Social Pulse, Week of 11-16

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.

Business Reads of the Week: The Next Generation Of CMOs Will Come From Today’s Social Media Managers; How to Be Happier Working From Home; What Inclusive Leaders Sound Like

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Social Pulse, Week of 9-28

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.

New Emoji Are Coming: The Unicode Consortium (the organization responsible for global emoji standards) announced 217 more emoji will be available next year. Expected new emoji include a bandaged heart, heart on fire, a head in the clouds, bearded faces, more diversity, and three gender-neutral characters. Unicode said this is a ‘minor release’ before an even bigger one in 2022. See the new emoji here.

Minecraft Live this Weekend: Minecon, an annual Minecraft fan event, has been rebranded as Minecraft Live and will be held as a live stream Saturday, October 3. The event will introduce new game updates, mobs and activities across the hugely popular game. Watch the trailer here. And tune in here.

Texting with Barry: “All right, let’s try something new. Send me a text at 773-365-9687—I want to hear how you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and how you’re planning on voting this year.” That’s how former President Barack Obama announced he is the latest public figure to join Community, a mass-texting app that allows anyone to text with folks like Ashton Kutcher or the Jonas Brothers. This “dark social” technology allows celebs, and now politicians, to bypass algorithms and send messages direct to their stakeholders. To check it out, simply text Obama at the number above!

Pay with Palm: This week Amazon publicly introduced technology we started anticipating last September – using people’s palms to identify them and combine that with details of the palm, such as lines and ridges, to build a “palm signature” you can use for touchless checkout. It’s called Amazon One, and in a post-pandemic culture, could see rapid adoption at retailers, stadiums, and office buildings. More here.

Podcast of the Week: 99% Invisible’s latest podcast covers the implications of our physical addresses, a fairly recent invention that has shaped our cities and taken on great political and cultural importance. And alternatives, including what3words, which maps geographic coordinates based on three random dictionary words. Listen here.

Business Reads of the Week: To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks; The Early Pitch Decks Of 21 Startups Before They Became Billion-Dollar Companies; How (And Why) to Budget Now for Strategic Foresight in 2021

Yada Yada Yada: More than 31 years since ‘the show about nothing’ was introduced, the internet is keeping the spirit of Seinfeld alive with Instagram meme accounts, including ones dedicated to product placements, artistic interpretations of key scenes, ambience, fashion, Elaine’s outfits, haikus, quotes, memes, more memes, and Newman holding your favorite music album. Newman!

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. Alphabet (Google) has a patent for conversational auto-replies, where the system can understand what’s in photos or messages sent to someone and generates a response based off of the content. Amazon has one for storing your body measurements to better make clothing recommendations. Apple has new watch patents for monitoring blood pressure and braille. And Facebook has one for a smart mirror camera. See more here.

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Social Pulse, Week of 8-31

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:

Google Assistant Helping with Virtual School: The folks at Google have added a number of features to help with school-at-home. With Family Bell, you can add bell reminders throughout the day that announce when it’s time to start an online class, take a break, settle in for reading time, have a snack, or even for bedtime. To get started, simply say “Hey Google, create a Family Bell.” Read about other new features here.

Alexa, Pay for Gas: Beginning this week, consumers with Alexa-enabled vehicles, devices like Echo Auto, or the Alexa app on smartphones can simply say “Alexa, Pay for Gas,” pay, and be on their way when they fuel up at more than 11,000 Exxon and Mobil stations.

Flying Car’s Successful Test: Remember last month when I shared that New Hampshire became the first state to allow flying cars on the road? Now a Japanese company has announced the successful test drive of a flying car. It takes up the space of about two parked cars and has eight motors to ensure “safety in emergency situations.” Goal is consumer launch by 2023, but we’ll see.

Patent Watch: Keeping a close eyes on patents helps us know where the trends are headed, even if they never come to fruition. This week Google has one for auto-generated meeting notes. Amazon for AR glasses body ads and home security drones. Apple for Siri access Offline. Facebook for headphones for their widely anticipated AR glasses. Microsoft for second screening VR with your phone as the controller. Read more at Protocol.

The First Pig Brain to Computer Interface: As expected, last week Elon Musk’s Neuralink showed its first demonstration of a brain-computer interface, implanted in pig’s head and showing rudimentary limb-tracking by monitoring activity in the brain. It’s a small step, but gives us an indication how this technology could work with humans. Key quote: “I think that a good benchmark of ‘does it work well on humans’ is ‘does it work well enough for a quadriplegic play Starcraft’…. That’s a good functional target.” So far, the answer is No. But if you’re interested in this topic, read the NYT’s: The Brain Implants That Could Change Humanity.

Deepfakes Hitting Mainstream Memers: In the last year, I’ve talked a lot about the rapid accessibility and irresponsibility of deepfake technology anticipated to hit around the 2020 U.S. election. It’s here! And in the last month we’re seeing it spreading to YouTubers, Twitter and Tiktok faster than ever before. The #deepfake hashtag on TikTok has nearly 150M views! Key quote from MIT Technology Review: “But at the rate that the technology is advancing, easy-to-make deepfakes that are nearly indistinguishable from reality are likely around the corner.”

Tweet of the Week: @OddlyPleasing is the eye candy meets oddly satisfying content your feeds need right now. Specifically, this LEGO brick creation.


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