Social Pulse, Week of 5-25

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 of the Week: After adding fact-check markers to President Trump’s tweets, the administration called for increased regulation of social media platforms amid accusations of bias against Republican politicians. Facebook is under fire after a new report shows it studied how the platform polarizes users, then largely shelved the research. Facebook is launching a new music app called Collab and you can sign up the beta here. Instagram added Messenger Rooms for up to 50 people. Twitter introduced native scheduling, testing DM chat windows, launched image cards for Lists and is adding alt-text for images. LinkedIn is exploring adding a more COVID-friendly reaction, similar to Facebook’s “Care.” TikTok’s under the radar move into AR filters is getting more attention, as well its test of a CTA button in influencer videos that link to brand websites.


Consumers Want Social Ads Back to Normal: A new survey of 5,000 users showed that consumers in the U.S. say that they want brands to return back to normal, but adjust their advertising messages to how the pandemic affects their activities. That marks a shift since the beginning of the pandemic, when more than one-third of consumers expected brands to advise them on how to stay safe during lockdowns.

TikTok Cults: The NYT writes about Step Chickens and the rise of TikTok cults, as the changing nature of “influencer” moves from celebrity to niche specialist to meme creators who are sparking real life fandoms equal to that of pop stars and perhaps even more powerful. Key quote: You no longer need “1,000 true fans,” as conventional wisdom dictated a decade ago. “Today, creators can effectively make more money off fewer fans,” wrote Li Jin, a former partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, in a blog post. If you’re able to cultivate a cult of just 100 loyal followers, you can make a very good living in what Ms. Jin describes as the “passion economy.”

WFH Desk of the Future: The head of VR and AR at Facebook shared this video of an experimental mixed reality workspace powered via prototype Oculus hardware with digital displays, touch gestures, and holograms. This isn’t the Matrix. It’s a real, working prototype.


Bot or Not: A Turing Test is a method of inquiry in artificial intelligence for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being. Chatbots are getting increasingly complex. To see for yourself, check out BotOrNot.com and see if you’re chatting with a human or a robot. You have to do this.


App of the Week: “Randonauting” is using a random number generator to produce specific coordinates close to your current location to visit. The new app Randonautica provides you with a totally random coordinates walkable from wherever you are right now! It’s like Pokemon Go, except without anyone to catch or battle. It’s just a random place you’ve probably not ever thought of going to – as directed by your phone!. What a great app, right? Download here for iOS and Android.


Video Game Music that Reacts to You: Sony has filed an A.I. patent called “Dynamic Music Creation in Gaming” that will that react to how you play, or to your emotions, and creates different emotional variants to musical scores that will trigger specific feelings in gamers as they play. Look for this technology to be utilized in upcoming games for the PS5.


Lickable Screens are Coming: The Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum was a piece of gum invented by Willy Wonka that feeds a person almost like they’re really eating dinner, starting with tomato soup, roast beef, and baked potatoes before concluding with blueberry pie. And it’s a children’s story. But now a researcher from Meiji University in Japan has invented a “taste display” that can artificially recreate any flavor by triggering the five different tastes on a user’s tongue when you lick it. The goal is to get the technology into a vape pen size. Would you lick it?


Instas of the Week: @springfieldalbums revisits classic album covers with characters from The Simpson’s. @neverguessedwho tells the untold story of Guess Who? Boardgame characters. @bigdogs is apparently the official Instagram account of Big Dogs and is a must-follow.


Video Hack of the Week: This Subaru plays Toto’s “Africa” if you forget your keys

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