Archives For socialpulse

Westworld Rickroll’d Us: In anticipation of Season 2 (debuting this Sunday!) Westworld creators teased they would reveal the entire plot of the new season if a post on Reddit got 1,000 upvotes. Of course, the post reached that goal within hours – and fans were rewarding with a 25-minute video titled “Westworld Season 2 — A Primer,” which was the most elaborate Rickroll ever. Amazing. Can’t wait for Sunday! (LINK)

Use Google to ‘Talk’ to Books’: Google’s new Talk to Books tool gives conversational answers for questions but with citations from real books. For example, if you search “What was Prince’s band’s name?” and it delivers not just the answer but links to full digital version of books with the answer highlighted. Pretty amazing use of technology and a glimpse into the future of libraries. (LINK)

Amazon and Reddit Exploding: This week we learned Amazon has exceeded 100 million paid Prime subscribers! CEO Jeff Bezos said in 2017 Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items with Prime worldwide. It also came out the active number of Reddit users is as large as Twitter! It’s a more than 30 percent increase in less than six months, marking Reddit as the sixth most-visited website in the world. Oh, and visitors spend longer on than any other site in the Top 50, regardless of category – even compared to top ‘adult’ sites. According to TheNextWeb, Reddit can credibly claim that it’s even more engaging than porn. Luckily it’s mostly SFW. Well mostly. (LINK)


Dejarik IRL: You know the famous “holochess” hologram strategy game in all the Star Wars movies – where players direct a collection of holographic alien characters to battle each other for dominance? Thanks to the new update to Star Wars: Jedi Challenges now anyone can play it! It uses augmented reality to project the holographic pieces to your own table (or really, anywhere you want). And it only took 41 years from the first movie to create. (LINK)

Alexa Blueprints: Amazon has released a new feature that lets anyone make custom skills without knowing any code. These “blueprints” act as templates for making questions, responses, trivia games, narrative stories, and other skills with customizable answers unique to each user. We know what we’ll be doing this weekend! (LINK)



Facebook and Privacy: We’ve been closely following the Zuckerberg testimony this week and highly recommend The Daily’s two podcasts (#1, #2) for some of the most succinct and thorough reporting on what was asked, what was said, and what it all means. We’re also encouraged that Instagram has announced they will soon allow users to download all uploaded content soon. While Facebook has allowed us to download posted content since 2010, Instagram has lacked that feature. And we’ve got some sweet top-down photos of avocado toast we want to keep forever. (LINK)

Why Are Teens Doing Elaborate Photo Shoots in Craft Stores:
 People are crashing popular craft stores to do the #HobbyLobbyChallenge and #MichaelsChallenge, snapping photos in the faux floral aisles to make it look like they’re anywhere else. And the results are gorgeous. Dare accepted. (LINK)

JT is Coming to Wherever You Are: This week we had Justin Timberlake in our office to introduce a track from his new album, “Man of the Woods.” Except it was a new augmented reality app from American Express that was projecting JT here and turning our office into the woods. And it sounded GREAT. Download the app here and bring JT into your life.  (LINK)

LinkedIn is adding GIFs? You know what the only professional social network needed this whole time that nobody was asking for? GIFs. But it appears the next generation expects to interact with recruiters and new connections with the Excuse Me What Blinking Guy GIF. “Think about your company’s culture, your professional relationship with the person and the industry you work in to decide if it makes sense to send a GIF,” LinkedIn wrote in a blog post. Umm…there’s no going back now. (LINK)

Excuse Me What GIF by Mashable - Find & Share on GIPHY

Emoji Scavenger Hunt: You don’t have to fully understand “Machine learning” and “neural networks” to enjoy this new mobile browser game that uses your phone’s camera to send you on a scavenger hunt to find emoji in the real world around you before the timer hits zero. It’s Google’s latest consumer-facing application of their technology, and it’s surprisingly addictive. Stop what you’re doing and try it here! (LINK)

Finstagram: Life is never as good as it looks on social media. So now teens who are tired of the “success theater” of Instagram are creating a secondary account, known as a “Finstagram,” to express themselves privately – no makeup or dirty dishes in the sink (GASP). We really enjoyed this Art19 podcast featuring insights from young people and model Paris Sanders talking about this cultural reaction to traditional social media. (LINK)

Millennials May Have Improved English: There are LOTS of memes about all the things Millennials have ruined… but it turns out that their disregard for traditional grammar may have improved written English. A researcher from the University of Manchester says the use of deliberately misspelled words or misused grammar can convey tone, nuance, humor, EVEN ANNOYANCE with atypical capitalization, ellipsis, or a complete lack of punctuation. For example, using a period (a.k.a. a full stop) at the end of a sentence “indicates that you are cross.” kthxbai (LINK)

Snap adds Group Video Calls: This week Snapchat introduced a new group video chat feature, letting users chat with up to 16 of their closest friends via video. Or up to 32 via audio! Just tap the video icon in a group chat to get started, or start up a call with a few people and invite new friends to join. And yes, the lenses work with all 16 people. (LINK)

Amazon’s ‘Voice Sniffer Algorithm’: Don’t panic yet, but new patent filings show Amazon is looking to use their Echo smart speaker to not only listen once you say “Alexa,” but to be always listening and analyzing what’s being said. Called the voice sniffer algorithm, the idea is to better understand users and their personalities. For example, it could hear words like “prefer” and “bought” or “hate” or “disliked,” and then use that to judge interest levels in various products. We’ll be watching this closely to see if the public has any appetite for this kind of always-on listening in their homes.  (LINK)

Memes of the Week: The Monterey Bay Aquarium took the American Chopper Argument Meme to the next level today. And Mason Ramsey, the 10-year-old who’s been dubbed “Walmart boy” and “Walmart kid,” broke the internet this week with his cowboy getup and yodeling skills. And the internet did what it does – remixes!! Please enjoy these with your coworkers at full volume: Remix 1, Remix 2, Remix 3, Remix 4, Remix 5, and Bonus 1 Hour Remix Version

Facebook’s Data Scandal: This week you couldn’t avoid hearing about Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Mark Zuckerberg now says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, which isn’t exactly optional when you’re subpoenaed. What’s the impact on brands? Continued scrutiny on how they collect and use consumer information and less trusted use of Facebook. We’re anticipating further fallout, quick and long-term damage control and privacy fixes from Facebook, and more people opting out of Facebook (with more people saying they will leave, but not following through) but still keeping Instagram and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook). This podcast from NYT’s The Daily summarizes the state of Facebook and data very well. (LINK)

Netflix Sans: Netflix has developed a new bespoke font called Netflix Sans that is clean, functional, and subtly inspired by the brand’s famous logo. Why make their own font? In the era of impression-based licensing for their typefaces in digital advertising spaces, font licensing can get quite expensive. RIP Gotham. This isn’t a new trend, but we’re seeing more adoption of this strategy in the future. And how about that “t”? (LINK)


Instagram Testing Regram: This week it was revealed Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you share other people’s posts as part of your own Story, alongside your own captions and commentary. Users will see a new button appear below public, permanent posts. Tapping it lets them embed that post in their own Story. Before posting the update, they can move and resize the quoted update, and add stickers, emoji and comments. It’s essentially a more creative version of quote-retweeting. This is just a test, but we expect it will role out to the public in the coming months. (LINK)


eBay AR a Great Use for AR: eBay is launcing a new feature for sellers to easily find the right box to fit their products using their mobile app — just aim your smartphone camera at the surface around the product to map the area; then try various USPS package sizes to find the right box. Available on Android devices this week, we’re excited seeing Google’s ARCore software leverage this emerging tech to solve real-world problems for their customers.  (LINK)

ar ebay.jpg

Bento the synth-playing Keyboard Cat Died: This week we paused our newsfeeds for a moment of silence in memory of Keyboard Cat, who passed away. The internet exploded in mourning, while others pointed out this was actually the second keyboard cat — the original kitty, and the one most famous in the viral YouTube video from 2007, Fatso, died way back in 1987. But there will always be a place in our social hearts for Bento. Watch this tribute video and pour out some kibble.



SXSW 2018: At South by Southwest this week we skipped the buzzworthy Westworld experience to hear Facebook Global Creative Director Andrew Keller’s presentation on Facebook for brands in 2018, featuring tips on “astounding audiences” and nods to old school community management and groups. Quantcast’s Steven Pereira’s shared advice on how brands can use A.I. to analyze ad campaigns to get the right creative for right campaign. Obama’s former speechwriter, Sarada Peri, shared thoughts on persuasive communication (instead of adverbs use a better verb; instead of adjectives use a better noun). Elon Musk spoke on colonizing Mars to the benefits of a carbon tax, autonomous cars to the future of artificial intelligence (“AI is more dangerous than nukes”). And Esther Perel shared her insights on the state of modern love. It was an uplifting, educational and inspiring week. What a time to be alive, right?

China’s Xinhua Bookstore Retires Humans: Twenty new staff-less bookstores opened in Beijing this year, operating 24 hours a day and featuring an automated system with no regular human staff. These all-day bookstores are part of the book-selling Xinhua franchise, and are planned to be built at Beijing universities, government offices and malls. Customers enter their WeChat account details and get their faces scanned before entering, and the store offers “precise and humanized” book suggestions based on their purchase histories. The automated store even features a robot checkout helper, who is touted as a key feature of the store. RIP humans who sell books (as if they weren’t endangered enough already)! (LINK)


Drake Played Fortnite on Twitch and Broke the Internet: Forget March Madness, this week more than 600,000 people tuned in to watch Drake and others play a popular game on Twitch, a streaming service that allows people to watch others play video games. It was a record-breaking event and significant milestone for E-Sports, which continues to see exponential growth while more traditional sports (e.g., NFL, Olympics) face audience downturns. This particular Fortnite smackdown also involved pro-gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster and rapper Travis Scott. This week Amazon announced it will offer free Twitch games for Prime Customers , so look for even more mainstreaming of this E-Sports phenomenon into 2018. (LINK)

Google Lens and Maps and Mario Updates: Using a new button in Google Photos, users can now ask Google AI to analyze the subject and turn the data into action automatically. For example, with Google Lens you can take a picture of a business card and Google Lens will save the phone number to your contact list. Also this week it was announced Google is opening up Maps so game developers can create the next Pokémon Go. And In honor of Mario’s birthday, Nintendo partnered with Google and added a feature to navigate your streets as Mario in Mario Kart. Watch out for banana peels!

Here’s how to get Mario on your Google Maps:

  1. Update to the latest version of Google Maps (App Store on iPhones or Google Play on Androids).
  2. Enter a location you want to go.
  3. Click on Directions.
  4. Instead of pressing “Start,” press the “?” next to it.
  5. Oh yeah! Mario Time!

YouTube Testing New Virtual Background Options: Google is using its neural network to improve the ability to recognize hair, faces, glasses and shoulders, which is helping a beta group of YouTube Stories users swap out their background images with nothing more than a phone. It’s called the “video segmentation tool” and gives us a glimpse of real-time production that will be coming to social media in the near future. Want to send that selfie video from the beach? Simply click the beach background option – no special greenscreen or post-processing required. (LINK)

Déjà Vu for your Déjà Vu: Sometimes we all get that feeling that we’ve experienced this all before. And that you know what will happen next. Except new research looked into the feeling of premonition that often accompanies déjà vu, using lab experiments that tried to induce the sensation and tracked whether subjects really did know what would come next. As it turns out, déjà vu didn’t seem to bestow the ability to predict the future. But you already knew that, right? (LINK)

More Augmented Reality Innovation: Last week we shared news about Ghostbusters AR and Harry Potter: Wizards Uniteare launching soon. This week Jurassic World Alive was announced, following the same formula as Pokemon Go, where players will walk around the physical world collecting and interacting with characters. This week Nickelodeon announced adding AR features to its Sky Whale mobile game and a new AR game, Do Not Touch. In other AR news this week, a collective of eight internet artists transformed the Jackson Pollock room in the New York City Museum of Modern Art into their own augmented reality gallery — without the museum’s permission. At this pace, Augmented Reality is shaping up to be one of the mainstream tech breakouts of 2018.

7 Twitter users are suing President Trump for blocking them:After being blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account, Twitter users are suing the President in a case that will test how courts apply the First Amendment to the social media accounts of public officials, whether such accounts constitute a “public forum” or whether public officials should be able to block constituents or critics. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald suggested that the case should be settled and that Trump should mute rather than block his followers. As we consider the wider impacts of social media post-Trump, this will be a fascinating case to watch.  (LINK)

Ramen Fork is Here! The company that invented ramen rolled out a new device that gets rid of your slurping noises. The smart fork connects to an app and plays a noise that sounds like a toilet flushing. FINALLY.

I Ain’t Afraid of No (Augmented Reality) Ghosts: A short demo of the game Ghostbusters World was showcased at Mobile World Congress this week, showing attendees a preview of the new game built on Google’s new ARCore platform. The Pokemon Go augmented reality treasure hunt phenomenon will soon be tested with some new games like Ghostbusters coming in 2018. We’re most excited for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. It’s going to be a fun summer. (LINK)

Facebook Messenger Broadcast: Companies can now send a Facebook message to anyone who has begun a conversation with them, thanks to a new product from Facebook for small businesses who don’t have the resources to build a more robust bot platform. Most users won’t like feeling spammed by any page they’ve ever DM’d, so Facebook is capping the number of messages businesses can broadcast to deter spam. But look for more of these Messenger-first tools to come to the marketing toolkit in 2018. (LINK)

So You Say You Would Give Up Social Media? This week the Pew Research Center dropped new 2018 research on social media usage, and it’s pretty expected. Facebook continues to be the most widely used social media platform (68% of U.S. adults), and other than YouTube no other network measured in this survey is used by more than 40% of Americans. Pinterest remains more popular with women. LinkedIn remains popular among college graduates and high earners. And WhatsApp’s popularity is extending to more Latinos in the United States – 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users. But here’s the shocker: 59% of social media users think it would not be hard to give up social media, with 29% indicating it would not be hard at all. Yeah, right. (LINK)

Uber Driver has a Spotify Playlist For Every Kind of Passenger: Nobody wants to ride in the back of a stranger’s car in silence. And one Uber driver is making waves this week by sharing the series of Spotify playlists he made for the stereotypes of people he picks up, including: white dudes who look like they like rap, quiet people, f*cking hipsters, basic 20-30s, 30+, and heady bros. The driver, who also studies sociology and video production at college, has only been driving a few weeks but he’s already seeing thousands of followers added to his Spotify Playlists. (LINK)

Here’s “White Dudes Who Look Like They Like Rap”

Wow: This week hundreds of Australians gathered to say ‘wow’ like Owen Wilson. And the internet loved it. “Wow.”