It’s officially spring!
But depending on where you live, it may not feel like spring just yet. So how about you mix yourself a delicious, fruity drink that reminds you of nights on the patio and fun in the sun. Got it? Good. Now sip on your there’s-no-such-thing-as-too-strong cocktail and enjoy these 5 digital goodies from this week. Happy Friday!
1. Add To Cart, Add To Cart, Add To Cart
Instagram is getting serious about stepping into the e-commerce space. We are all familiar with the sponsored ads that fill our feeds, tempting us to click or swipe up to view and, who are we kidding, immediately add to cart. But sometimes, load times and complicated check-outs on third-party sites prove frustrating, causing shoppers to abandon their items and give up on their dreams of owning a dumpling night-light or whatever else IG served them.
Now, Instagram is making it even easier to fuel our online shopping addiction with in-app check outs by charging sellers a fee. For consumers, that means Instagram will remember your delivery information and payment method for easy-peasy one-click purchases. It’s both glorious and oh, so dangerous.
2. Survive The Great Outdoors… From Your Couch
After the success of Bandersnatch, Netflix has announced their next interactive show called “You vs. Wild”. Launching in April, the eight-episode show will follow Bear Grylls through multiple scenarios as he tries to survive the great outdoors. What’s your place in all of this? Viewers will be able to choose some of Grylls’ decisions in each episode.
While Bandersnatch was entertaining, it will be interesting to see how this series plays out and if it leads to more interactive content for Netflix. And with the incoming threat of Disney+ and other streaming services, it’s no surprise that Netflix is looking for a way to differentiate themselves.
So, will “You vs. Wild” be engaging enough to keep viewers watching? Or will everyone purposely make poor choices and try to kill Bear Grylls? Now how fun would that be!?
3. The Future of Gaming
Is there anything Google can’t do? The tech giant’s latest endeavour is a smart one, combining the best of video gaming and streaming in one. They’re skipping the hardware route (save for a nifty controller) and aren’t concerned with creating a gaming console. Instead, they’re jumping feet first into launching a video streaming service for video games. Step aside, Twitch. Everyone, meet Stadia.
Promised to offer exceptional streaming capabilities with 5G connections as soon as possible, all you will need to play is a TV with Chromecast and internet connection. Uniquely to Stadia, the system will connect to Youtube, allowing players to drop a pin at their favourite moments, share it, view it, or jump to that same moment and start playing. Viewers can even join the person they’re watching live, or ask the Google Assistant how to beat a boss. Welcome to the future of gaming.
4. Party Hardy in VR
Virtual reality is an escape from the confines of boring ol’ real life, allowing you to step into and be surrounded by a world of possibilities. But it’s not just for fun. VR can help change lives, too. At least, that’s what the Danish government is hoping to achieve.
To counter the country’s teen drinking problem, Denmark is using VR to help educate teenagers on how to party responsibility, understand the effects of alcohol, and learn how to deal with peer pressure through immersive VR roleplaying. The scenarios are apparently built to be very realistic and are intended to help teens learn how to navigate these kinds of real-life situations. Will it make a difference? Will it mark the end of underaged drinking? Only time will tell.
5. Sesame Street Gets Social
Sesame Street has been busy in the social space. Recently, Cookie Monster took on a Reddit AMA that produced both hilarious and pure answers that tons of outlets covered including Mashable and BuzzFeed. Check out the AMA thread in its entirety here.
More recently, though, the official @SesameStreet handle on Twitter innocently asked the internet the following question: “You’re stuck on a deserted island and you can pick one of these Sesame Street friends to come with you. Who are you picking and why?” And things got heated, in the best way possible. Do you go with the safe choice and choose always-uppity Elmo? Or soak in your misanthropy in isolation with everyone’s favourite pessimist, Oscar? Celebrities like Joss Whedon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt weighed in, but who is the right choice?
In all seriousness, Sesame Street is on to something, and they have been for a while. Whether the brand is just trying to stay relevant to their older audiences, or if the creators are just having fun by bringing the characters to life on social, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s entertaining. And when it comes to social, that’s what counts.