Bathroom shrines and spatial commerce
Plus did you hear that Noodle got canceled by Rolling Stone? 🐶
You are reading Social Signals, Greg’s weekly email about creative, digital, social, and cultural signals worth noting. Today’s email was written to KID A NESIA by Radiohead. Follow @gregswan on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, subscribe!
Happy Friday! It snowed here in Minneapolis last night, and I’m here for it. ☃️
It’s been a big couple of weeks for client launches — Arby’s Curly & Crinkle Fry Vodka, Monkey Shoulder’s Halloween activation, Key Bank’s Follow Your Lead GoFundMe program, Blue Kazoo’s female artist series, and somehow I finally got the last boxes unpacked from moving eight months ago.
But the momentum doesn’t stop just because we’re busy, so let’s get into the social signals worth noting this week…
🚽 Bathroom Shrines Are Back
Years ago, social feeds were flooded with improvised shrines dedicated to real people or fictional characters in public bathrooms that resemble memorials for the dead. The practice was inspired by a series in 2018 showcasing a Danny DeVito shrine hidden in a "secret" room connected to a college bathroom. Thanks to TikTok, bathroom shrines are back! Shrines for Hatsune Miku, John Cena, Harry Styles, Shrek, Adam Sandler and more are again trending on social. #BathroomShrine is at 500k views and #Shrine is at 55M views. All hail satirical shrines designed for social sharing!
👵 It’s Like Uber For Your Grandpa’s Care
The gig economy is coming to in-home care, and a company called Papa is leading the way. Papa provides social support and everyday assistance—to help with elder care, child care, and self-care. The company raised $240 million to-date and has contracted with more than 65 health plans to send “Papa Pals” into people’s homes. Beyond seniors, Papa also works with Medicaid plans for low-income families and with employers as a benefit for family caregivers. For Papa Pals, they get paid hourly and set their own schedules.
Key quote: “If we can provide companionship and help eliminate some of the loneliness that people are feeling, but, at the same time, pair that with really understanding the home environment … I think these are meaningful levers that can be pulled pretty inexpensively to help improve the quality of life for individuals.” Learn more or download here.
🤖 Patents of the Week
Although patent filings aren't a guarantee that new technology will come to fruition, they give us a hint of where we may be headed. This week Nvidia wants your car to know what you’re looking at so it can be more responsive using sensor data and a spatial map. For example, “if the driver looked towards the entertainment system and said “turn it up”, the car’s system will be able to determine that the driver is referring specifically to the volume on the entertainment system.” If you think that seems obtrusive, Ford has a patent where you only have to THINK about turning up the volume and it will happen! If you’re into nerding out on patents, check out Neer Sharma’s Patent Drop.
🔭 Spatial Commerce, unlocked via LiDAR
You may recall how excited I was about LiDAR coming standard to iPhones earlier this year: “[Apple's LiDAR] coming to mainstream phones will create even more opportunities for marketers to build magical experiences in the years to come.” Beyond increased social filter experiences like TikTok and Snap, brands are starting to build on this new technology in some really visionary and additive ways.
This week Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced the concept of spatial commerce with the announcement of a forthcoming app update that will scan your room, automatically generate a floor plan, room measurements, 3D product visualizations, and personalized estimates. Furthermore, consumers can bring their “saved rooms” to the physical store via phone, or use VR and AR technology to see real-time customization options in their actual spaces. Watch the video here.
📚 Weekend Reads:
The Good Tweets
💥 Quick Hits
YouTube is removing the dislike count on all videos across its platform.
Netflix launched Kids Clips, an app that shows short clips in a snackable scroll format taken from its library of children's content.
Justin Bieber will perform an entire live show as an avatar in his own virtual universe. RSVP here.
Instagram’s creator subscriptions are nearing launch.
Twitter is adding new visual enhancement tools which will enable users to add stickers, text and crops to uploaded videos and images.
Snapchat has provided a new showcase of its evolving AR Try-On tools.
Meta is reportedly launching physical stores to showcase its physical products (eg., Quest, Portal, Ray-Ban Stories).
Microsoft Teams will soon work with Meta’s Workplace platform.
Twitter launched its Blue subscription service, including ad-free access to 300 news sites for $2.99/month.
Facebook published a Widely Viewed Content Report: What People See on Facebook.
The country's first driverless trucks are here, as Walmart pulled the human safety drivers from its autonomous delivery route in Arkansas.
Twitter of the Week: @everysheriff is a bot that makes ASCII art sheriffs out of every emoji.
Insta of the Week: @digital_chadvertising is a must-follow meme account for those of us in digital advertising
App of the Week: Push It is similar to throwback cult favorite “Yo” and allows you to send push notifications to your friends’ phones with custom messages. Download it here.
TikTokker of the Week: @jonnahamilton’s entire account explaining the origin story of viral TikToks.
TikTok of the Week: Noodle got canceled by Rolling Stone
See you on the internet!
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