The Social Minute: May 15 - May 23

May 24, 2018 Diana Pasgas

Court rules that public figures blocking critics is unconstitutional 

• A lawsuit by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute argued that public figures (like US President Donald Trump) blocking users who criticize them on Twitter is a violation of their First Amendment rights.

• The court ruled this week that Twitter is an interactive space and a public forum...and that blocking users who don’t agree with them is, in fact, unconstitutional.

Hit or Miss: So, there’s a lot to unpack here. It’s important to note that despite ruling that blocking users silents their freedom of speech, the court did not enter an order asking Trump and other public figures to clean out their blocked list. But this is still an important win in the social space, as it is one of the first cases that handle how the First Amendment goes into effect in the digital age. As public figures begin to use social as a platform to share their opinions, it’s important that we don’t let their voices drown out the voices of everyone else.

Airbnb launches Travel Stories feature

• In continued adventures of everyone ripping off of Snapchat, Airbnb is launching a stories feature that will allow travellers to share clips from their vacations

• The stories will allow you to tag locations and add captions about what you found interesting in the area, providing future travellers with tips and insight

Hit or Miss: While we don’t think that every single platform needs a stories feature, there does seem to be a place for it on Airbnb. The feature (only available on mobile and currently only for iOS) can help to give future travellers an idea of the neighbourhood the Airbnb is located in or to show what adventures actually await them in their destination. The implementation of the feature also pushes Airbnb to be more of a social space, rather than just a listing of places to stay. And any push towards more social is a push we’re all for.

Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why launches interactive social experience

• The controversial Netflix series has returned and with it has come some interesting marketing tactics. Producers created Instagram accounts for each fictional characters that offered clues, spoilers, and tidbits of their personalities, but they’ve ramped it up even further with Talk to the Reasons.

• The mobile-only website,, takes you to a faux iPhone screen that takes you right into the show. Through a series of notifications from iMessage and Instagram, you can text, chat, and even FaceTime with characters.

Hit or Miss: This one is tricky. On one hand, this augmented reality is honestly pretty cool. Using your microphone, you can talk to the characters during FaceTime and help to determine their next actions, like a Choose Your Own Adventure game. It’s immersive and interactive, which are qualities of a great marketing campaign. But something about it feels weird. Maybe it’s the intense subject matter of the show or maybe we’re clouded by the controversy that already surrounds the show, but there’s something a little icky about talking to a character about a court case surrounding the death of a teen, even if it’s all fictional. 

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