Social Pulse, Week of 10-12-2020

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.

Your Next Amazon Box Comes Alive with AR: Between now and Halloween, Amazon will ship boxes with a new eco-friendly design that has a large white pumpkin on the side. Customers that draw on the pumpkin and scan the QR code will see their pumpkin drawing come to life through the magic of augmented reality. Download the Amazon AR app here (iOS, Android).

The Next Instagram for Audio: Would you rather talk and listen than watch and record? With the early success of invite-only audio start-up Clubhouse and gaming platform Discord, dozens of audio startups are raising capital, including: Betty Labs, Geneva, Chalk, Rodeo and Spoon. Key quote: “Entrepreneurs are betting that consumers and professionals, sick of endless texting and Zoom calls, will turn to these apps with relief.”

Google Duplex Can Finally Make Your Phone Appointments For You: Google has quietly rolled out haircut appointment booking for Google Duplex, its AI chat agent. Similar to this 2018 demo video, users with supported devices in the U.S. can have Google Assistant call barbershops, hairstylists, and salons to reserve appointments on their behalf without having to place calls themselves.

“Hey Siri, tell everyone…” Beyond the new iPhone news this week came the introduction of “Intercom,” a new feature that allows an iOS-ecosystem-enabled home to communicate between HomePod, CarPlay, iPhone, etc. It’s similar to Alexa’s “announce” feature and finally connects all of Apple’s IoT devices together in a really compelling way, especially with the growing scale of CarPlay, Apple Watch SE for kids, AirPods, and more. PS: here’s how to choose which new iPhone is right for you.

Anti-Racism Moves: Facebook banned Holocaust denier content and anti-vax content. Yelp will start flagging businesses that have been accused of racism, a new practice that some critics say could be abused by users. Triller joined TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Etsy in banning QAnon content. Twitter has said it suspended a number of accounts that claimed to be owned by Black supporters of President Trump. Barbie may be a controversial toy character, but this week a video called Barbie and Nikki Discuss Racism is going viral and earning praise for its clarity and tone about standing up to racism.

Business Reads of the Week: What is a show without an audience?; The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation; How Futurists Cope with Uncertainty; CEO’s Rediscover the Family Dinner Table

Weekend Watch: The Social Network just turned 10 years old and is a fascinating watch in 2020. John Was Trying to Contact Aliens is a super compelling 16 minute Netflix pick. Walt Disney Imagineering lead Mark Mine produced 25 Years of the Gartner Hype Cycle about which technology is immediately adopted and which are “stuck” in the hype. Maker Faire has moved virtual and you can tune into all of their events this weekend here.

And if you’re not an Apple fan, it’s worth watching the first 15 minutes of the #AppleEvent this week. Apple is redefining how to do “live” virtual events in the Covid-19 era, with a mix of pre-recorded live action, highly produced video, camera movement, on-screen graphics, and music/audio mix that captures and holds attention. Watch the stream here.

Quick hits:

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