No shortage of news this week. Leslie Jones’ experience on Twitter illustrated the truly awful harassment that can be experienced on social media – an incident that will hopefully lead to greater support for those who experience harassment and more careful consideration for how the community constructs itself. There was quite a bit about publishing this week, including some interesting stories about romance writers, indie presses, and one hour book delivery. And some interesting education pieces, including after-school and summer learning, education programs for the incarcerated, and entrepreneurship and higher Ed.
A short commercial: The Center for the Future of Libraries is happy to be working with San Jose State University’s School of Information and The Learning Revolution on this year’s Library 2.016 Mini-Conferences, including the October 6th Library 2.016: Libraries of the Future. A call for proposals and free registration are now available.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our future work.
And let us know what you're reading this week to help think about later.
Books, Media, and Publishing
Self-publishing has helped female romance writers redefine the genre, providing affordably priced content to an audience of insatiable readers and leveraging social media to connect directly with fans (Quartz “Maverick women writers are upending the book industry and selling millions in the process”).
Building off the Amazon Singles format launched in 2011, Amazon’s Singles Classics category will market short-form stories and essays from celebrated non-fiction authors and magazine writers (The Verge “Amazon is bringing some of the best non-fiction classics to Kindle”). See also Engadget, Geekwire, and TechCrunch.
Facebook announced that its livestreaming platform, Facebook Live, will now support fullscreen broadcasts, a new "video-only" mode hiding comments and reactions, and broadcasts up to four hours, doubling the previous two hour limit (Mashable "Facebook's live videos can now be twice as long").
ABC and Facebook have partnered to livestream the Democratic and Republican national conventions, providing 24-hour live online coverage of news inside the convention center and the protests outside (Engadget "Facebook and ABC team up for live DNC and RNC coverage").
The list of live video coming to Twitter continues to expand. The NBA will create two “live original programs” that will stream exclusively on Twitter, though the NBA will not allow actual game broadcasts to steam on the platform (ReCode "The NBA is creating two new TV-style shows exclusively for Twitter"). See also CNET.
Twitter’s college sports lineup has also expanded with a new deal with Campus Insiders to stream over 300 "live college events," including football, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, volleyball, field hockey, water polo and swimming (Engadget "Twitter adds more college sports to its video streaming lineup").
The NBA will stream all of the USA Basketball exhibition games leading up to the Olympics on Facebook, sharing the same broadcast that viewers would find on NBA TV (ReCode "The NBA will livestream a bunch of U.S. Olympic exhibition basketball games on Facebook"). See also CNET.
Facebook plans to spend over $2 million to lure internet celebrities from YouTube and other social media platforms to their Facebook Live streaming service (Consumerist “Facebook to pay for live videos from internet celebrities”). See also Gizmodo and Vocativ.
Netflix added just 160,000 US subscribers between April and June – the smallest domestic increase since it split its streaming and DVD-rental businesses in 2011 and far short of its projection of 500,000 new US subscribers – and reported an increase in cancellations after its older pricing plan expired and subscription prices increased (Wired “Netflix added way fewer US subscribers than anyone expected”). See also CNET, The Verge, and Vocativ.
As the big five publishers pursue big book deals – advances, page numbers, print runs – American indie presses serve a vital role in the market, focusing on creativity and originality (The Atlantic "Why American publishing needs indie presses like Graywolf, Coffee House Press, and Dorothy").
London-based starup NearSt works with 40 local bookshops to integrate sales inventories and offer customers the option of immediate pick-up from a local bookstore or one-hour book delivery, available from scooter and bike services across London (The Guardian "'Amazon without Amazon': one-hour book delivery service launched").
New York City’s subway system will see car and station redesigns, improving riders’ experience with USB charging ports in cars and on station platforms, countdown clocks, and improved maps and service announcement features (Wired “The NYC subway’s getting a much-needed facelift”). See also Engadget, TechCrunch, TreeHugger, and The Verge.
Popular YouTube celebrity Sam Collins came out as female to male (FTM) transgender, sharing with his fans that he had begun the transition process four years ago at the age of 16 (The Daily Dot "YouTube star Sam Collins comes out as transgender in latest video").
Takanobu Nishimoto’s online service rents an "ossan" – a man aged 45 to 55 – to individuals in need of company and a friendly ear, a useful service in a country that has struggled with problems of social isolation, especially among teens and young adults who hole up in their rooms (Yahoo News "Japanese 'rent men' who are paid just to listen'”).
Emojis are diversifying to help advance equity in the workplace, as the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee announced the addition of 11 new characters that portray professional women in every skin tone and the creation of both male and female version of 33 existing emojis (ReCode "The new female emojis are our friends").
What were once considered luxury goods have become not only a part of our basic standard of living but have been purchased in ever larger quantities, increasing people’s expectations for what should be owned and leaving many vulnerable or struggling financially (Quartz “Are we consuming too much?”).
Amazon’s $49 per year Prime Student program, similar to the Amazon Prime program, provides free two-day shipping and additional perks, including a new offer for discounted interest rates on private student loans through Wells Fargo (Geekwire “Amazon and Wells Fargo partner to offer discounted student loans”). See also CNET, Consumerist, and TechCrunch.
An argument that entrepreneurship has always been part of higher education, co-existing with the long-established roles of teaching and research and converting ideas into action (TechCrunch "The role of higher education in entrepreneurship").
As flipped and active learning make strides in higher education, what is the future of the traditional college lecture – and how can it be improved (The Atlantic "Should colleges really eliminate the college lecture?")?
An interesting look at Minecraft: Education Edition, promoted with the promise to transform education, but posing unique challenge for integrating into lesson plans and adapting to teaching styles (Motherboard "Can 'Minecraft' really change the way teachers teach?").
A new project by the Museum of London will use Minecraft to help teach history, documenting the progress of the Great Fire of 1666 (Engadget "Museum uses 'Minecraft' to visualise the Great Fire of London"). See also CNET.
Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Summer Dreamers Academy serves nearly 2,000 elementary and middle school students, providing enrichment activities like fencing, West African dance, and filmmaking as well as 90 minutes of reading and 90 minutes of math instruction every morning, part of a growing movement to offer students summers of learning (Education Dive "Schools increasingly fighting summer slide with learning opportunities").
After-school programs remain popular, providing safe and supervised spaces – and many programs now provide additional benefits like mini-courses in filmmaking, robotics, golf and chess, or field trips to museums, libraries, and tech centers, aligning instruction with the school-day curriculum (District Administration "After-school acceleration").
As inmates in more than 100 American penal institutions begin receiving federal financial aid for higher education for the first time in more than two decades, a report from the Vera Institute of Justice looks at how educational programming for prisoners will need to change (NextCity "Digitizing the 21st-Century prison").
This week brought the issue of harassment on social media to the forefront. Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones decided to expose the racist and sexist harassment she received via Twitter (The Daily Dot “'Ghostbusters' star Leslie Jones exposes racist harassment on Twitter”). See also CNET, Mashable, TechCrunch.
Even as fans helped the star report the offending accounts to Twiter’s safety team and spread the hashtag #LoveforLeslieJ, Jones signed off from Twitter (Fusion “How a racist, sexist hate mob forced Leslie Jones off Twitter”). See also ReCode and Vocativ.
The incident refocused attention on the culture of abuse experienced by many people, especially women and people of color, on social media platforms (The Daily Dot “The abuse Leslie Jones endured on Twitter is nothing new for black women”). See also Gizmodo, Mashable, Motherboard, and The Verge.
Twitter responded to the incident with a renewed promise to strengthen its rules and procedures regarding abuse against users and banned Milo Yiannopoulos, a technology editor for the conservative news website Breitbart and one of the leaders of the campaign of racial and sexual taunts against Leslie Jones (Bloomberg “Twitter bans Milo Yiannopoulos for leading abuse campaign against actress”). See also Ars Technica, Buzzfeed, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Fusion, Gizmodo, Motherboard, The New York Times, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Jones, in an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, drew the distinction between hate and free speech as Yiannopoulos’ supporters argued that Twitter was violating his right to free speech (The Verge “Leslie Jones: 'hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things'”). See also Mashable and Re-Code.
Jones has returned to Twitter (Mashable "Leslie Jones makes triumphant return to Twitter after vanquishing racist trolls").
The app Candid uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to analyze every piece of posted content and flag inflammatory items for removal, fighting unacceptable online behavior even as it creates a private and near anonymous space for conversation (Engadget "'Candid,' the anonymous chat app, enforces civility with AI"). See also CNET and Fortune.
New research from the Pew Research Center shows the digital divide shifting for Latinos – the share of Latino adults who report using the internet increased from 64% in 2009 to 84% in 2015, though the share of all Hispanic adults who access the internet through a home broadband connection saw less change, increasing from 45% in 2010 to just 46% (Pew Research Center "Digital divide narrows for Latinos as more Spanish speakers and immigrants go online").
Apple will partner with GlaxoSmithKline to conduct a clinical study on rheumatoid arthritis using the iPhone’s ResearchKit (PSFK “Apple is taking on its first clinical study”). See also The Daily Dot.
Retail, Restaurants, and Spaces
Macy’s will partner with with Satisfi to test “Macy’s On Call,” a mobile customer service platform that utilizes IBM’s Watson to triage common customer questions related to navigating stores or locating items and to learn more about the information and service needs of customers in each of the ten test stores (Consumerist "Macy’s new app answers questions you used to ask store employees").
The structure of this story on streetwear brand Supreme is fascinating – short chapters forming a longer read – and you may not be interested in all of it, but scan ahead to The Drop to learn how this influential brand uses a weekly launch to create a sense of exclusivity and engagement (Racked "Reign, Supreme").
A space I had not considered. As competitive gaming becomes more popular – including fighting games like Mortal Kombat XL, Killer Instinct, and Street Fighter V – eSports bars offer spaces for people to enjoy broadcast video game competitions with friends and fans or even play some casual games on the several consoles that line the walls (Motherboard "I watched the world’s biggest fighting game event at an eSports bar").
A Starbucks in Malaysia partnered with The Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (SID), which aims to increase employment opportunities for the deaf in Malaysia, to staff a location with deaf baristas – customers can order using sign language or through a kiosk and when their order is complete, their order number appears on a digital screen (PSFK “Starbucks store staffed by deaf baristas”).
The Sharing Economy
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky had previously indicated fighting discrimination as one of the biggest challenges the company faces and this week announced the appointment of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help the company “craft a world-class anti-discrimination policy” (Skift “Airbnb enlists former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to battle discrimination”). See also Consumerist, The Daily Dot, Fusion, Mashable, ReCode, The Verge, and Wired.