I’m a day late this week – I'm blaming it on some travel yesterday – but I hope that this week's scan will still prove useful. This week’s post leads with a quote from an article in The Verge detailing an experience many of us have had: searching for something online with only the smallest details of what we are looking for. This week also sees articles about autonomous cars, crime at big box stores, and continuing concern for harassment in online spaces.
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
For the first half of 2016, bookstore sales were 6.1% ahead of the same period in 2015, performing better than that entire retail segment (Publisher’s Weekly “Bookstore sales up 6.1% in first half of 2016”).
NPR will follow the lead of several other news organizations – Reuters, Recode, The Verge, Popular Science, The Chicago Sun-Times – removing comments sections in favor of other means of communication, including social media (Poynter “NPR joins tide of publishers getting rid of comments”). See also The Washington Post.
Digital-native publishers like BuzzFeed, Vox, and Huffington Post are exploring pay-for-content models like micro payments, user-data exchanges, and membership programs in efforts to stabilize revenues while still maintaining their appeal to digital readers (Business Insider “Paywalls have worked for some traditional publishers, but may not work for digital natives”).
CNN AIR will provide aerial imagery and reporting using two full-time drone operators and a fleet of about a dozen drones, helping to provide CNN’s reporting with additional context, enhanced production value, and improved documentary storytelling (Poynter “CNN just launched a new drone division. Here’s what they plan to do with it.”).
Streaming music service Spotify will work with educational initiatives Too Small to Fail and Vroom to expand its content for youth, featuring categories and playlists for playtime, bedtime, and traveling, and celebrity-voiced tips for other activities to help build vocabulary (Engadget “Spotify revamps its kids category to help with early learning”). See also CNET.
As Gawker.com ceases operations, a group of digital archivists called Archive Team is creating a copy of the site so that it can be viewed in the future as it exists now (Fusion “‘Rogue’ archivists are creating a copy of Gawker.com so that it will never die”).
The BAFTA film awards (the British equivalent of the Academy Awards) will accept movies released exclusively on video-on-demand platforms for consideration for its 2017 awards (Engadget “BAFTA opens film awards up to streaming-only releases”).
And the Tribeca Film Festival will accept submissions from virtual reality producers for its 2017 festival, making it the first major festival to allow the category to compete against mainstream films (Engadget “VR will vie for awards at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival”).
Instagram has launched a new channel dedicated to live concerts, sports, and other events, where users will share videos from the venues and users can watch from anywhere (Advertising Age “Instagram launches Snapchat-like live events channel”). See also CNET and Consumerist.
At a unique intersection of neighborhood development and diversity, ‘gentefication’ (playing on the Spanish word ‘gente’ or people) is the process of change a Latino neighborhood undergoes when young, upwardly mobile, often college-educated Latinos come back from school or a stint in the suburbs and open up businesses, often rooted in Latino culture, but reflecting a more generalized American appeal – and like other forms of gentrification, it can lead to displacement and tension (CityLab “Defining 'gentefication' in Latino neighborhoods”).
Big cities continue to drive economic progress by producing more jobs than suburbs and small town, leaving many planners to consider how cities can grow faster with housing, office space, and transportation infrastructure (Vox “The case for making New York and San Francisco much, much bigger”).
Target continues to promote its policy allowing customers to use bathrooms and fitting rooms of the genders they identify with, announcing that it will spend $20 million to make single-occupancy restrooms available for customers in all 1,800 Target locations (Consumerist “Target will have private bathrooms in all stores by next year”).
Data from the Federal Reserve, analyzed by The New York Times, indicates that the percentage of Americans under 35 who hold credit card debt has fallen to its lowest level since 1989, which could have long-term effects on their ability and likelihood to finance big purchases like home mortgages (The New York Times “How millennials became spooked by credit cards”).
Employing more minority teachers has proven a successful strategy for narrowing achievement gaps for black and Hispanic students, but a new study from the Brookings Institution and the National Council on Teacher Quality shows that school districts contend with fewer and fewer minority college graduates choosing to become teachers, indicating minimal improvement as far out as 2060 (The Washington Post “The nation’s teacher force lacks diversity, and it might not get much better”).
A really interesting look at the growing complexity of online information and our ability to search, sort through, and retrieve the needles in the haystack (The Verge “I lost my favorite YouTube channel because I trusted the internet to keep track of it”).
The universally recognizable language of emojis has been popularized by messaging apps and the coordinated efforts of the Unicode Consortium, but as companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft select more varied expressions for each emoji, the opportunities for misunderstanding are growing (ArsTechnica “As emoji grow more popular, the ‘language’ also risks fragmentation”).
Google’s updated search feature provides information people may need on voting day, including election day voting times and any documents required (Mashable “Google search results will now help you figure out how to vote”). See also CNET and Slate.
Twitter will provide users with new settings to limit notifications to only the accounts they follow and a new filter, both of which had been available to verified users to help curb harassment (BuzzFeed “Twitter announces tools that seem intended to curb harassment”). See also CNET, The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Mashable.
Twitter reports having shut down 360,000 accounts that it says were used to promote terrorism, up from the 125,000 accounts reported shut down as of February (The Daily Dot “Twitter shutters 360,000 accounts for 'promoting terrorism’”). See also Ars Technica.
Facebook’s Lifestage app is intended for those 21 and under and uses video for users to answer questions about themselves and connect with other users (The Verge “Facebook’s latest youth play is a teens-only social network”). See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
Yik Yak, citing problems with cyberbullying, will now require users to have a handle, a profile pic, and a short bio, shifting away from the anonymity that originally distinguished it (Vocativ “Yik Yak Is No Longer Anonymous”).
The Sharing Economy
Uber is launching a fleet of autonomous Volvos in Pittsburgh, part of a partnership between the automaker and the ride-hailing service – an actual person will still be in the driver’s seat in the event the computer fails (Wired “How Pittsburgh Birthed the Age of the Self-Driving Car”). See also Bloomberg, CNET, Conde Nast Traveler, Consumerist, Fusion, Gizmodo, Slate, TechCrunch.
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
Cost cutting strategies, including the removal of store greeters and the introduction of self-checkout scanners, have created a model of large box stores with fewer and fewer employees, greatly increasing the likelihood for crime at the nation’s 4,500 Walmarts (Bloomberg “Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy”). See also Consumerist.
Apple’s retail locations will now be referred to only as “Apple” instead of “Apple Store,” part of a rebrand that emphasizes the spaces as community gathering places instead of shopping destinations (Mashable “The Apple Store is now simply 'Apple,' company says”). See also Geekwire and The Verge.
Intel announced a completely wireless, all-in-one virtual reality headset and platform at its Intel Developers Forum (TechCrunch “Intel shows off all-in-one Project Alloy virtual reality headset”). See also Ars Technica and Gizmodo.