Social Pulse, Week of May 4

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: Instagram is testing and soon rolling out new fonts for Stories. Facebook is bringing back it’s “Live With” feature that lets you go live with another person. Twitter published its latest calendar planning guidance for the month of May and is testing messaging pop-ups to alert you that your tweet may be offensive plus new comment thread designs. Pinterest published a guide on current and future content considerations on the platform. YouTube is hosting a 10-day digital film festival at the end of May partnering with 20 major film festivals.


Fornite Party Royale Mode: As shared two weeks ago, Fortnite is continuing to position itself as the metaverse, or “third place,” where people hang out for more than killing each other. This week they introduced a new, violence-free mode for the game, dubbed “party royale,” which removes two of the biggest elements from the experience: weapons and buildings. If you haven’t registered a Fortnite account and poked around, now is the time!


Black Mirror-Goosebumps of the Week: Watch these unmanned farming drones follow a truck through a field. Each drone operates autonomously using their own on-board computers while working in the fields, and they will even drive themselves to the next field without a lead vehicle. In the post-COVID-era, we’ll continue to see more automation coming to the “farm gate to table plate” industries.


I’ve Never Heard of That Song: 9% of Gen Z recognizes “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed, while only a third of Millennials can identify “Return to Sender” by Elvis. Inspired by the YouTube trend of Gen Z’ers filming themselves listening to Queen, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin for the first time, The Pudding has created a generation-based music challenge to track the speed at which an entire generation forgets Top 40 hits from the previous decade. Try it here.


Space Debris: With all the buzz about SpaceX’s StarLink satellites that you can visibly see on a clear night (here’s where and when to look), it’s worth noting our near-atmosphere is cluttered with space garbage. Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL. It’s pretty shocking, actually.


Instagram of the Week: @Morphy_Me is an extremely professional celebrity face mashup, but @mystergiraffe is the insane deepfake journey we deserve.  


Listening Together: Every second on Spotify, more than 30,000 people around the world are pressing play on the same song. Check out this interactive globe experience showing two people listening to the same track, at the same time, and how many miles away from each other they are. And you can listen in, too!


Podcast of the Week: WSJ baseball writer Jared Diamond joins futurist Douglas Rushkoff to discuss how technological advancements have changed the fun and quirky ways that baseball organizations construct their teams and play the game. Why are baseball players changing their swings in order to hit more home runs? What is behind baseball’s desire to compete for the same college graduates who want to work for Amazon, Google, and major tech companies? Is there room for humans in modern baseball? Listen here.


Remember when MTV used to play music videos? Well now you can watch them again, including commercials. The Internet Archive has uploaded hours and hours of MTV recordings spanning 1981 to 1991. You just need to register a free Internet Archive account to watch.


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