Once again, world events have shocked and surprised us all in the last two weeks. I will just point out one very good news story - the announcement in New Zealand today that the country is now virus-free, with the prime minister doing “a little dance” when she heard the news.
We publish this news review every two weeks, so let us know your thoughts, through the forum or by a quick email to membership!
Last week saw thousands of protests against racism around the world, on the streets and also reflected online. On Tuesday June 2nd, a campaign started by two African-American women working in the music industry had a big impact on many music corporations: it began under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused before spiralling into the larger #BlackOutTuesday campaign which was embraced on social media, and in particular, by the Instagram community. Millions of users posted a solid-black image and the feeds of Instagram were essentially blacked out for 24 hours. The correct use of hashtags was very important to this story. Many users who also used the tag, #BlackLivesMatter tag, were asked by others not to use it as that was being used as an organizing tag for events happening in real time and the black squares were drowning out the more urgent posts. Others indicated that an upper-case hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was better for blind users on screen readers. The online phenomenon of #BlackOutTuesday clearly did inspire many to read more about the BLM movement and black art and culture (see example from Maeve Higgins's instagram above) as well as political and societal issues across many spectrums. Other hashtags were countering and counter-countering on all sides, with k-pop artists even getting involved.
Whatever the reason for each individual’s use of any of these hashtags, it’s a clear demonstration of the power that can be held by a hashtag - a single word with a symbol in front of it. This NYTimes story digs a little deeper.
As retail in many countries starts to gear back into action after months-long lockdowns, clothing stores are having to rethink their shop floor layouts, occupancy size, and clothes hygiene. Many large chains, including Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Target, are keeping their fitting rooms closed - this is one factor which should see a smarter use of technology brought into focus. This article from pymnts.com looks at some of the options. And you might also enjoy our library article on trends in retail AR and VR.
Chinese ecommerce and tech giant Alibaba is really in the news. It has joined the live streaming ecommerce trend, launching a new mini-program that will allow users to watch live streaming from another Alibaba-owned property, Taobao. It is also officially on the hunt for 100,000 influencers to help promote its brands. According to Clark Boyd: “This is a noteworthy development that we will see a lot more of around the world. Influencers first worked on a set rate per sponsored post, then started to disseminate their own discount codes. They were always selling, but the conceit was lightly cloaked. Now, they will become active salespeople for the brands they represent. This is already popular in China (WeChat or Pinduoduo), and Alibaba wants to serve 2 billion customers worldwide by 2036.” Read more
We find it hard to ignore TikTok in this review, and this kind of story shows you why it's worth paying attention. A Northern Irish teenager has (literally) spawned millions of views with her tadpole collection, even earning herself a deal with a US influencer agency. See the full story here.