Social Pulse, Week of 4-6

Do you miss all those office sounds? IMissTheOffice is a noise generator to recreate the white noise, copy machine, and cubicle-mates crunching on potato chips we’re all missing these days.

SocNet Updates: The NYT writes The Virus Changed the Way We Internet. Instagram has added DMs to desktop and a new “I Stay Home For” sticker. Pinterest has increased its ecommerce offerings. Twitter updated its terms to add more transparency to how personal data is used in ad targeting. And Facebook launched Tuned, a new app for couples.

Surfing Like it’s 1999: MIT Technology Review asks “Why does it suddenly feel like 1999 on the internet?” as the world rediscovers the more genuine and positive sides of the internet and social media that got a lot of us excited about it in the first place. Key quote: “”The internet allows us to maintain a sense of normalcy and support one another and come together,” says Sullivan. In essence, it has provided a way for us to remain human.”

Reddit’s r/Pan: The Reddit Public Access Network has been around awhile, but the Twitch-style Reddit experiment where any Reddit user can go live or watch streams is growing in popularity during this time of sheltering at home. So much amazing human creativity. Watch live here.

TikTok’s Role in Launching Pop Hits: First it was Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” then Arizona Zervas’ “Roxanne” and Doja Cat’s “Say So.” This week was Drake’s “Toosie Slide.” Rolling Stone reports how artists are looking to TikTok and viral dances to launch hits on the mainstream charts. And if you haven’t heard Tyga’s new “Bored in the House,” it’s worth a spin.  

Google Doc Games: People are getting really creative with word-based collaboration tools. Comedian Marissa Goldman is hosting a Google Doc Party where the whole show unfolds in a Google Doc (next one is this Saturday!). The Akron Art Museum is doing collaborative crosswords by curating user-generated content in a Google Doc. And here’s a choose your own adventure Google Doc escape room experience called “Escape.”

Deepfake App of the Month: Deepfake apps continue to get better in quality and speed at an alarming rate. The latest is called Impressions, and it is scary good at recreating celebrity faces (Billie Eilish, Al Pacino, Freddie Mercury) atop your own face or an uploaded video. Try it here.

Insta of the Week: @NiceShells is a the best Instagram account dedicated to celebrating shells in design, function and form you’ve ever seen.  

Are We So Bored We’ll Watch #MarbleRacing on YouTube? Marbula One is just what it sounds like —  spherical glass balls line up behind starting blocks before they drop away, head several laps around a twisty track before a conveyor belt brings them back to the top again to keep the race going. And there’s a professional announcer, camerawork and editing. And it’s racking up millions of views.

Success! You're on the list.

Social Pulse, Week of 10-21

Amazon Loyalty + Search Insights: In a study from Civic Science, more than half of respondents said they start their product searches at while only 22% start at Google – a 122% difference. Unsurprisingly, Amazon Prime members begin their searches at Amazon in huge numbers. Nearly 4 of 5 people who use Prime weekly start their searches with Amazon, but among non-Prime users, Amazon still takes 37% of the first-look shopping searches in this study.

Who Do You Look Like? It’s like FaceApp all over again. This latest viral trend has people using the Gradient app to use machine learning to see which celebrity you look like. And like FaceApp, there’s a secondary news cycle about those pesky user permissions and usage rights (“You hereby grant to Gradient a non-exclusive, fully-paid, and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use Your Content to provide our Service.”). If you’re willing to risk it, you can download and make your #Gradient here: iOS, Android.

Elon Musk Tweets Via Satellite: Starlink is SpaceX’s latest project to bring high-speed internet connectivity to the unreached (including rural areas and undeveloped countries) via a network of satellites circulating the globe. So far there are 60 satellites up and running, and SpaceX is planning more than 40,000. This week Elon Musk sent the first tweet from the network, “Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite 🛰” followed by “Whoa, it worked!!”

Reddit + Snapchat? Last week Reddit announced new functionality to share Reddit content with friends on Snapchat. To share Reddit content in Snapchat, simply tap the “share” icon on an image, text or link-based post in Reddit’s iOS app and select the Snapchat option. Then, choose a few friends to send the post to, or add it to your Story so all your friends can see it.

Insider Look at IGTV for Creators: For a look into what is performing best on IGTV and how Creators are approaching the platform, check out this 16 min YouTube video from Instagram Product Marketing Manager Jon Youshaei.

Twitch Watch Parties: Twitch is testing out a “watch parties” feature that allows streamers to screen Amazon Prime movies or shows, with their followers watching along. According to Polygon, Twitch (which is owned by Amazon) has started sending out invitations to select streamers to test it out. If the test goes public, this strategy could significantly grow Twitch’s user base and utility beyond gamers.

Insta of the Week: Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson proposed a 1 mile by 1 mile square grid pattern for surveying, buying and selling land. This grid plan resulted in the patchwork quilt of highly distinguishable squares that dot the countryside in the U.S. For those of us not in the window seat of a plane right now, @the.jefferson.grid chronicles these 640 square acre designs by posting just one square a time as seen from the air.

TikTok of the Week: America’s Funniest Home Videos (now known as AFV) has quickly grown their TikTok Channel to almost 3 million followers. Watching people do dumb stuff just never gets old, regardless of the medium. Follow at @AFVOfficial.

Twitter of the Week: Wilford Brimley was just age 50 (18,530 days old) when the 1985 classic “Cocoon” was released, a film where he starred as a senior citizen. Twitter account @BrimleyLine keeps track of stars who are crossing that 18,530 day mark – an accomplishment that internet memes call “Crossing the Brimley/Cocoon Line.” Recent inductees are Patton Oswalt, Mo Rocca, and Dave Grohl.