Pinterest published its year-end “Seasonal Insights” deck (PDF) – broken down by month, holidays and events. Perfect for planning your annual content calendar.

Snapchat launched its 2019 Trend Predictions, which are worth a skim. Oh, and they released Dog Lenses over the holidays so people can finally turn their dog into a bunny.

Fortnite is emerging as the new primary social media gathering spot each day. If you haven’t yet played, you should! Check out this quote by Owen Williams: “Not only is Fortnite the new hangout spot, replacing the mall, Starbucks or just loitering in the city, it’s become the coveted ‘third place’ for millions of people around the world.”

YouTube is going to stream Coachella again, which means we can all see Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande from the comfort of our couches. Meanwhile, the fake Coachella line-ups spreading online are hilarious.

Netflix’s ‘Bird Box’ un-marketing campaign was a smart use of timing (holiday break), promoting to a captive audience (recommended viewing to Netflix subscribers), and star power (Sandra Bullock). This is the same formula that helped Adam Sandler’s Netflix movies become so popular years ago. Bob Lefsetz called it “a sea change in the entertainment promotional complex.” But there’s a meme and internet culture story here. In fact, the Bird Box Challenge has become such a problem Netflix had to ask people not to hurt themselves. The memes themselves are creating more viewership, despite the fact the film isn’t even very good. But for Netflix, it isn’t about positive reviews, it’s about views. And they’re getting them.

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Fornite Dances Sparking Lawsuits: One of the most viral trends of 2018 is the popularity of dances from the popular game Fortnite. Including the Floss, Orange Justice, Electro L and Take the L. But some of the inspiration for these dances are now suing the video game developers for copying their dance moves. Specifically, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host Alfonso Ribeiro says Epic Games copied “The Carlton Dance” he made famous on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Ryan “Backpack Kid” Huggins is suing for the emote “Floss.” Check out the side by side comparisons here (and practice up to impress your nieces and nephews over the holidays!).

 

 

Instagram Testing Influencer Accounts: Recognizing the perhaps Business Profiles didn’t fit influencer social behavior, Instagram is testing “Creator Accounts” with special access to insights, direct message filters, custom contact information and categories. Assuming this test goes well, look for these features to roll out in Q1.

 

Same Sh*t, Different Year for Facebook: As we come into 2019, it looks like Facebook will continue to face an uphill battle in defending its poor data policies and transparency behind selling user information. A New York Times feature this week revealed the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed. Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages. Even though advertisers aren’t pulling out anytime soon, it’s time for some New Year’s Resolutions, Facebook!

 

 

Twitter Introduces Sparkle: After lots of conversation and controversy, this week Twitter is making it extremely easy to toggle between the ranked timeline to the original, reverse-chronological feed with a feature called “Sparkle” – enabled by tapping the cluster of stars in the top right corner of your Twitter app. And unlike the default issues they’ve had in the past, Twitter will now learn if you prefer chronological and set that as your default.

 

Snapchat’s Year in Review: Snap is making customized year-end videos for users with the Stories we’ve saved to Memories. Although Snapchat has had a rocky year, active users are loving to see their algorithmically-created years in review. To see yours, open Snapchat, navigate to the camera screen and then swipe up to Memories. Your video should be at the top of the page.

 

 

Other news worth noting this week…

 

  • I’ve been enjoying this closed Facebook group called “A group where you can only say Same” where if you leave any comments other than the word ‘same’ you are banned. Same!

 

 

Voice Memos and Countdowns come to Instagram: This week Instagram launched voice messaging – bringing the emerging voice memo behavior to direct message groups. They also launched a Countdown Sticker option in the sticker menu. Just set date, time (or all-day), and your followers can subscribe to your countdown event, which will send out a reminder the countdown is complete. Bravo is already using Countdowns, promoting this weekend’s Vanderpump Rules episode.

 

Facebook Watch #’s Growing: This week Facebook announced that its video platform “Watch” has more than 400 million monthly users, with 75 million daily visitors who watch more than 20 minutes. It’s a small percentage given the number of active Facebook users, but demonstrates growth on the dedicated video platform worth noting. According to Axios, Facebook says that the criteria used to determine whether someone is a daily active visitor of its product is by measuring whether a user spends at least one minute on the “Watch” platform per day, but those 60 seconds do not need to be consecutive. Video consumption on Facebook is growing, albeit slowly.

 

YouTube Rewind = Massive Fail: In just over a week since releasing YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls the Rewind, the year-end round-up video of 2018 trends has over 129 million views and 11 million dislikes. This makes it the fastest and most-disliked video in the site’s history, which is pretty bad considering YouTube produced it themselves. Business Insider has a round-up of the other most-disliked videos of all-time — including Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” “Despacito” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby.”

 

 

Snapchat Testing Even More New Features: Snapchat is testing Portrait Mode, Batch Capture and charms, which are new ways to identify your friendship groups. Most of these are similar to features that already exist in Instagram, which is the exact opposite of how the two social networks have copied each other in recent years. The Next Web has details on the new Snap features here.

 

The American Meme: This week we binged Netflix’s The American Meme, featuring influencers like The Fat Jewish, Kirill, Brittany Furlan and Paris Hilton sharing their successes and struggles at building a personal brand through social media. It’s worth a watch, if only to see how Paris and The Fat Jewish scheme to create demand for fake products in the era of fake news. And while it’s not surprise that living your life online isn’t all bling and likes and champaign, the documentary does capture some darker moments and actually had us feeling the feelings for these manufactured personalities. LIKE.

 

 

 

Other news this week…

 

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-secret-history-of-the-future/id1422830638?mt=2

 

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Instagram Top 9: It’s that time of year to look back at your top performing Instagram posts and relive your year through a “Top 9” grid of the best photos. To get yours head over to TopNine.co, enter your email address, and tag your post #TopNine. What a year!

 

Elf on the Shelf Burnout: Thanks to Pinterest parenting, the bar for Elf on a Shelf pranks and stage design has reached a feverish peak in social media this year (even when you accidentally leave him in the oven). The pressure to delight not only your kiddos but also your social followers is prompting some to look for an alternate tradition — rooted in the new social behavior of opting out. It’s called Santa’s Lazy Gnome, and for $34 your family can get a plush little old man and book explaining that the gnome doesn’t need to be moved because he can see children from anywhere. No social sharing required! Priceless!

 

Glitch Chic on Insta: You may have noticed weird lines or glitchy photos on your friends’ feeds this week. Instagram confirmed it knows about the issues and is looking to rectify it. And because it’s the internet, some people are loving the glitched-out look. And also because it’s the internet, if you want to purposely glitch your photos check out the Glitche app.

 

Anatomy of an AI System: Wrapping your head around all of the systems a piece of new technology requires can be difficult – especially to see the full picture of what goes into making it and how it affects our life from sourcing materials to lifestyle benefits to global impact. To tell the story of Amazon Echo, two professors set out to map the human labor, data and planetary resources behind the A.I. assistant, and the resulting artwork, essay and microsite is a deep analysis of the beauty and drawbacks of the hottest holiday gift. You’ll never look at an Echo the same way again.

 

Amazon distribution centers

Spotify Wrapped: An analysis of 12-months of streaming can say a lot about a person, and Spotify is again helping you crunch your streaming data to see how your stacked up this year, including total minutes streamed, top artists and songs, top genres and even custom playlists based on your listening habits. See your analysis at SpotifyWrapped.com and share your results with #2018Wrapped.

 

Here’s what else is worth a skim this week…

 

  • This week Apple unveiled its list of the most downloaded iPhone apps of 2018. Topping the list is YouTube, followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger and Facebook, with Bitmjoi falling to sixth place (it was #1 in 2017!).

 

Seven-year-old Ryan of YouTube fame has made it offline, too. The mini mogul now has a collection of toys and apparel sold at Walmart stores nationwide.

When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution… Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress. – Paul Virillio

Virillio believed in this idea of the “integral accident” — that any technology is paired with the accidents it can create…

The integral accident (wikipedia)
Virilio believed that technology cannot exist without the potential for accidents. For example, Virilio argued that the invention of the locomotive also contained the invention of derailment. He saw the Accident as a rather negative growth of social positivism and scientific progress. He believed the growth of technology, namely television, separates us directly from the events of real space and real time. In it he suggested we lose wisdom and sight of our immediate horizon and resort to the indirect horizon of our dissimulated environment. From this angle, the Accident can be mentally pictured as a sort of “fractal meteorite” whose impact is prepared in the propitious darkness, a landscape of events concealing future collisions. Aristotle claimed that “there is no science of the accident”, but Virilio disagreed, pointing to the growing credibility of simulators designed to escape the accident— which he argued is an industry that is born from the unholy marriage of post-WW2 science and the military-industrial complex.
Paul Virillio is new to me, but there’s a lot here to unpack I’m going to be diving into.

“Stories” Now on Every Major Social Media Platform: It’s appears 2019 will be the year of the “Story,” with LinkedIn and YouTube both now adding the content format to their primary platforms — joining Snap, Insta and Facebook as a way to share chronological, vertical, short-form content that disappears.

 

Local News on Facebook: This week Facebooked launched “Today In,” a local news aggregator feature, in 400 small to medium-sized US cities. The feature includes previews that link out to news sites about top headlines, current discussions, school announcements and more. If you live in one of these cities, you can find this new section in the Facebook app by tapping the menu (☰) and then tapping on “Today In.”

 

Instagram Combating Fake Follows and Engagement: This week Instagram announced it will use machine learning to identify fake followers, likes and comments from users using bots and apps to falsely increase their accounts and posts. If you see an profile’s follower accounts drop en masse, it’s not because that profile offended people, but most likely because the followers were fake.

 

Bye Bye YouTube Annotations: You know those annoying translucent pop-up boxes that interrupt video viewing on YouTube? As of January, they will disappear for good across the platform. Thankfully brands and user can still use Cards and End Screens to direct viewers to additional information. Use of annotations had decreased by 70 percent, which is likely because they ever worked well on mobile (and because they were annoying!).

Image result for youtube annotations

 

Other stories worth skimming this week…

 

 

 

  • We are loving the new “Like and Subscribe” series from Funny or Die. It features Skyy Goldwynne (Dillon Francis), as a Hollywood manager who locks four of his influencer clients in a house with a camera crew. Put this on your watchlist for the weekend.

 

“If Russia had dropped propaganda leaflets by airplane over FL or MI that would universally be condemned as a hostile act. We’d shoot down the plane. But this is exactly what is happening online”

  • You can challenge your officemates to a holiday-themed Jenga game with R.L. Stine’s infamous Goosebumps villain thanks to this new Augmented Reality (AR) game, “Slappy’s Haunted Christmas” (download here: iOS, Android).

Instagram Goes All-In on Shoppable Posts: Just in time for holiday shopping, Instagram added three shopping features to help users complete a purchase in-app – including shoppable videos and a shop tab on business pages. These new features help position Instagram more directly against more shoppable-driven platforms like Pinterest and Wish.

 

Learn With Facebook: This week Facebook launched Learn With Facebook, a career development site that “focuses on both the hard and soft skills people need to advance in today’s digital workforce.” Facebook is also updating its Mentorship tool, which helps connect people in groups who are looking for a mentor in their community.

 

Snap Introduces Bitmoji Merch: This week Snap made a number of announcements, including “friendship profiles” to capture all the shared media you’ve exchanged with friends and groups in a single place, a Bitmoji cartoon that appears in your Discover feed, and selling Bitmoji merchandise. Bitmoji Merch will take avatars from you and your friends and put them on stuff like shirts, mugs, shower curtains, and phone cases. Finally!

 

Instagram Insights! This week Facebook began rolling out analytics for Instagram accounts and expanded FB Page analytics. Instagram Insights will feature deeper levels of engagement metrics, including retention rates and lifetime value of users who interact with your Instagram content. Plus, the ability to create segments around engaged audiences and see the overlap among users who have downloaded a brand’s app, visited its website or engaged with its Facebook Page. Facebook says both of these betas will be rolling out over the next several months – you’ll get a notification in your dashboard along with an email when the new data becomes available.

 

Other stories worth skimming this week…