Sunnier Side of the Office – March 4th, 2019

"I'm lucky. I always wanted to be an actor. But I never felt the need to be in with the crowd. I didn't mind being on the outside. I was always looking forward or upwards, not in."

- Luke Perry, who played Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210, passed away this morning at the age of 52. 
#MomoChallenge Collectively Scares the Internet
By: Jessica Gaylord

It seemingly all started last week with a now-deleted tweet from Twitter user Wanda Maximoff about the dangers of the “Momo challenge.” It described a frightening bird-like woman with bulging eyes who encourages children to kill themselves or commit violent acts through the messaging service WhatsApp, or appears in the middle of YouTube videos aimed at children, like Peppa Pig.
Mass panic ensued online, reaching a staggering global scale. News outlets, presumably eager for clicks, couldn’t stop talking about the Momo Challenge. Even Kim Kardashian West urged her millions of followers to be mindful of their children’s activity online and tagged YouTube to look into the situation.

But as people began to dig deeper, it became apparent that the Momo Challenge was a viral hoax. YouTube confirmed this with a tweet saying it had seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the challenge. No credible threats or confirmed videos were ever surfaced in news reports. The image of the Momo was actually of a sculpture created by artist Keisuke Aisawa from a Japanese special-effects company, Link Factory.
While the Momo may not be real, the fear and hysteria it caused very much were. What’s at the root of this is the sense of unease, and perhaps guilt, many parents feel about the extent of their children’s Internet usage. In the end, there are very real threats that exist on social media that affect us in real life—but rest assured the Momo isn’t one of them.

Gen Z Choosing to Go Dry Over Drinking
By: Ben Thomas 

For a lot of Millennials, the early-2000s were the perfect storm for a questionable social media presence – being old enough to go to bars, peak Facebook popularity and the ubiquity of digital cameras. It was a time when social media was still new, and oversharing was rife.

But today’s 20-something Gen Z consumers seem to have learned from past generations’ social media use. As the first true digital and social media natives, they are more vigilant about maintaining control over their online image, which has led to an alcohol-free movement in Gen Z consumers.

For them, their online persona is more than an extension of who they are in real life, it’s the personal brand they want to portray to the world. And because of this, they’re more careful about the things they do in real life – like having a boozy night out - because they know evidence will be posted, shared and tagged online, damaging the brand they so carefully curate.

While the alcohol-free movement is most evident in younger generations, it’s showing up more broadly. Celebrity advocates, from Kate Moss to Florence Welch, are making the sober life more acceptable, and the alcohol industry is adapting to cater to the niche but growing group of alcohol abstainers, from sober Daybreaker parties to alcohol-free bars and non-alcoholic liquor.

Hey Google, What are People using Smart Speakers for?
By: Sergio Saucedo
Smart speakers like Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple’s Homepod continue to grow in popularity. In fact, in 2018 alone over 86 million smart speakers were sold. With that many placed in homes around the globe, it brings up an interesting question about what these devices are being used for.
A recent study by Adobe examined smart speaker user habits and found that the majority of users are using the devices primarily for elementary tasks such as listening to music (71%), checking the weather (61%), and asking fun questions (58%).
However, advancements in tech and developer capabilities have provided the ability for smart speakers to do so much more. For instance, the devices have the capability to order food, manage your finances, and make purchases. Yet, the full capabilities of these devices are still pretty foreign to users.
With voice technology still in its infancy and low adoption on advanced capabilities, it would be great to see Google and Amazon invest more in furthering education on their devices so that users can get the most out of their smart speakers. These initiatives would not only increase the usage rates on the devices, but it would simultaneously scale the voice ecosystem to a level that would finally enable advertising to thrive on smart speakers.

Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb was the first woman to pass qualifying exams for astronaut training in 1959. Despite her outstanding scores, she wasn’t allowed to go to space because of her gender. #WomensHistoryMonth 
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