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.
It’s Whamageddon Season! Whamageddon is a game played during the Christmas season in which players try to go from December 1 to Christmas Day without hearing “Last Christmas” by Wham! If you hear the song between those days, you are out of the game and have to post “#Whamageddon” on social media to indicate that you lost. The game starts next Tuesday, and by knowing about this game, you are now playing whether you planned to or not. Good luck!
Flash is Forever: In the late 1990s, Flash software unlocked a massive amount of creativity in the world wide web – including art, animations, and games. As we near the end of 2020, support for Flash is ending across all browsers. But there’s great news this week, with the news the Internet Archive has started curating and archiving classic Flash experiences using an emulator that will work in any browser – with 800 and counting uploaded so far. Some of my favorite picks: Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Badger, Teen Girl Squad, Rock Paper Siz, and some classic advergames (now archived forever) from Fritos and McD’s.
Winning the Anti-Fake News Game: If you play an online game where you spread fake news, are you more able to spot it in the real world? Harmony Square is a free game designed by psychologists to help teach the basics of misinformation, why it’s created, what it looks like and how it spreads. In the game, it’s your job to sow discord and chaos by amping up emotional headlines, spreading falsehoods, and weaponize emotional language. Players in the study were less likely to rate misinformation as “reliable” than they had prior to playing, and showed “reduced willingness to share fake news with others.”
Snapchat Spotlight Competes with TikTok and Reels: This week Snapchat launched scrollable Snapchat Spotlight, the disappearing social network’s new algorithmic feed to swipe through video content. At first review, it’s pretty good. In fact, it’s significantly more scrollable and intuitive than Reels. TikTok is still king, but this is a good flex for eyeballs and attention on Snap’s part. Find it in your app by clicking the PLAY button in the bottom right corner of the app.
Amazon’s Glasses are Now Available: Starting this week, Amazon’s Echo Frames smart glasses are now available for public purchase, marking one of the first mainstream “hearables” device available at-scale. With a price point of $250, Echo Frames are equipped with embedded speakers, microphones, and Bluetooth access to your phone’s Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Here’s my full review of the first generation Echo Frames.
Slowed + Reverbed: TikTok is once again surfacing new music trends we’ll see expand outside the platform in the coming year. This time it’s “slowed and reverb,” a complement to the lo-fi hip-hop subgenre that’s been spreading through YouTube, Soundcloud and now TikTok. Key quote: “Slowed and reverb is essentially remixes of pre-existing songs from various genres (but primarily rap) that solely uses screwing, or slowing down, and avoids chopping — overlapping the same song milliseconds a part from each other and cutting up certain sections so that they repeat — topping everything off with a layer of reverb that emphasizes the slow haze of it all.” Listen: childish gambino – redbone (slowed + reverb)
Business Reads of the Week: Why post-pandemic Ubers and Netflixes will be nothing like their predecessors; Why DTC brands plan to use texting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year; Signs that your apathy is really pandemic burnout; Quiet people in meetings are incredible
- Charli D’Amelio reached 100 million TikTok followers, more than 2x Will Smith, 3x The Rock, 4x Selena Gomez, and 5x Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande.
- Science fiction artist Simon Stålenhag marked his directorial debut with this music video for Duvchi’s Geronimo.
- Amazon Sidewalk launched to share your internet with your neighbors’ IOT devices, and here are instructions for how to turn it off.
- Twitter will be reopening verification in 2021 and is taking input about it.
- Instagram’s Threads is skyrocketing in app downloads thanks to a new UI and also TikTok users using it for closed caption videos.
- Insta of the Week: @depthsofwikipedia
- Tweet of the Week: @EmojiMashupPlus
- GIF of the Week: this optical illusion
- Best 12 Year-Old Documentary to Watch on YouTube This Weekend: The Rock-afire Explosion (2008)