Social Pulse, Week of 5-11

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: Twitter launched Retweets with Comments on iOS. Facebook’s introduced Messenger Rooms for Groups, and its Bitmoji-like avatars are rolling out to Messenger and in-app comments. TikTok changed its rules about brands using popular music. Instagram is rolling out new ways to combat bullying and testing new ways to skim Stories. LinkedIn is adding new polls and live video engagement tools.


Hottest Emojis of the Pandemic! The folded hands emoji 🙏 has been used in more tweets than ever before to help express our feelings about the pandemic – used 25% more times in April than last tracked. Key quote: “The way emoji is being used to describe the pandemic is basically body language for the digital age.” 


Word of the Week: “Photogrammetry” is the science of making measurements from photographs, and it’s increasingly important in digital and social circles thanks to the rapid adoption of augmented and virtual reality. Forbes has a great round-up of photogrammetry apps and innovations here. Challenge yourself to use it in a sentence today!


This Was Supposed to Be the Year Driverless Cars Went Mainstream: Even before the pandemic, self-driving car companies were facing huge roadblocks due to funding, infrastructure, and consumer adoption. Fortunately, much of the safety innovation of autonomous cars can aid us human drivers while the self-driving car revolution is postponed a few decades.


What Day Is It? UC Irvine has a good read on “temporal disintegration” and why everyone is having a hard time remembering what day it is right now. The piece includes some new research on how checking news and social media constantly doesn’t help.


This Word Does Not Exist: An ex-Instagram engineer designed a machine learning algorithm called This Word Does Not Exist that scans Reddit and creates new words with new definitions. For example: “wacamole” (a single serving of waffle batter made with a sweet cornmeal mixture), “dinnerbird” (a large North American songbird of the lily family, typically having black spots) and “zoothed” ([of a person] lively; lively). So much for making up our own words, fellow humans!


How big would a hologram of Joe Biden have to be for every person in the continental US to see him during the Democratic National Convention? Inspired by the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite, the internet figured it out this week. And he would need to be roughly 1,400 miles tall, or 255 Mount Everests stacked on top of each other. That’s a big Joe.

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