Social Pulse, Week of 4-27

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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SocNet Updates: Facebook is hosting a virtual commencement for the #ClassOf2020 featuring Oprah and Awkwafina. They also launched Messenger for Desktop, including the ability for 50 people to meet at once. Google Meets is now free for everyone. Instagram is testing a “DM Me” sticker to drive more Stories engagement. Reddit launched “Start Chatting” to facilitate small group chats. Brands are launching campaigns with Snapchat’s Snap Camera designed for desktop video conferences.

Watch SXSW 2020 Films at Home: Amazon Prime Video is hosting a one-time online film festival that showcases a collection of films from the 2020 SXSW line-up. They will be live until May 6. Watch here!

Finding Structure and Escapism in Throwback Games: NBC News writes about the explosion of 1:1 livestreaming role-playing games, like “Animal Crossing,” “The Sims” and “Stardew Valley.” Key quote: “Whether they’re visiting a tropical island with friends, starting a farm or acting out an entirely new life, the games have become windows to a world in which the coronavirus is completely absent.”

The Deepfake Lawsuits are Coming: With the rise and easy of deepfake technology, we’re going to start to see lots of pushback from rights-holders and those whose likeness and voice matters to their livelihoods. This week Jay-Z took action against deepfakes of him rapping Hamlet and Billy Joe. Here’s Jay-Z rapping “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Listen fast before it gets taken down.

Social Media use is UP: As social distancing continues, it’s no surprise US social network users are spending more time than previously estimated with social platforms, with a daily average of 1 hour, 22 minutes. Facebook daily use is up 11% year over year. LinkedIn sessions are up 26%. And Instagram is estimated to grow 14% this year. In-app mobile purchases are up 22%. And researchers are still waiting to see how the mobile versus desktop trends will shake out.

Twitter of the Week: @RateMySkypeRoom offers reviews of people’s home offices, backgrounds, and video conference setups.

App of the Week: With Cassette you record your answers to funny, serious and thought-provoking questions or can listen to answers from people in their own voice. Why audio only? “Reading someone’s answer is different than hearing it in their own voice. It’s raw, real, and more interesting. Similarly, recording yourself can be a refreshing, grounding experience.” (download here)

A.I. Meme Generator: Do you know what the world needs? More memes. This Meme Does Not Exist is A.I.-powered meme generator whose  captions are generated by a deep artificial neural network. Nothing about the text generation is hardcoded. And some of them are pretty good.

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