Social Pulse, Week of 7-20

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. Sign up to get this in your inbox every Friday here.

SocNet Updates: Instagram shared the top hashtags from the past couple of months related to social justice on Instagram, and is adding Personal Fundraisers to stickers on Instagram Stories. Facebook is creating teams to study racial bias on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is testing new iOS app icons and animated open screen that help reinforce the real-time news aspect of the platform. TikTok announced a $200M creator fund. Snapchat rolled out the first of its Snap Minis, an integration with meditation app Headspace.

Amazon’s Ground Delivery Drones Introduced to the U.S. Amazon’s Scout robot has started making deliveries in Atlanta, Georgia and Franklin, Tennessee. It’s the size of a cooler and rolls at walking pace. And yes, even though they are autonomous, “Amazon Scout ambassador” will be shadowing them at first to be sure they don’t roll into traffic or humans don’t mess with them.  

COVID-19 Social Media Behavior Watch: This week Pinterest shared new research that shows more people than ever before are turning to Pinterest for wellbeing and self-care. In fact, Pinterest has recently seen the highest searches ever around mental wellness ideas including  meditation (+44%), gratitude (+60%) and positivity (+42%) that jumped from February to May. Read the full report here.

Deepfake Watch: MIT released this deepfake video of President Nixon breaking the news that NASA failed and astronauts died on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission using “real” footage of Nixon, a voice actor reading the contingency speech, and deepfake technologies to make it believable. Partially because there’s a lot of forgiveness of 1969-era recordings, the result is extremely believable. And the latest indicator this technology is becoming more accessible and thus more dangerous for our digital future.  

On Demand + Pickup Comes to C-Stores: 7-Eleven has expanded its delivery app to offer customers the option to order and pay for items ahead of time. Now you can finally order some beef jerky and a Mountain Dew at the gas station and cut the line. 🤠

Spotify Adds Video to Podcasts: This week Spotify announced creators can add video to their audio podcasts. To start watching, just press play on your desktop or mobile app. The creator-made videos will start automatically and sync immediately with your audio feed. If you’re multitasking between apps or want to lock your device during the episode, no worries: your audio will continue to play in the background with no interruption. And this is your reminder that Michelle Obama’s podcast comes out on July 29.  

Weekend Plans: Comic-Con is virtual this year. Check out panels, the online exhibit hall, and more online. You can still dress up. You’ll just need to do it from the comfort of your home.

Save this for 1 a.m. Here’s what we’ve been waiting for… Endless Doomscroller. An endless stream of fear-mongering headlines, without all the specifics. And it never ends. Perfect for those late nights when you know you should put your phone away, but you just can’t. (note: this sarcasm. Please take care of yourselves!)

TikTok of the Week: Me in 2038 in my kids’ junior high production of Hamilton Jr.

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