The title of this week’s post comes from a fascinating article from The Guardian that considers the role of fact-checking websites (e.g. snopes.com) in what is increasingly considered a post-truth era. "Everything is pouring through" could also serve as a reminder of the many streams that can influence our future - trends in content, demographics, education, spaces, the list goes on. So this week we find no shortage of information and inspiration - everything from the Olympics and the new methods of coverage that will be introduced at this year’s Games, to 7-Elevens that are transforming to meet the needs of Japan's aging population, to a pub in the UK that has taken an interesting step to help people avoid digital distraction.
Another reminder: 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
The New York Times published a 16,000-word excerpt of The Underground Railroad, the much-anticipated and Oprah’s book club novel from Colson Whitehead, that will only appear in the print version of the newspaper, part of a move to incentivize print subscription (Nieman Lab "The New York Times is publishing a print-only novel excerpt this Sunday").
The Olympics will be a time for testing new methods of reporting and news coverage. The Financial Times will launch its first virtual reality project, covering the social dynamics and physical landscape of Rio’s favelas (Digiday "Game on: Financial Times makes its VR debut for Rio Olympics"). The BBC will broadcast 360-degree video of one live sporting event (beach volleyball, boxing, basketball and fencing) and a highlights package each day (Engadget "BBC to show the Olympics live in 360-degree video"). Twitter has adjusted its Moments feature, allowing users to choose to follow their favorite sports and events to see those tweets appear on their timeline (TechCrunch "Twitter revamps Moments for the Olympics, with weeks-long tracking of sports and events"). The Washington Post will use an artificial intelligence service call Heliograf to report raw scores and short updates, with a goal of more than 300 stories on its live blog and 600 updates on social media throughout the Olympics (Poynter “The Washington Post is using robots to cover the Olympics and the election”).
Hulu will launch a paid option next year broadcasting live TV over the internet, including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TruTV, Boomerang, and Turner Classic Movies – a move that will help many consumers shift their video viewing online (CNET "Hulu is going to live-stream CNN, TBS and more next year"). See also The New York Times.
HBO and Vice Media will launch a nightly news program, Vice News Tonight, aimed at a younger audience who have grown “increasingly skeptical of daily broadcast news” (TechCrunch “HBO will get a nightly news show in September, courtesy of Vice News”).
News outlets streamed over 8,500 hours of Facebook Live coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions (CNET "A year's worth (almost) of Facebook Live video at RNC, DNC").
Even as it has proven a tool for sharing information and news, the long-term strategy for Facebook Live includes revenue generation – and that starts with tests of commercial breaks inside live video broadcasts (Advertising Age "Facebook is testing mid-roll video ads in Facebook Live").
Facebook live-streamed a charity soccer match between Manchester United and Everton (CNET "Manchester United vs. Everton to kick off live on Facebook" ).
Twitter streamed the Suicide Squad red carpet premiere in New York (Engadget "Twitter will livestream the 'Suicide Squad' NYC premiere").
Disney Channel will release 12 short-form movies online, part of a strategy to engage young audiences more likely to view content on mobile devices, connected TVs, and media streaming devices like Apple TV (Engadget "Disney Channel to release 12 original short films online").
Airbnb will launch a new division called Samara with a first project focused on communal housing to revitalize a small town in Japan, a project that could be scaled for other declining small towns around the world (Fast Company “An exclusive look at Airbnb's first foray into urban planning”). See also Consumerist, Engadget, Mashable, and The Verge.
A study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior finds that 15% of younger millennials have not had sex since turning 18, up from 6% in the early 1990s, aligning with additional research showing that, overall, millennials have fewer sexual partners than baby boomers and those in Generation X and leading some to read this as indication that some young people are having difficulty forming deep romantic or social connections (The Washington Post "‘There isn’t really anything magical about it’: Why more millennials are avoiding sex"). See also The Daily Dot, Fusion, Gizmodo, and Mashable.
Japan’s 7-Eleven stores play a more central community role where customers can pay a utility bill, buy concert tickets, or make copies – and they are increasingly tailoring their services to an aging population, with higher-quality and healthier food, home delivery, seating areas for socializing and entertainment, and even integration into the country’s Urban Renaissance Agency’s apartment complexes (CityLab "How 7-Elevens are catering to Japan's growing elderly population").
Rural areas are working to support and develop startups and entrepreneurs, with several built-in benefits like low-cost living, reduced traffic, support for young families, and access to quality education (TechCrunch "Rural tech startups see success across the US").
Google parent company Alphabet will be allowed to test drones in designated areas in the US, part of an announcement from the White House that coincides with a new initiative from the National Science Foundation to research remote-piloted flight (CNET “Alphabet gets clearance to begin testing delivery drones in US”). See also Engadget, Geekwire, Mashable, The Verge
In the face of significant budget challenges, citizens in Detroit plan to install 97 Little Free Libraries in front of all Detroit schools, hoping to provide kids with access to age-appropriate reading material (CityLab "Detroit is getting kids reading by building 97 Little Free Libraries at schools, parks, and farms"). It’s a positive step, but it’s not a library.
Hampton Bays (N.Y) Public Schools’ new middle school was designed to meet the needs of students and the community, allowing selected facilities like the gym, library, media center, and auditorium to be opened for the public’s use even as security features allow spaces to be locked off the for the security of students and staff (District Administration "Green school enriches students and the community").
With the population of older students (older than 25) enrolled in degree-granting institutions expected to rise in the next several years, many states and institutions are considering strategies to support this segment both academically and financially (Education Commission of the States "27 is the new 18: Adult students on the rise").
As colleges and universities strive to make themselves more appealing to students and more competitive in research and output, some have sought to merge two institutions to make one stronger institution, a strategy that could have high financial and community costs (Education Dive "Benefits of college mergers don't always add up").
Minecraft could prove an excellent preparation for the digital workplace of the future, where we will live inside our own designs, work on platforms that attract skill and unleash creativity, solve complex problems collaboratively in real time, and where education will be more like games and less like school (TechCrunch "Why Minecraft predicts the future of collaborative work").
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual State of the Climate Report notes several climate records achieved in 2015 – the average temperature for the world hit a record high in all four major datasets, along with record high greenhouse gas levels, record high sea surface temperatures, and record low Arctic sea ice levels (Scientific American "2015 set a frenzy of climate records").
The introduction of Instagram Stories dominated the news cycle, borrowing heavily from the real-time, authentic, and ephemeral feeling that helped Snapchat lure a younger user base (The Daily Dot “Instagram just totally ripped off Snapchat with its 'new' Stories feature”). See also Advertising Age, CNET, Consumerist, Digiday, Engadget, Geekwire, Gizmodo, Mashable, ReCode, TechCrunch, Variety, and Wired.
A reminder that the International Olympic Committee’s protection of its trademark extends into the realm of social media (AdWeek "Here Are the Many, Many Ways Your Business Can Get in Trouble for Tweeting the Olympics"). See also CNET, The Daily Dot, and Vocativ.
Yes, that also includes GIFs (Mashable “No GIFs of the Olympics, says Olympics committee”). See also Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Vocativ.
Facebook will begin using an algorithm to identify clickbait headlines and limit both the reach of the post and the reach of repeat offending publishers that post such content (The Verge “Facebook is stepping up its war on clickbait in the News Feed”). See also CNET, Engadget, Poynter, and Slate.
A look at the role of Snopes.com and sites like FactCheck.Org, TruthOrFiction.com, and PolitiFact.com that contend with a growing sea of misinformation churned by a mix of legitimate satire sties like The Onion, regurgitated false news stories, intentionally distorted news, and click-bait masked as real news (The Guardian "Can mythbusters like Snopes.com keep up in a post-truth era?").
Google will expand its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) feature to all mobile search results, providing a stripped-down, faster version of articles delivered directly from Google's own caching servers (The Verge “Google’s Instant Articles competitor is about to take over mobile search”).
Apple will include over 100 new and redesigned emojis in iOS 10, including new female athletes and professionals, new skin color options, a new rainbow flag, more family options, and the replacement of the gun emoji with a water gun (CNET “Apple makes iOS 10 emoji more diverse”). Regarding emoji diversity, see also The Daily Dot, Geekwire, Mashable, TechCrunch, and The Verge. Regarding the squirt gun, see also Ars Technica, Emojipedia, Engadget, Quartz, Vocativ, and Wired.
A pub in the United Kingdom has installed an electronic shield, known as a Faraday cage, into its walls and ceiling in an effort to stop cell phone signals and force "people to interact in the real world" (BBC "Hove bar uses Faraday cage to block mobile phone signals").
Part of a promotion for his upcoming Snowden, Oliver Stone appears in a new video warning viewers that cell phones “allow certain parties to track your every move every time you make a call [or] send a text. We are giving them access. The information you put out into the world voluntarily is enough to burn your life to the ground” - also turn off your cell phone while watching a movie (Wired “Oliver Stone’s anti-cell phone PSA Is so very Oliver Stone”). See also Ars Technica and CNET.
While not entirely unplugged, Netflix is joining the slow movement, streaming Slow TV, the Norwegian TV series that documents knitting, train rides, salmon fishing, and other ordinary events in real time (Quartz “Netflix’s newest show for binge-watching is a real-time knitting marathon”). See also Vocativ.