Social Pulse, Week of 5-18

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 issued clarification about music usage across their platforms, acquired Giphy for 400 million, and Facebook Shops was announced –starting this week you can browse and buy products directly from a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile. Instagram added new Guides within profiles to help connect with resources and products. TikTok hired Disney’s head of streaming Kevin Mayer as their new CEO and experienced its first widescale user protest. Twitter changed the way embedded Tweets appear outside their platform, removed Twitter Camera features (nobody used anyway), and is now  experimenting with letting you choose who can reply to tweets.


Apple’s FaceID Becomes Mask-Friendly: Apple’s new iOS 13.5 update, released on Wednesday, makes it easier to unlock your phone without FaceID. Users with up-to-date software will now see an opportunity to enter their passcode or password when they swipe up and FaceID doesn’t work that first time.


Be Kind Rewind: Despite that fact that Netflix now has 182 million subscribers, the world’s last remaining Blockbuster is not only still open but thinks it will outlast the pandemic. Key quote: “I had a customer come in and she said, ‘I am so grateful that you reopened, because I couldn’t flip through Netflix one more time.’”


The State of Hype Houses: In early Q1, the trend of influencer-filled mansions called “hype houses” and “collab houses” – where Gen-Z influencers move to LA, live together, and make content together – was just picking up steam as the pandemic and closures hit. But the NYT reports that not only has the trend not died out, it’s on track to become one of the biggest forces in post-COVID social media. Key quote: “The first video I’ll make we’ll probably go down to Melrose or Santa Monica and we’ll just mess around in public… I think the first day out of quarantine will be a video of its own.”


IEEE’s Sobering Guidance on A.I. in VR and AR: This week IEEE released a 29-page report called “Extended Reality in A/IS” (Autonomous & Intelligent Systems)” that is incredibly relevant given so many of us are living in an immersive reality known as Zoom, Skype, Animal Crossing, Fortnite and more. Key themes include: Extended Reality [XR] changes the way we interact with society and can lead to complete disengagement. When geography is eliminated and identity morphs from physical certainty to virtuality, then cultural norms and interactions may transform in ways that supersede, supplement, or replace human interaction. XR creates opportunities for generated experiences and high levels of user control that may lead certain individuals to choose virtual life over the physical world, which has clinical implications. Download the full report here.


Podcast of the Week: You probably recognize the song “Winds of Change” by Scorpions by the iconic whistle that begins the power ballad. It became the soundtrack to the peaceful revolution sweeping Europe in the 1990s — and one of the biggest rock singles ever. According to some fans, it’s the song that ended the Cold War. And the Winds of Change podcast follows the history of the song and the rumor that it was written the CIA. Listen here.


Apple Glasses’ Latest Leak: Would you wear Apple smart glasses? 🤓 After years of patent watching, the leaks are getting more specific. Apple Glasses will be augmented reality compatible but probably won’t contain cameras, which was the biggest privacy issue with Google Glass privacy. They will support prescriptions, run off your iPhone, and the rumored price point of $499 could make them extremely competitive.


Tweet of the Week: Watch this dad doing virtual reality dive face first into his big screen TV.

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