Our roundup brings you a list of curated content in social, technology and Mindset Digital happenings from need-to-know to silly social trends.
Last week in social…
The Best Social Media Predictions for 2019. Paid social networks, Instagram’s waning influence
50 Great Tweets from 2018. We can’t have our 2019 predictions without lifting up some of the best moments on Twitter this past year. My favorite? The David Schwimmer lookalike who robbed a convenience store in the UK. #ItsNotRoss (via Mashable)
How much is Facebook worth to you? About $1,000 a year, according to a new study. Researchers used an auction system that paid out real money to participants in exchange for deactivating Facebook for a full year. Most users would do it for $1,000, but it was closer to $2,000 for college students. Which is baffling to someone like me who got Facebook its debut year in college since nobody even cares about the poke button anymore. Dorm room nostalgia aside, this cuts against the public conception that Facebook is in trouble with users after last year’s unending run of privacy scandals. It’s easy to complain… but hard to say goodbye. (via New York Magazine)
Last Week in Tech…
Tim Cook to Apple investors: time to pump the brakes. The company published a letter to shareholders this week warning that first-quarter revenue will be up to $9 billion lower than expected. The news boils down to slower iPhone sales worldwide, especially in China. Apple stock has dipped since then as investors and analysts debate the future of what is essentially the company’s flagship product these days. While some of the blame can probably be placed on the trade war with China, as Apple implied in the investor letter, the more existential problem is that premium smartphone sales at the big tech companies (including Galaxy-maker Samsung) are no longer reliably strong year after year. Smartphones have gotten so good, and improvements so incremental, that experts think this is just the new normal with yearly product releases. (via Vox)
Brace yourself: CES takes are coming. The annual electronics expo starts next week. We’ll stay on top of the latest news and announcements as they drop, but in the meantime here’s what industry insiders are expecting to set the tone for the year in tech: foldable phones might finally make their viable debut; 8K TVs are coming (but good luck finding lots of content that takes advantage of them); USB-C headphones will go mainstream years after companies removed the headphone jack (thanks for that, by the way!); and smart home integrations will be more omnipresent than ever. Buckle in, gadget geeks, and get ready for a wild ride! (via the Verge)
“Choose your own adventure” comes to television. Dystopian sci-fi show “Black Mirror” has always explored the dark side of where tech is taking us as a society—think “The Twilight Zone” for the digital age. Their new interactive episode “Bandersnatch” allows viewers to make choices that pop up onscreen, altering what comes next and leading to multiple endings. It’s been a hit with viewers and thinkpiece writers alike. More importantly, it could revitalize Netflix as the company looks to face serious competition this year, including a rival streaming channel from Disney (who will of course move their perennially popular content, including Star Wars and Marvel movies, onto their own proprietary service). (via WIRED)
Thank you, Internet!
Okay, this one might be more of a “thanks a lot, internet!” than a true thank you, but it’s still a sight to behold. Inspired by (who else) popular YouTubers who started the trend, Netflix has cautioned viewers to refrain from participating in “the Bird Box challenge.”
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.— Netflix US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
The meme/challenge/teen panic du jour plays on the Netflix thriller’s plot device around blindfolding yourself to avoid a contagious, monstrous outbreak, only now people are doing it in public. And instead of being for warding off a lethal epidemic, it’s for the gram. Well, potato po-tah-to.
It’s easy to mock these alleged trends. (E.g.: Enjoying the sumptuous colors of the Tide Pods you’re about to eat are half the experience, and you’ll miss out if you’re blindfolded!) But “Bird Box” spawned record-setting viewer numbers alongside its ubiquitous memes—despite so-so reviews. The real story, as The Ringer points out, is how this type of virality could be the future of movie marketing. Just watch where you’re going, okay?
(via the Verge)
Matt Weiner and Pete Brown contributed to this week’s roundup.