Wait! What? 4/22: The Little Prince and Losing a Legend

TGIF! A week of high highs (hehe) and low lows, we said goodbye to an icon, checked in on the adorable state of the US and UK’s special relationship, and scrolled through a seemingly endless stream of Coachella Instagrams.

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  • 2016 continues to be a tragic year for music royalty, with Prince’s untimely passing the latest heartbreaking loss. A true revolutionary, Prince influenced not just what we listened to, but how the industry developed and distributed music.
  • In more uplifting royal news, the leader of the free world met a very sleepy little Londoner inspiring a resounding “awwww!” from internet users on both sides of the pond.
  • It’s not just millennial daters who struggle with labels: it continues to be “complicated” between Uber and its drivers, many of whom would rather be considered full-time employees rather than independent contractors.
  • Snapchat had to be under the influence to think that its Bob Marly blackface filter celebrating the marijuana-centric holiday 4/20 was a good idea…
  • Dig out your “boho” maxi dress and dust off your flower crowns – Coachella is coming to virtual reality!

That’s all for now! Enjoy the weekend everyone and we’ll be back next week 🙂

Who Needs Words Anyways? Facebook and the Future of Instant Emotional Reactions

We’ve all been there-your friend on Facebook posts a devastating news story about the Zika virus, some shocking statistics about the gender pay gap, or one of (B&O office favorite) Matt Bellassi’s hilarious weekly Wine About It videos. You go for the “like” button, but it feels … a little off (do you REALLY want to “like” a post saying ‘I just got into a car accident. Other car got flipped over but I’m all good.’, so you take to the comment section.

No longer!

Instead of having its users continually spam posts with “lol!,” “OMG,” or “aw, ” Facebook is making it even easier to express exactly how you feel with its new reaction buttons.

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While these new emoji reactions will finally allow you to adequately express your “Love” for your aunt’s amazing banana bread recipe, it will also have a greater effect on social marketing and PR efforts. Especially intimidating for brands and media professionals: the “sad” and “angry” buttons. Though dissatisfied customers have been using replies and comments to share their frustrations on social since its inception, these negative responses are quicker and require less thought. This means an annoyed user who previously may not have taken the energy to bag on a brand in the comments section can now deliver digital disapproval with the click of a mouse.

Of course, Facebook’s emotional expansion also opens the door for more nuanced and enthusiastic interaction between brands and users as well. Buttons like “Haha,” “Wow,” and “Love” demonstrate a higher level of interest in content and can garner more precise data surrounding what makes a campaign successful.

But why stop there? We here at B&O have a few suggestions of other popular emojis that we’d love to see on Facebook (Mr. Zuckerberg: you can use these ideas free of charge):

  • “Ooops” face: Perfect for when you accidentally like your ex’s 2012 study abroad photo album
  • “Peace” fingers: You know those two people you went to high school with who are in an endless Facebook war? Throw one of these their way.
  • “Side eye” face: Because you can’t just write “REALLY? Another picture of your brunch?”
  • “Cool” sunglasses face: Trying to cover up your jealousy of someone’s vacation pictures? This one’s for you!

We’ll have to wait and see users’ emotional responses to Facebook’s latest attempt at boosting engagement, but one thing’s for sure: it’s bound to change the face of social.

Wait! What? Netflix releases next-level stockings and Star Wars unseats Santa as king of Christmastime

While we’ve been busy roasting chestnuts on an open fire here at B&O, the tech world doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the holiday season! Here’s our roundup of the week’s most fun and festive stories:

  • Never fear binge-watchers! While 2015 may have been the year of #NetflixAndChill, the streaming video provider is introducing socks that will pause someone’s program when they fall asleep, thus ending one of life’s greatest problems.Key with christmas tree
  • Just when you thought Santa’s sleigh was the most baffling form of transportation around, Google is rumored to be making moves towards using their self-driving cars for a subscribed service similar to Uber in the distant(ish) future.
  • Top VCs and entrepreneurs are the superstars of Silicon Valley—but what if J.Biebs and The Weeknd were actually rolling around San Hill Road? First Round Capital’s parody of 2015’s biggest hits explores this alternate reality.
  • Just as it’s inevitable that your aunt is going to get you the same thing for Christmas every year (socks.), Facebook has once again topped Nielson’s list of most popular apps.
  • And the greatest gift of all: Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally opened to rave reviews and record-breaking ticket sales thanks to an all-consuming marketing campaign. Fanboys and girls could make their Facebook profile pictures flyer than the Millennium Falcon and rebellious spoiler scum were banned from the Mos Eisley-level lawless land of Reddit.

That’s it for this week! Enjoy the holidays and we will be back in the new year with our weekly Wait! What? posts! See you then!

Wait! What? Airbnb & Twitter get spooked and Uber delivers some furry friends

Beware! It’s nearly Halloween, and it seems that ghosts and ghouls have been at work. Check out our roundup of this week’s most haunting stories.

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  • Something truly scary? The amount Americans spend on Halloween. We shell out $6.9 billion annually on costumes, candy, and decorations (and, of course, Ghost Busters).
  • Ooops! Airbnb made a spoooooky misstep with ads that seemingly went after schoolteachers and librarians, two of society’s most beloved professions. Their next target: little old ladies.
  • Though you might assume some Republican presidential candidates would be haunted by their lack of experience, political newcomers continue to dominate on social media. Ted Cruz might have received the most mentions, but Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina gained the most followers.
  • Some investors are afraid that Twitter is walking dead after their quarterly earnings report. With flat-lining user growth and plunging ad prices, it might take a sorceress to reawaken excitement about the social network.
  • And now to celebrate the actual biggest holiday this week, Uber delivered more than just rides and meals on Thursday, as users could order snuggles through UberKITTENS for National Cat Day.

These were our most chilling stories from this week, tweet us yours @BlancandOtus!

Wait! What? 9/11: It’s Christmas for Techies and Fashionistas, Love and PR are One and the Same

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Happy Friday everyone! Though there was only one national holiday this week, the Apple event is well on its way to becoming a bank holiday itself! From channeling your inner child to channeling your inner serial dater, here’s a round up of some of the top industry stories from this week:

  • This week was all about the big Apple reveal! The Tech Elite flocked to Bill Graham Auditorium this Wednesday as the world was introduced to the new iPhone, Apple TV and…Apple Pencil? The Next Web’s roundup of the event can help you keep track of all the updates and innovations.
  • Another exclusive event for a different kind of elite crowd kicked off this week: New York Fashion Week. Once reserved for the rich and famous, technology has worked its way into the tents at Bryant Park, offering us plebs a piece of the action through live-streaming.
  • You may not be a kid anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t treat September like a new beginning. Fast Company gives advice on how to recapture that “back to school” feeling and refresh your career.
  • Is finding love really about selling yourself? Comedian Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance looks at dating in the digital age, but it actually gives some pretty sound marketing advice as well! Whoever said that PR wasn’t romantic?
  • In more somber news, today marks the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. WIRED takes a look at how the creators of the 9/11 museum took on the gargantuan task of creating a monument that would honor the memory of those who lost their lives and educate visitors about the tragic event.

That’s all folks! Tweet us your favorite stories of the week @BlancAndOtus.