So-Called Social: Week of December 3

Your weekly dose of social news.

So-Called Social: Week of December 3
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So, it’s December now. The month of holiday parties, peppermint mochas, so much glitter, excess consumerism, Christmas music in every single store you enter, oh, and seasonal cheer. From IG using AI to describe photos for users with visual impairments, to a sweet partnership with Casey Neistat, to “Instagram Sitters,” this week was full of news. Enjoy.

Social nets update stuff

YouTube is shifting to offer original programming for free, with ads. Much like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. etc. etc., YouTube greatly invested in its original shows this year. However, it’s doing something a little revolutionary. It’s going to allow the billions of viewers who come to the platform initially watch original content without paying the $11.99/month for a YouTube Premium subscription. The catch? You have to sit through ads.

Instagram is now using AI to describe photos for users with visual impairments and I am here for it. These descriptions, known as “alt text,” are widely used online and are now being built into Instagram. Users will be able to enter their own photo descriptions so that people using screen readers — software that describes the elements displayed on a screen — can hear it and read it aloud as they browse their feed, Explore page, or a profile.

Facebook announced this week it’s rolling out Stories to Groups globally and adding emoji reactions for Group members. This is kinda cool because Groups are rising in popularity as an alternative to connecting with audiences and generating more engagement on the platform outside of New Feed ads. And now that Stories are available globally, all marketers managing groups will be able to use the content format to promote more interaction between Group members.

In other (unsurprising) news, Google is shutting down Allo, killing yet another Google chat app experiment.

Adobe does stuff

The Stock team collaborated with the Rijksmuseum (in the Netherlands) and created 28 free 3D models inspired from objects in the collection of the Dutch national museum. These assets were hand-selected from the Rijksmuseum’s online archive and transformed into 3D models, optimized to work perfectly in Adobe Dimension CC. Check them out in this gallery or on Instagram Stories. They’re pretty incredible.

In case you haven’t been watching the @Adobe Twitter handle, things kinda blew up this week (in a good way) thanks to our partnership with YouTube influencer Casey Neistat. We partnered with him to find graphic designers, videographers/editors, and photographers that he will hire to help design the visual identity of his new company, 368.

We celebrated Wildlife Conservation Day this week with a blog post featuring wildlife photographer Bee Elle – a conservation advocate who has dedicated her life to protecting the natural world and the creatures in it through her beautiful and powerful photography. In this post, Bee shares her story, some of her wildlife photos and a few handy Lightroom editing tips.

Other brands do stuff

Kind of meta, but Twitter is bringing @Twitter’s irreverent tone to Times Square billboards, and it’s pretty great. I honestly haven’t seen many out-of-home campaigns by the social platforms, but with Twitter kind of…flailing…I guess they might need some extra eyeballs. Twitter is showcasing actual tweets from the @Twitter account on light-up billboards in Times Square with the aim to reflect the “lighter, more conversational nature” of the Twitter brand. Cute.

Also in the realm of out-of-home ads, one of my favorite holiday campaigns is back this year! Spotify is unearthing more weird, wonderful data about your playlists and listening habits via billboards and ads. And this year, the brand is focusing not just on listening habits, but adding podcast habits to the mix as well. I.e. “My Favorite Murder was the favorite podcast of 327,676 people on Spotify this year. Careful, one of them might be behind you.” Brilliant.

SoulCycle has apparently been building a content division over the last six months to complement its 90 cycling studios. The team of 20 people are internally creating experiences and content, particularly for Instagram. For example, “Sound by SoulCycle” is the brand’s new concert series. The first concert was held in Harlem on October 11 and featured artists performing for 50 riders and more than 300 other attendees. Bose and Ketel One sponsored the event. And the intent was to “bring Soul to a bigger audience” who might not be able to attend the event. Basically, they’re looking at these IG experiences as another revenue stream — a la sponsorships. They’re also creating exclusive content for platforms like Apple Music and could eventually charge for more content, beyond the fees for classes (which are spensy already…). Interesting strategy. Will keep an eye on it to see how it all pans out.

Interesting stuff

This is possibly the actual most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Alas, here we are, in 2018 (almost 2019), where “Instagram Sitters” actually exist. Yeah, you read that right. These “sitters” will take photos of a your vacation and post them on Instagram on your behalf.  You know, so you can enjoy your vacay but still keep your followers up-to-date.

Fun stuff

A dude dressed up as Buddy the Elf and challenged strangers to pillow fights.

This very good boy can’t tell whether the screen door is open or not.

Not even squidding, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s assault on Apple’s squid emoji is epic.

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