Social Pulse, Week of 1-11

Happy Friday!

This week I “attended” virtual CES, what I discovered is the biggest trending takeaway is the fact the event happened at all. Holy sh*t. The world’s largest consumer technology show actually transpired in the middle of a pandemic, thanks entirely to the rapid adoption of digital tools.

We experienced “10 years of social innovation in the last 10 months.” And much of it is here to stay.

Read my recap, featuring Pandemic-Tech! Wi-Fi 6E! Smart Glasses! Robots! And more:
CES 2021: PANDEMIC-FUELED TECH TRENDS AND MORE

Note: Someone please buy me one of these pillows with a moving cat tail – thanks.

Give Your Social Team Some Love

As we come up on the one year anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, America’s long-overdue awakening on systemic racism, social network boycotts, more deaths per day than 9/11, and the most divisive election of our generation rife with conspiracy theories and cultural conflict, social media managers haven’t had a moment to catch a breath. And they are burning out, especially as “crisis mode” continues in 2021 with the assault on the Capitol and schismatic culture crossing into brand channels.  

There’s a saying “don’t read the comments,” but what if it’s your job to read the comments?  Social teams certainly aren’t the only ones experiencing stress these days, but if you can, give your social team a (virtual) hug this week. And consider more: respect for their role, a raise, mental healthcare, and coverage so they can actually unplug during PTO.

Some recommended reads…

  • OneZeroThe Social Media Managers Are Not Okay: “Social media managers are making important — and very public — decisions all the time. They need to respond to news and conversations quickly to be effective. The public voice and image of companies, media outlets, public figures, and institutions are in their hands at a very delicate time.”
  • DigidaySocial Media Managers Grapple With Burnout: “There’s only so much trauma one single human brain can process, and Twitter is like an always-on trauma machine. It takes a huge mental toll to consume this content, day in and day out.”
  • Harvard Business Review8 Ways Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health: “Be aware that shame and stigma prevent many employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment, so normalize the use of those services.”

Here’s the key stuff I’m tracking this week…

The State of Trust: The latest Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 came out this week and reveals that Americans trust CEOs more than their own government. There’s an epidemic of misinformation (aka “infodemic”), which has driven trust in news sources to an all-time low. Social media was the least trusted, at 35%, followed by owned media (41%), and then traditional media, which saw the largest drop in trust, to 53%. 

Can Social Media Ever Truly Be Body Positive? The body positivity movement of early 2020 took a pause when lockdowns started and folks started spending more time in social feeds with an “endless carousel of beautiful faces and perfect bodies, wrought by the extraordinary cultural power of increasingly shrewd algorithms.” Rebecca Jennings wrote a 4,000 piece about how we got here and where we’re going. Key quote: “The more body positivity the algorithms hurl at us, the more we’re reminded how much we’re supposed to care about the way we look.”

Vaccine Selfies Are Coming: The vaccine selfie (aka “vaxxies”) are already a fast-growing trend among frontline health-care professionals, and as vaccines become more accessible for all, look for them to spread across your feeds. Although there has already been criticism of virtue signaling, one doctor says, “There’s more value in building public confidence in the vaccine than there is harm in making people feel left out. We’re all just so exhausted by [2020], and this is a nice bookend to give folks a sense of optimism for the upcoming year.”

TikTok of the Week: @ad_god plays the games in those unskippable pop-up game ads and shows you what they’re really like.

Insta of the Week: @zillowgonewild curates the best of crazy home listings.

Quick Hits:

See you on the internet!
Greg

Social Pulse, Week of 1-4

Every week I keep tabs on what’s trending, new technology, and consumer habits that impact the social web and our culture. Sign up to get this in your inbox every Friday here.

The President is De-Platformed: Trump banned from Facebook indefinitelyTrump suspended indefinitely from SnapchatTwitter Faces a Trumpless FutureYouTube Restricts TrumpTikTok removes Trump videos

Teams Forever: If 2020 was the year of the video meeting, 2021 could be the year when the apps that went mainstream during the crisis cement their position at the center of working life, writes Financial Times. Slack, Zoom, Teams and others are all iterating as they plan for post-pandemic demand and continued use of this software in our workplaces. According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, Teams is on its way to becoming a digital platform as significant as the internet browser, or a computer operating system. And Dell has announced their new monitors will feature a dedicated “Teams button.”

Facebook Pages are Changing: Facebook is introducing a cleaner Pages design for public figures, with a focus on bios, posts, and important info. Comments from Pages will be bumped to the top of the comments section, and users will be able to follow Pages directly from comments and recommendations posts. Facebook is also removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite public figure Pages. Unlike Likes, Followers of a Page represent the people who can receive updates from Pages, which helps give public figures a stronger indication of their fan base. If successful, these changes could come to brand pages, so it’s worth monitoring. Read more here

Enterprise Software Going Viral? In 2019, The Atlantic wrote about how parents were beginning to use enterprise software and apps like Asana and Trello to assign their children chores. But the latest consumer trend of using enterprise software features teens signing up for Notion project manager accounts! They’re creating Notion boards that mimic Tumblr feeds and making TikToks showing off how they organize school, friends, movies, and more. What’s next, Microsoft Teams? 

Recommended Reads of the Week: The Generation that Doesn’t Believe Helen Keller Existed13 Times Jon Ossoff Was Such A Millennial On TwitterLeading Through Anxiety

Instas of the Week: @deuxmoi is a supermarket tabloid-style gossip account almost as good as @weeklyworldnewsofficial.

Tweets of the Week: @stupidgoogiepic features hilarious curated Google Maps images and @every_mtstop shows pics from every Metro Transit bus stop in Minneapolis, updated every half hour.

Quick Hits: 

Wanna feel old? Check out these tech birthdays in 2021:

  • TikTok: 3 years
  • Lyft: 9 years
  • Snapchat: 10 years
  • Instagram: 11 years
  • Uber: 12 years
  • Twitter: 15 years
  • YouTube: 16 years
  • Facebook: 17 years
  • Tesla: 18 years
  • Google: 23 years
  • Netflix: 25 years
  • Amazon: 27 years
  • Apple: 45 years
  • Microsoft: 46 years
  • Intel: 53 years
  • HP: 82 years
  • IBM: 110 years

See you on the internet!

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Social Pulse, Week of 12-14

Every week I keep tabs on what’s trending, new technology, and consumer habits that impact the social web and our culture. Sign up to get this in your inbox every Friday here.

The Blob Opera: Google’s latest machine learning experiment is Blob Opera, where you control four colorful blobs by changing what pitch they sing – either set to traditional holiday carols or make your own. The creators trained a machine learning model on voice recordings, and the blobs are singing what the algorithm “thinks” opera sounds like, based on what it learned through the training. An additional model works to enable the harmonizing. Try it here. Mobile is best. Google’s Arts & Culture App is better.

Unpacking Social Media’s Cultural Impact in 2020: The global events of 2020 had a huge impact on the culture of the social web this year.

AR Baby Yoda (aka Grogu) in Your House: Simply Google search “Baby Yoda,” “Grogu,” “The Child,” or “The Mandalorian” on mobile or in the Google app, scroll down to the Knowledge Panel with a Wikipedia summary of the character, click “View in 3D” and BOOM – you’ve got Grogu projected into your home (or whereever you want to put him) via the magic of native mobile browser augmented reality. Or maybe it’s The Force.

Anonymous Video Chat Apps Are Growing In Popularity Again: Ten year-old anonymous video chat app Omegle is finding a new life thanks to YouTube and TikTok. Even Roblox has introduced a similar feature, called Ro-Meet and yes, it’s more kid friendly than Omegle. The rise of this type of social networking is creating new memes, including a satisfying trend of spurning famous TikTok influencers by pretending not to know them.

Fitness Subscriptions and Wearables Compete for Your Steps (and $$): Watch out Peloton! This week Apple launched Apple Fitness+, a new fitness app with recorded exercise classes that you can do from an Apple TV, iPad or iPhone, so long as you own an Apple Watch. Also this week, Amazon made its Amazon Halo wrist-based wearable and app-based classes available to the public. Although Greg’s review is NOT GREAT: “If you aren’t an Apple Watch or Fitbit fan and are looking for an entry-level wearable (without a screen, clock, alarm, or speaker) that stores photos of yourself half-naked and you’ll probably have to replace within the year, Amazon Halo could be the device for you.”

App of the Week: This week news app Gawq launched its 1.0 app with the objective of creating radical transparency through algorithm-free news aggregation. Users can filter out Opinions, Non-News, Paid News and Pay Walls in curating their feeds. And whatever you click will not affect what you see in the app tomorrow. Try it out here.

Business Reads of the Week: Five Research-Backed Tips to Make Zoom Calls Less Exhausting; How Couples Can Find Balance While Working from Home; Conferences After Covid Will Be Shorter—and Smarter; What if you could do it all over?

Buzzword of the Week: GEO, aka Gif Engine Optimization, aka getting your brand’s GIFs into culture.

Quick hits:


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