SWAN of the Week, Number 161

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remember computer room? now every room is computer room. makes u think


Happy Friday!

Last week I took my own advice and tried do to my annual unplugged vacation and took the family camping.

Except someone (one of you???) made one of those viral “What XXXXX are you?” Instagram accounts about me and it kept blowing up my phone… 🤠

Instagram: What Greg Swan Are You? 

Regardless, I did spend time away from work and side-hustle email last week, and it was awesome to get some time with my family outside of our own house.

Speaking of, we’re still doing our surprise family road trips — now 12 weekends in a row…

Post: You Need a Surprise Road Trip This Weekend

If you have an idea of where we should go next, let me know! 

Back in action this week, I’ve been testing out the Alexagate — an ultrasonic smart device that jams your Echo’s mic so it can’t hear you say “Alexa…” or ANYTHING ELSE. Why not just unplug your Echo if you’re worried about Amazon eavesdropping? Don’t ask stupid questions. 

Post: Three Claps for Alexagate

See you on the internet!


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.

SocNet Updates: Facebook updated its Chat Plugin for business websites, and launched SocNet Updates: Facebook updated its Chat Plugin for business websites, and launched free education sessions and awareness programs as part of National Black Business Month, which celebrates the contributions of black-owned businesses around the world. Instagram’s Reels launched (see below) and new fonts are now rolled out for all users. Snapchat has a new B2B advertising push and microsite and case studies. Twitter is surveying users to see what options they would pay for (aka edit button!). Pinterest is leading social media stocks

TikTok, Reels and More: Given the Trump administration’s pressure on TikTok, here’s a look at what Microsoft ownership of TikTok may look like. In copycat news, Snapchat launched a huge music integration similar to TikTok’s. Instagram introduced Reels, a TikTok-like upgrade for current Instagram users. And if you haven’t installed Byte, aka “new Vine,” take a look here. Meanwhile, back on TikTok, check out The Weeknd’s exclusive virtual experience today at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT.

Social Space Watch: With the successful splashdown of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon this week, there is lots of talk about space in social. Here’s a list of Instagrams to follow if you love space. If you have a spare $250,000, you can make a reservation on Virgin Galactic here. And check out NASA’s “Kids Club” for games and activities.

Flying Cars are Legal Now?! New Hampshire is first state to allow flying cars on the road. Local legislators passed House Bill 1182, aka the “Jetson Bill,” that includes a provision that makes flying cars legal on public roads.

Social Media Activism in 2020: This week The New Yorker wrote about the power of social media so far in 2020 to speak truth to power, drive boycotts, and rally disenfranchised audiences. Key quote: “What’s distinct about the current movement is not just the clarity of its messaging, but its ability to convey that message through so much noise.” And it speaks to as the second act of 2020, and how “network protest” may change, adapt, and be co-opted.  

What ARGS Can Teach Us: Here’s a long read about the history of Alternate Reality Games, used in both marketing and just for fun. And what we can learn from ARGs as it pertains to conspiracy theories, QAnon, and more. Key quote: “Conspiracy theories thrive in the absence of trust. Today, people don’t trust authorities because authorities have repeatedly shown themselves to be unworthy of trust… ARGs teach us that the search for knowledge and truth can be immensely rewarding, not in spite of their deliberately-fractured stories and near-impossible puzzles, but because of them.” (h/t Tim Brunelle)

What Does the Public Want From Art in a Post-COVID World? Based on new Culture Track research with a massive sample size, the answer for what people want from art is the same as pre-COVID – escapism. And 81% reported doing something creative during the pandemic; 53% reported tuning into live streams of music, classes or workshops; and digital culture is changing, too. Read the whole report here.

App of the Week: The NPE Team from Facebook’s latest app experiment is called E.gg, and it’s inspired by the early web, Geocities and MySpace. On E.gg you create canvases — free-form mixed media collages and pages that can quickly become a disorganized mess, just like the good old days of social media. Join the waitlist here.

Tweet of the Week: @tinydotblot is a Rorschach test for Twitter. What do you see?

Just for Fun: Google ‘cha cha slide’ and click on the sparkling microphone. Volume up!

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