. These all-day bookstores are part of the book-selling Xinhua franchise, and are planned to be built at Beijing universities, government offices and malls. Customers enter their WeChat account details and get their faces scanned before entering, and the store offers “precise and humanized” book suggestions based on their purchase histories. The automated store even features a robot checkout helper, who is touted as a key feature of the store. RIP humans who sell books (as if they weren’t endangered enough already)! (LINK)


Drake Played Fortnite on Twitch and Broke the Internet: Forget March Madness, this week more than 600,000 people tuned in to watch Drake and others play a popular game on Twitch, a streaming service that allows people to watch others play video games. It was a record-breaking event and significant milestone for E-Sports, which continues to see exponential growth while more traditional sports (e.g., NFL, Olympics) face audience downturns. This particular Fortnite smackdown also involved pro-gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster and rapper Travis Scott. This week Amazon announced it will offer free Twitch games for Prime Customers , so look for even more mainstreaming of this E-Sports phenomenon into 2018. (LINK)

Google Lens and Maps and Mario Updates: Using a new button in Google Photos, users can now ask Google AI to analyze the subject and turn the data into action automatically. For example, with Google Lens you can take a picture of a business card and Google Lens will save the phone number to your contact list. Also this week it was announced Google is opening up Maps so game developers can create the next Pokémon Go. And In honor of Mario’s birthday, Nintendo partnered with Google and added a feature to navigate your streets as Mario in Mario Kart. Watch out for banana peels!

Here’s how to get Mario on your Google Maps:

  1. Update to the latest version of Google Maps (App Store on iPhones or Google Play on Androids).
  2. Enter a location you want to go.
  3. Click on Directions.
  4. Instead of pressing “Start,” press the “?” next to it.
  5. Oh yeah! Mario Time!