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.
Twitter Introduces Fleets: This week Twitter introduced a new disappearing content, Stories-style feature called Fleets. Fleets are another place for content and engaging with consumers. So yes, Fleets are a channel where your brand should consider putting effort. Will it be a success in the long term? That’s the wrong question to ask. Here’s a POV: Fleets could be fleeting. But the Stories format is here to stay.
Google Pay Will Pay-Off: In the era of Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay and Zelle, it can be easy to discount a new way to exchange money. But this week’s introduction of Google Pay is extremely ambitious – becoming not just another peer-to-peer payment service, but also offering bank account integration, finance tracking (auto-crawl through your Gmail and photos for receipts?!), an Explore tab full of Google-specific and brand-deals, and more. And in 2021, Google will launch its own bank service, Plex. This is going to be big. Download the app here.
Zillow Surfing: As a form of pandemic entertainment and daydreaming, people are “Zillow Surfing” — browsing sites like Zillow, Redfin and Trulia to find gorgeous, obsure, or unique properties, and then and bonding over listings they find on Discord, group chats, TikTok, Twitter, and Twitch. Zillow is seeing a traffic increase of 50 percent year-over-year. Key quote: “I think for a lot of people, Zillow feels like the opposite of doomscrolling… You’re stuck in your apartment, maybe you can’t move, but it’s easy to look at listings and imagine yourself in a different life. And maybe in that life Covid isn’t happening.”
Facebook Design: This week the Facebook Design team launched a new website to serve the design community, and for you design nerds out there, the team detailed out the discovery and design process of building their own site.
Debt Collection Comes to Social Media: A year from today, debt collectors will be permitted to contact consumers not just by phone but also email, text and social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Collectors will be allowed to send an unlimited number of texts, emails, and social media private posts. It’s going to get real noisy and inconvenient for many folks in social media next year. Look to the platforms to get creative in how to balance the new social collection with expected consumer pushback.
Patents of the Week: 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. In the latest round: Google has a new patent for a smart ring that doubles as a small selfie camera. Voice assistants are trying to better understand accents. Facebook has a patent for tagging both objects and people in their forthcoming AR glasses. And Microsoft is pursuing technology to helping you avoid specific people. Read about those and more here.
‘Harry Potter’ and the Prisoners of Quarantine: On TikTok, Gen Z “Harry Potter” fans are editing themselves into the movies in a quest for escapism, representation and community. If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve seen some of these. Key quote: “The pull of childhood comforts is especially strong for young Americans today, with coronavirus cases climbing, a contentious presidential election just barely in the rearview mirror and an upcoming holiday season mired in travel restrictions. In the face of overwhelming uncertainty, Gen Z is fleeing our world for the safety of Harry Potter’s.”
College Courses for the Class of 2073: Wired has a humorous sci-fi look at a college course guidebook for those heading off to university 50 years from now, with courses including: Millennial Gerontology, Pre-Fan Cultures, Ethics in Punitive Marketing, and a notice that Creative Writing has been cancelled. Bummer! Plan your schedule here.
- Lil Nas X’s Roblox concert was attended 33 million times last week, which means he is officially no longer the “Old Town Road” guy and is now the “Roblox guy.”
- Instagram is rolling out Guides to all users and adding keyword search. Oh, and the homescreen changed. People don’t like it, but they’ll adjust. Like always.
- YouTube introduced 15-second audio-only ads, similar to Spotify, and will start running ads through non-monetized content.
- Snapchat announced new features for cross app integration and app installs for AR lenses.
- Twitter launched a Customer Insights Panel for its ad products.
- TikTok introduced new family controls – Family Pairing.
- Shutterstock shared its 2021 color trends predictions. Fortuna Gold! Tidewater Green!
- Fortnite is adding in-game video chat, integrating Houseparty into PS4, PS5 and PC gaming.
- Zoom is lifting it’s time limit for Thanksgiving, so stay home and Zoom with mom!
- Shazam revealed its most searched-for songs of all time. #1? Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey.” Oh yeah, that song!