The Couples Who Sleep ‘Together’ Over Videochat: The Atlantic has a piece about the comfort, romance and accountability of sleeping with Skype or FaceTime on all night long with your significant other. Key quote: “The absence of touch may make videochatting less physically intimate than sharing a bed, but simulated proximity can create a different type of intimacy: While one might share a bed with a one-night stand, one would presumably never fall asleep with a stranger on FaceTime. Almost all the people I talked with stressed that they could sense their partner’s presence through the screen.”
Hype House and the LA House Influencer Trend: The Real World is entering its 26th season, and the idea of putting influential young people together is only getting more social. Last month we told you about Faze Clan House. And now comes the story of Hype House, the latest in the “collab house” trend. Hype House features 19 young influencers from TikTok – including 15 year-old Charli D’Amelio — who use the mostly unfurnished home to film content and collaborate across their channels. Per the NYT, ever since Hype House came on the scene swarms of other TikTok collectives have been making plans to take on LA. TikTokers began discussing a Melanin Mansion for African-American creators. And Cabin Six, an L.G.B.T.-focused collective, held public auditions last week.
Joke Twitter: Podcaster Nathan Allebacher has a really long read filled with great links about The Viral Icons Of Twitter, the young joke writers of “Joke Twitter” who spark memes, get hired to write comedy fulltime, and are responsible for all that great content you see screenshotted and shared on Instagram, Buzzfeed and late night TV. Key quote: “Well… @notviking tweets about how Dr. Pepper is a woman and soup. @michaelaokla exposes insane men through SheRatesDogs and has a thing for furbies… @roxiqt loves raccoons. @ryanyeetz tweets about bro culture (and now goes by Kelbin). The list goes on. Each one of them has ongoing bits and quirks that attract an audience. Their followers don’t just follow for entertaining content, they follow because they personally relate.”
Rushkoff Looks Back on Digital Fan Boys: Digital futurist Douglas Rushkoff surveys the cultural, mental health and political damage done by always-on connectivity of the last decade and writes “Was Humanity Simply Not Ready for the Internet?” His conclusion: “I’m thinking the answer wouldn’t have been to talk less about the power and potential of the net, but more. These technologies would have risen with or without those of us who saw in them the chance to connect humanity and unleash our species’ true potentials.” It’s a good read from the author of Team Human.
Twitter News: This week Twitter announced they are removing the Audience Insights Page within Twitter Analytics at the end of the month. That data wasn’t actually that helpful, but it’s disappointing that instead of making it better they are killing it. Meanwhile, Twitter announced they are exploring adding a new setting for “conversation participants” right on the compose screen. It has four options: Global, Group, Panel, and Statement. Key quote: “Getting ratio’d, getting dunked on, the dynamics that happen that we think aren’t as healthy are definitely part of … our thinking about this.”
Deepfakes Coming to TikTok? Less than a week since Snapchat announce its Cameo feature, comes news that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, had developed a feature that called Face Swap using deepfake technology that inserts faces into other people’s videos. The company has now said they will not be launching it publicly, but given mainstream adoption trends, it’s likely to be introduced at some point this year.
The Economics of Unused Gift Cards: The Hustle wrote a great piece about gift cards and what happens when they aren’t used. Key stats: Shoppers using gift cards are 2.5x more likely to pay full price for an item than a customer paying with cash/credit card. At any given time, 10% to 19% of gift card balances remain unredeemed — and around 6% of gift cards are never even used. Starbucks recognized $105 million in revenue from unclaimed gift cards in 2017. That’s 57 million cups of coffee.