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.

Quick hits:


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Social Pulse, Week of 6-22

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:

Apple’s WWDC 2020 Recap: Apple gave a first look at iOS 14, the new update coming to iPhones later this year. The most notable changes include: widgets that you can place on the home screen, picture-in-picture, App Clips, and more. Read the full recap here and here’s WWDC 2020 in 18 minutes.

RIP Segway: Segway’s namesake self-balancing scooter, the Segway PT, will officially cease production next month. Only about 140,000 units total were ever sold in the almost 19 years they were available, but the brand name will live on with scooters, go-karts, throne-like pods, autonomous robots, and even a set of self-balancing rollerblades.

Apple Glasses Rumor Update: According to a story from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Apple’s VR and AR initiatives have been hampered by internal differences, but 1,000 engineers have been working on both a VR headset and AR glasses. This report says the first headset may be announced next year and released in 2022, with AR-enabled Apple Glasses by 2023 at the earliest. For a look at what Apple Glasses may do for brands, check out some of Ikea’s experiments here.

App of the Week: Google launched a new Pinterest-style app called Keen, that features lots of copy-cat features of Pinterest, including recommendations using its deep web of algorithmic data on you. Try the web app here.

Podcast of the Week: The last episode of Rabbit Hole, Kevin Roose follows a woman who stumbled upon the “Q” community and found herself drawn in. It’s a look at what our exploding culture of influencers, TikTok stars and information disseminators holds for the future. Listen here.

Insta of the Week: @karensgoingwilds has moved from “Karen” memes to sharing videos of racial profiling and racist actions as filmed by the victims and sometimes the perpetrators themselves, and includes a “Busted” highlight of social media justice repercussions. Trigger warning: some of these are brutal.

#CampYouTube: With Google searches for “virtual summer camps” spiking over the past few weeks, YouTube has launched a virtual camp with themes, such as arts, adventure, sports, STEM, and more. Check out camp here.

TikTok Creators to Follow Who Use the Platform to Call Out Anti-Black Racism: singer-songwriter @kyla.imani is writing songs, @rynnstar is dropping civil rights history lessons, @mecca.morphosis advocates for self-care and kindness. Find more here.

Try to Stop Doomscrolling: The constant stream of news and social media never ends, and some of us are spending our nights refreshing our phones again and again, going down morbid rabbit holes and unable to fall asleep. It’s a phenomena dubbed “doomscrolling,” and it’s not healthy. Key quote: “Feeling informed can be a salve, but being overwhelmed by tragedy serves no purpose. The current year is nothing if not a marathon; trying to sprint to the end of one’s feed will only cause burnout and a decline in mental health among the people whose level-headedness is needed most. That means you, dear reader. Amidst all of the pain, isolation, and destruction of the past six months, it’s not worth it to add on to the strain with two hours of excess Twitter every night.”

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