SO Monday: The best of 2015… but what does 2016 have to offer?


A dizzying selection of some of the more unusual or groundbreaking social and mobile news of 2015… so what can follow #piggate, Durex’s emoji, and a social network that is actually a towel? Will Amazon’s drones ever take off, and will Apple cars hit the road? We’re sure there will be a few surprises along the way!

YouTube Rewind: 2015 in Review

This YouTube video is a six-minute celebration of the videos, people, and music and moves that made 2015. #YouTubeRewind.

A social network that is actually a towel? 

In Brazil a snack company called Biscoitos Zeze ‘adopted an unusual strategy of social advertising that isn’t digital – instead, it uses sharing physical objects as its medium’. 

This is an interesting campaign trying to turn online offline which ‘involved offering up racks of special towels to picnickers on a sunny day. The towels used Biscoitos Zezé’s distinctive red-and-gold colour scheme and were printed with an invitation to sit, with the intention of getting people to sit together who normally would not’.

Known as the ‘social towel’ the campaign was a success and people commented that ‘it was really amazing to see people who did not know each other sharing a towel on the grass’. 

Amazon reveals its new delivery drone

It has been two years since Amazon first announced its plans for a drone delivery service and it seems like the Amazon dream is inching closer to reality. A new ad, fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, showed off the latest prototype for its Prime Air service. The former Top Gear presenter broke down the drone specs for the viewer, calling the prototype “a miracle of modern technology.”

“The new drone has two propeller systems—one for vertical flight and one for horizontal flight. After a package (which must be five pounds or less) is loaded into the drone’s fuselage, the drone rises vertically up to 400 feet (as per FAA regulations for hobby aircraft) and then switches propeller systems to fly horizontally to its destination.”

Amazon are yet to reveal when the inaugural flight will take place but given various stringent FAA rules it may be a while yet.

Durex unveils a condom emoji to promote safe sex

In a world where millennials only communicate via emojis, according to research by Durex: ‘84% of 18 to 25 year olds state that it’s easier to talk about sex using emojis instead of text’ as well as a ‘third of the same respondents believing they’re not at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases’.

To overcome this ‘embarrassment’ and to ensure that people do discuss safe sex, Durex invented a condom emoji...

Twitter introduced Hearts

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The social media giant Twitter announced on their blog that they are ‘changing their star icon forfavourites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes’.

The blog read, ‘We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite’.

They released this tweet explaining what the heart means here.

Instagram launches ‘Boomerang’

It’s not a photo. It’s not a gif. It’s a Boomerang.

Boomerang was the latest video app which ‘lets you turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected’. The app ‘takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward', that can be shot in portrait or landscape.

The user simply has to ‘tap to shoot’ and the app does all the hard work. Once the user has captured their ‘Boomerang’ they can share it instantly on Instagram.

Boomerang from Instagram is available today for iOS in Apple’s App Store and for Android in Google Play.

Facebook introduces Dislike buttons

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The dislike function comes in the form of emoji’s on the Facebook platform, next to the ‘Like’ button.

Mark Zuckerberg alluded to this functionality previously, and that they had been looking to develop the Like button so that people could truly feedback how certain content on their newsfeed made them feel.

So alongside Like, users can now feel Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad or Angry about posts.

Ad blocking – the Washington Post blocks the blockers

The Washington Post fought fire with fire, combating ad-blocking – by blocking ad-blockers.

The site offers up to 10 articles to non-subscribers – but not if they’re using ad-blocking software.

Those who do have an ad-blocker are given messages such as: “We’re committed to hosting safe ads and respecting your privacy. To keep reading, please disable your ad blocker.”

After all, newspapers do have to make their money somehow – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Reports of Apple creating driverless cars

Documents which the Guardian received showed that Apple had been working on a project to create driverless cars using Apple technology. 

‘According to the documents, which the Guardian received under a public records act request, Apple’s engineers met with officials from the 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco, GoMentum Station, in May to turn the location into a secure testing ground.

‘Apple has long been rumoured to be working on driverless cars but this is the first time it has been documented. Apple’s senior vice president Jeff Williams has previously deemed the driverless car the ‘ultimate mobile device’ and confirmed the company was ‘exploring a lot of different markets…in which we think we can make a difference.'

This is another example showing us that the big companies like Google and Apple are having to diversify their product offerings in order to future-proof their companies.

SOMO Fun: Ikea Takes on Apple

IKEA took a cheeky swipe at Apple with the launch of their new catalogue, The BookBook.

Watch the video here for some LOLs.

Generation#: One in ten under four-year-olds use tablets

Findings from media regulator Ofcom revealed some pretty interesting (or shocking) stats: 

  • One in ten 3 – 4 year olds access tablets
  • Children aged five to sixteen ‘now spend an average six and a half hours a day in front of a screen, in comparison to just three hours back in 1995’

This news came alongside the report that ‘hashtag’ has been declared the ‘children’s word of the year by the Oxford University Press. Researchers found children’s use of the word had extended from the realm of social media to written short stories and spoken word’. 

SO Monday Oscars Special

Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon’s support of the #AskHerMore campaign gave it a boost, with more than 40,000 people tweeting the hashtag. The campaign was launched in an attempt to give actresses the chance to talk about something more important than what they are wearing.

The feminist message continued with Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech: “To every woman who gave birth. To every tax payer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

The reaction of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez to this speech, leaping to their feet in support, had Twitter abuzz, and @JLo’s selfie tweet of her with Streep shortly afterwards was retweeted nearly 4,000 times.

According to Amobee, more than 102,000 tweets referenced Patricia Arquette, with 52% positive and only 7% negative.

Social media pushing the news agenda with #piggate

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And finally…#piggate hit the news on September 21, with over 200,000 tweets referencing the hashtag, and 3,000 plus retweets for Charlie Brooker and his bizarre premonitions. Proving that a Twitterstorm can take off even if nobody knows whether an allegation is actually true or not…

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