The title of this week’s post comes from a quote by a New York Times editor, featured in a CNN article included below, explaining their decision to use text messaging as a reporting option from the Olympic Games. It’s a sentiment that will likely resonate with many library professionals who have adapted and innovated services to stay relevant with user needs and interests. There’s also more news about streaming video content, some important demographic shifts (including more teens getting summer jobs), a couple of closer looks at harassment and discrimination on digital platforms, and a really fascinating long read on “slash” fan-fiction.
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
An international perspective on the web novel, exemplified in the US by Wattpad and its 45 million active users and two million stories uploaded per month, which in China has become a major trend with over 297 million people having read a web novel in 2015 (Good E-Reader "Web novels are taking China by storm").
Hulu, which launched in 2007 with a library of free TV shows and clips, is stepping away from its no-cost, ad-supported model after introducing a subscription tier with limited advertising in 2010, a higher-priced ad-free subscription tier in 2015, and now preparing a live TV service next year (The Hollywood Reporter "Hulu to end free TV service"). See also Ars Technica, Consumerist, The Daily Dot, Engadget, The Verge, and Vocativ.
The New York Times has been experimenting with text message updates from the 2016 Olympics, offering readers an informal and friendly push of information on the platforms that are central to their lives (CNN "New York Times launches text-message journalism for Rio Olympics").
Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming video platform known as a social space for gamers, will help premiere two Amazon Video series pilots (TechCrunch "Amazon Video pilots will stream on Twitch"). See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Geekwire.
Snapchat will partner with NBCUniversal to create short form versions of NBC shows, including Saturday Night Live, The Voice, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Vocativ "Snapchat will get its own versions of ‘SNL’ and ‘The Voice’"). See also Consumerist, Engadget, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
Twitter is opening its Moments product, which lets publishers collect and share tweets around specific event, to all users interested in creating their own collections and promoting relevant content (ReCode "Twitter will soon let anyone create a Twitter Moment"). See also Mashable.
For just five hours last week New York City pedestrians and cyclists took over a 60-block swath of downtown Manhattan, part of a trend toward pedestrianization of urban spaces (Wired "Downtown Manhattan is the new frontier of the car-free city").
A recently published study based on data from the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds that gay and bisexual high schoolers are four times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year than their straight classmates, with nearly one-third of gay and bisexual students having recently attempted suicide and 43% having seriously considered it – the comparative numbers for straight students are 6% and 15%, respectively (The Verge "Queer teens are four times more likely to commit suicide, CDC reports"). See also Mashable.
A Snapchat "anime-inspired lens" filter has "expired" and "won't be put back into circulation" after drawing criticism for portraying exaggerated characteristics of an Asian person with slanted eyes and upturned eyebrows (CNET "Snapchat draws ire over 'racist' filter"). See also Engadget, The Guardian, Mashable, Motherboard, The Verge, and Vocativ.
An analysis of US Bureau of Labor and Statistics data by Chicago-based career consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, finds that, after years of steady decline, the number of teenagers finding summer employment in 2016 increased by more than 15% to its highest level since 2013 (Time "Here’s the surprising thing more teens are doing this summer").
The former head demographer for the United Nations, Joseph Chamie, finds that by 2030, 56 nations will have more people aged 65 and over than children under 15 – and that pattern will dominate the global population by 2075 (Bloomberg "More old than young: A demographic shock sweeps the globe").
San Francisco startup Zipline will test drone delivery of medical supplies – including blood, medicine, and medical products – to remote U.S. communities, part of an effort to demonstrate the “viability of unmanned aircraft technology in disseminating critical care supplies” (TechCrunch "Backed by White House, Zipline to test U.S. medical drone delivery").
A longer look at “slash” fan-fiction – fan-generated writings about male characters who are not gay in the original but are made so in a range of stories meant to flesh out on-screen relationships or unite couples that fans think should be together (1843 Magazine - The Economist "To boldly go...").
Another longer read, this one on harassment and Twitter, described as “a well-known hunting ground for women and people of color, who are targeted by neo-Nazis, racists, misogynists, and trolls, often just for showing up” caught between its commitment to free speech and a platform that makes moderation difficult and trolling almost effortless (Buzzfeed "'A honeypot for assholes': Inside Twitter’s 10-year failure to stop harassment").
Buzzfeed News reported that Twitter ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to President Barack Obama during a 2015 #AskPOTUS Q&A session, even deploying an algorithm that would filter out abusive language directed at Obama – the directive upset some senior employees who strictly followed Twitter’s long-standing commitment to unfettered free speech (Buzzfeed "Sources: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly censored abusive responses to President Obama"). See also The Daily Dot and The Verge.
President Obama’s commitment to reading ten letters from constituents every day will now include notes sent via a new Facebook Messenger channel (The Verge "The White House is now accepting letters over Facebook Messenger"). See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, Fast Company, and ReCode.