Social Pulse, Week of 4-20

Every week I keep tabs on what’s trending, new technology and consumer habits that impact the social web. These are summed up in a round-up called Social Pulse.

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Starlink Satellite Spotting: That’s not a string of UFOs flying above your house in the night sky. Those are Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites that will soon be bringing high-speed internet to the world (albeit really frustrating astronomers). Find out when they will be visibly passing overhead your home next at

SocNet Updates: Facebook is rolling out a seventh Reaction – it’s called Care but it looks like a hug, and will start rolling out next week globally. Facebook is also adding animation tools to still photos in Facebook Stories. TikTok added more web tools outside of the mobile app. Google now lets you add TV and movie searches to a watchlist on mobile. Twitter is testing new ways to display Retweets with comments. Instagram is fast-tracking account memorialization and is testing ways to syndicate Instagram live streams to Facebook.  

Embracing the Chaotic Side of Zoom: The New Yorker’s Naomi Fry wrote a longform ode to the background noises, bathrobes, and other bloopers that are part of our collective workstyle today.

Facebook Gaming: This week Facebook launched a dedicated gaming app to compete with YouTube and Twitch. It offers a similar experience to the Gaming tab on Facebook’s desktop, which lets users broadcast themselves or watch a streamer playing games instead. It’s in the Google Play Store now and iOS soon.

Alexa Finds Her Voice: Amazon is introducing a new long form speaking style for Alexa, which can be used in Skills for a more natural sounding experience when reading long pieces of content, like articles or podcasts. See what you think – short style, long style.

Is Fortnite the Metaverse? No, but it has a good start. For those looking for the next frontier in interactive engagement (the next web!), Fortnite is the place. And if this week’s Travis Scott concert that competed with NFL draft night is any indication, it’s well on its way. Key quote: “Fortnite is a game… But ask that question again in 12 months.” If you missed it, the Travis Scott Astronomical event will repeat on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

Drunken Website Testing: Your website should be so simple, a drunk person could use it. And now you can pay a drunk person to test your website. And he will record a video for you, with hilarious results. Here are examples of his reviews of Gizmodo and Hubspot (note: please consume and surf responsibly).  

App of the Week: Chatparty is videochat without audio. Finally, you can interact with people around the room without having to hear them. Try it on your desktop here. Be sure to invite some friends. To videochat. Without audio.

You Have 4 Minutes to Dial That Phone Number: Watch these young people struggle to dial a rotary phone.

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