Social Pulse, Week of 9-14

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.

iOS 14: If you’re an Apple user, it’s time to update your phone! Widgets! New Memojis! And more! Read about all the goodness here. Favorite feature so far? The back tap screenshot.

Young Tech Rises: Young people in Silicon Valley are organizing as a “kind of counterpoint to the Silicon Valley establishment, which its members say is exclusive, elitist and riddled with systemic problems including sexism, ageism and racism.” This includes Gen Z Mafia (creators of Tweetledee, where you can match with your Twitter crush), Eye Mouth Eye (creators of 👁👄👁 that raised money for criminal justice reform), and more. Look for more of this trend as the next generation comes into the tech industry.

Blaseball > Baseball? Real sports are finally back, but that hasn’t stopped the latest season of Blaseball. It’s an online baseball simulation full of fake teams, fake players, and fake betting on virtual games acting out a baseball season – with games every day and post-season on Saturdays. Even if it’s fake baseball with fake wagering, there’s a huge subculture of fandom, fan art, fan fiction, and more emerging for teams with names like Kansas City Breath Mints and Seattle Garages. Sign up here and get in the game!

Hoax of the Week: If you’ve seen your Facebook friends posting sketchy legalese that says something like “Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Facebook rule where they can use your photo” it’s simply not true. Variations of this have been going around for more than 8 years, and posting statement on your feed will do nothing to invalidate the user agreement you sign to use the platform. If you’re not up for a comment fight when you see these, be sure to report these posts as “False News” so they don’t spread further. And no, Facebook won’t alert your great uncle it was you that reported it.

Smart Glasses > Dumb Glasses: Every major tech company — including Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel, Snap, and Microsoft – are working on smart glasses. Here’s a review of the new Amazon Echo Frames. And this week Facebook shared a first look at their prototype, in partnership with Ray-Ban. We’re entering this really interesting mid-step in smart glasses consumer tech. The pre-AR phase.

Body Positivity Comes to TikTok: There has always been an undercurrent of authenticity backlash to the “success theater” of perfect faces, bodies, and homes on social media. Lately, this trend is bubbling to the surface through a renewed body positivity movement on TikTok. Key quote: “They’re showing what a normal body looks like, and none of us are really used to seeing that in the media. … When we see these sorts of videos online, social media, they’re kind of breaking the illusion that everyone is perfect except us.” Here’s a list of body positive accounts to follow.  

5 Leadership Reads of the Week: 1) Your surge capacity is depleted – here’s what to do about it.  2) Intelligent Minds Like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos Embrace the Rule of Awkward Silence. You Should Too. 3) 14 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2020. 4) The internet of protest is being built on single-page websites. 5) We’re All Socially Awkward Now.

Patents of the Week: Would you pay $2 to put links in your Instagram posts? Facebook has filed for a patent for that. Although patent filings aren’t a guarantee that new technology will come to fruition, they give us a hint of where we may be headed. Other recent patents of note include: Apple headphones, electronic yarn, watching eSports in VR, and joining meetings on Xbox.

Stream of the Week: The Social Dilemma on Netflix is required watching for any marketer who touches social media or anyone who uses social media (so… everybody?). Former leaders at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Mozilla share the history and purpose of algorithms, advertising strategy, infinite scroll, and the Like button. After watching, read through this intelligent critique of many of the assertions made by the filmmakers.

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Social Pulse, Week of 7-6

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 added the ability to “Pin” comments on your posts. Facebook launched even more free online classes for community managers. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are headed toward integration. Twitter tweeted “You can have an edit button when everyone wears a mask” which got 2.8M Likes and is rumored to be building a subscription service. TikTok opened its self-serve ad platform to all businesses. Venmo is piloting Business Profiles for small sellers. Uber acquired Postmates for $2.65B. Snapchat released new research about how Snapchatters engage with the NFL. YouTube announced an update to its monetization policy which will mean that videos of 8 minutes in length, instead of 10, will now be eligible for mid-roll ad.

Fortnite’s We the People: Last weekend Fortnite’s Party Royale aired an in-game showing of We The People, a discussion about systemic racism in media, culture, and entertainment with by Van Jones of CNN, journalists Elaine Welteroth and Jemele Hill, and musicians Killer Mike and Lil Baby. Watch the replay here.

Gloves That Let You “Hear” Sign Language: Researchers at UCLA have developed a translation glove that translates finger movements to one of more than 600 sign language signs with 98.63% accuracy. The results are beamed via Bluetooth to a companion app on your phone, which reads the words aloud.

Walmart+: The Amazon Prime competitor will cost $98 a year and include same-day delivery of groceries, fuel discounts, and other perks. This move will formal normalize same-day delivery, retailer loyalty programs, and most likely, add yet another streaming service to your binge choices. Launching later this month!

Spotify’s Personalized Workout Generator: Spotify has a new tool called Soundtrack Your Workout. You answer a few questions and it will build you a workout soundtrack, including podcasts. Try it here.

Best of the Nice Viral Internet: Mashable has a round-up of the more wholesome, positive sides of the viral internet so far in 2020, including: a 100 year-old knighted for raising money for healthcare workers; a man’s touching reunion with his donkey; Malala Yousafzai’s graduation; and more! See them all here.

The Zoom Hack We Needed: For many of us, today is the 119th day working from home and living life on webcam. And finally there is some innovation happening in how we appear on camera, share decks, and engage with each other. Mmhmm is a virtual camera app that lets you lets you easily manipulate slides, backgrounds, and your own image. You can create interactive presentations or do a “show” like a talk show host with your content. And it works on most major meeting services. Sign up for the beta here.

Rickroll Your Coworkers on Zoom: Finally. There was a new Rickrolling service. The folks at created a tool that allows you to share your Zoom meeting invitation and Rick Astley would appear and perform “Never Gonna Give You Up” at some point during your meeting. Unfortunately, the stunt violated Zoom’s terms of service and was turned off. But you have to see this.

Tweet of the Week: @JurassicPark2Go is Jurassic Park Updates, and it’s a Twitter account giving updates from the fictional dinosaur park as if it was operating today. For example: “the screaming is fine we just checked it out it was nothing”.

The Infinite Music Video ARG: The band Twenty One Pilots released a music video that never ends, and it’s surrounded by an ARG (alternate reality game). Internet treasure hunts can be cliché, but this one is pretty good. If only the song was better.

Weekend Plans: 1) Amazon is giving Prime members the ability to watch TV shows and movies on Prime Video with friends using its new Watch Party feature. Here’s how to see if you have this feature yet. 2) Read this short fiction story written by an algorithm in MIT Technology Review. 3) Buy a physical copy of Trolls World Tour on DVD as a historic memento of this time. Why? Per journalist Mike Murphy, “We’ve been in lockdown so long that movies released on demand instead of in cinemas are already coming out on blu-ray.”