Huawei launches an interactive "finger race" campaign on Snapchat
An interesting approach by Chinese company telecoms giant, Huawei.

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To promote their new Talkband B2 connected gear in France, Huawei launched a campaign called #SnapchatRun. It's an "interactive finger race" where users get a first person perspective through photographs. Players are led to 'run' through the streets of Paris using their two fingers as legs. Each tap on a photo reveals the next snap and then the next, creating an illusion that you're running on screen. The "fastest" runners to tweet a code at the end of their journey stand to win the Talkband B2 device.

Cool? We think so too.

Shia Labeouf wants you to watch him in the name of art
Mr "Shia Labeouf" Transformers is the latest celeb to jump on the live-streaming wagon. He basically sits in a spot in New York City watching all the movies he's ever starred in back-to-back for three days (indulgent, yes) with a camera capturing every iota of his unshaven face while it beams live across the globe. In other words, it's you watching Shia watching himself on screen.

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The #AllMyMovies "art" project wrapped up just about a day ago. Shia says he's loving himself much more now. Some of us are cringing, the rest of us are still trying to figure out what sort of performance it was supposed to be. It is art perhaps, so maybe we're not supposed to understand it.

Whether or not its about (as some articles say), our desire for intimacy by portraying Shia in a vulnerable light, "humanising" him so to speak, this bizarre trend isn't the first of its kind around. You remember this Korean kid don't you?

So clearly, this is a thing.

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Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year is an emoji
So begins the demise of the English language as we know it. Let us not speak to each other in words and sentences and phrases and metaphors because just one yellow, little, round face is enough to capture all the information and emotion we can ever muster. Oxford Dictionary says so. The word of the year for 2015 is not "sharknado", "robo-sapiens" or "Vladimir Putin". It is a pictograph yellow face laughing tears of joy. No kidding!

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Mobile messaging apps used by 1.4 billion worldwide
eMarketer has released its first ever worldwide forecast for mobile messaging apps and the headline is: big growth. More than 1.4 billion consumers will use mobile messaging apps this year according to the report – that’s a massive 31.6% increase on last year. eMarketer’s money is on the trend continuing; it predicts that by 2018, the number of chat app users worldwide will reach 2 billion – that’s 80% of smartphone users.

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Within the crowded messaging app marketplace, the report identifies WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (both owned by Facebook) as the “global powerhouse” apps with significant reach in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Facebook introduces Notify
Facebook is not known for its value in providing real time news – here, Twitter arguably has the edge. Of course, we know that nothing less than complete global online domination is good enough for Zuckerberg et al, so Facebook has now introduced Notify, a stand-alone app for iPhones and iPads which will alert users with information from media companies like CNN, The Weather Channel and Fox Sports, served up onto their lock screen. Users can select from categories like news, sports, business, entertainment, politics, culture and “fun”, depending on what kind of news floats their boat.

Facebook’s first virtual reality ads revealed
Last week saw Facebook spread its VR wings with its first virtual reality-style video ads. This follows on from the roll out of its video creation tool in September, where brands could post 360-degree clips organically to their pages. In order to attract more brands to use the 360 vids (and therefore, make more $$$), Facebook has created a dedicated site to help get the low-down on creating 360-degree videos. You can see all of the ads from the brands who used the new format here, including Mondelez’s Ritz with a cracking (sorry) 360-degree holiday party and a tour of the “the most magical place on Earth” – Walt Disney World.

Photo Magic prompts Facebook Messenger users to share pictures
Some photos should never be shared. Some should be, but never are – they sit forgotten on your phone, using up storage space until you drop it into a pint glass/out of your pocket/down the toilet and they are lost forever. Facebook is tackling this #firstworldproblem with Photo Magic, a new feature in its Messenger app which scans newly taken photos with facial recognition, and notifies you with an option to send pictures to friends that are in them. Currently being tested in Australia, Photo Magic will be rolled out to other countries pending positive feedback.

Facebook tests disappearing messages
Not content with taking on one social giant this week (see Twitter/Notify above),Facebook is moving in on Snapchat’s space too, with self-destructing messages. Currently available on Facebook Messenger for some Android and iOS users in France, people are able to send messages that vanish in an hour. In a press statement, Facebook said:

“Disappearing messages gives people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger. We look forward to hearing people’s feedback as they give it a try.”

Fans can now subscribe to celebrity Live feeds on Facebook
Launched in August, Live is a product by Facebook which allows celebrities to live stream all their exciting news and events. Now fans will be able to subscribe to be notified when their favourite is next washing their hair/eating fried chicken – yay!

Twitter sees 6% pick up in “Like” activity after first week of hearts
After changing the Twitter Favourite star to a Like heart, Twitter’s SVP of Product, Kevin Weil has announced a significant increase in engagement with the button. As for the reasoning behind this, Weil said that they believe the heart is a universal symbol, much more inclusive and ultimately easier for users to understand.

Twitter boasts about new GIFs you can fast-forward and rewind
Twitter has revealed GIFs which you can rewind and fast-forward. If only this had been around during Lenny Kravitz #PenisGate, hours of fun! Try it for yourself with this surfer dude who is unfortunately a bit savvier about his snake.

YouTube announces two new VR features for its Android app
The first of two virtual reality announcements for YouTube is that the Android phone app will now support virtual reality video which users will be able to see using a cardboard viewer. Users can upload VR content themselves but at the moment there are only around 12 videos to be viewed. The second announcement is that viewers will also be able to watch current YouTube content with a more ‘limited virtual reality experience’, with videos looking like what a viewer would see on an IMAX Screen (if the viewer was a 100ft giant).

Tumblr gets instant messaging
Tumblr has granted its users the most requested feature to date – instant messaging. Before this, the only way they could communicate was reblogging with comments or by using Fan Mail, a feature which everyone hated. They’ve opted for a viral launch with only 1,500 people getting access for now but if they message you, you’ll then have it. It should be fully rolled out by the end of December.

Snapchat’s new ad format requires a swipe from users to view more
Snapchat’s new ad format means that users can opt in to see more from an advertiser while they’re viewing branded content. The first use of this style of ad was by Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 which ran from the Daily Mail’s channel in the Discover section of the app. Usually ads in the Discover section will autoplay, whereas this needs action from the user to trigger it.

Snapchat’s rainbow vomit is back
Snapchat’s lense store has been updated but don’t try and get your next glasses prescription there dummy! It’s a product which lets you add different elements to your selfies, one of the most popular ones being rainbow vom. They are also an opportunity for advertisers, as brands are able to sponsor them.

As you can see, not everyone’s thrilled about having to pay the 99¢ for the rainbow regurgitation. I also get frustrated having to pay for goods I receive but I can’t talk any more about that for now until the court case is complete.

Pinterest introduces visual search tool
Going on Pinterest sometimes brings me out in hives, SO MANY THINGS, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE. Also, sometimes I see things and I don’t know what they’re called. Currently I’m trying to track down a wirey, thingamabob that goes on a surface which also contains a bulb. Anyone? Pinterest now introduced a search tool which means users can highlight something within a pin and then you get taken to that exact product. Long story short, I dreamt this into life.

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Hyatt offers customer services via Facebook Messenger
I often think before complaining publicly via Twitter, ‘Do I want to be THAT person’ for my followers to see (Hi mum! Hi @LDNHotBoyEscorts!)? I usually decide that getting that extra £1.50 back is worth throwing away dignity for, but some people prefer to make their complaints privately. So well done to Hyatt who have made that possible via Facebook Messenger. As most Facebook users have basically been forced to download the messenger app anyway, it makes for a perfect medium for communication, which Hyatt do using the Businesses on Messenger feature.

Taco bell are verrrrrry excited for the taco emoji launch
As part of a social campaign surrounding the imminent launch of the taco emoji, Taco Bell has created 600 pieces of original content to tweet back at people. What will happen is: when users tweet Taco Bell with the taco emoji + another emoji, they will be treated with a gif or an image of those two images mashed together. I wonder what will come back from [taco] + 🍆? A baby? Or maybe just some tears and STOLEN DREAMS. Oh no, I’ve over-shared again.

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We Are Social tracks ‘heat’ for National Geographic
National Geographic and GE have partnered with Breakthrough, which is a six-part series exploring scientific discoveries, each directed by a different Hollywood A-lister.We Are Social has supported this with a BreakthroughHeat Map, that tracks conversation surrounding the series and allows user to view what, when and where it’s happening all over the world. Benjamin Arnold, business director at We Are Social said:

Data visualisation mapping is a really exciting and compelling way to capture a hugely talked about subject. It also represents a breakthrough in itself in terms of the actual consumer uptake and usage of technology, as well as in our ability to monitor and decipher conversations as they happen and as they are impacted by content consumption.

Moxy Hotels launch new YouTube series targeting Gen Y
Moxy Hotels is a new brand launched by Marriott focused on 3-star accommodation andthey’ve now launched Do Not Disturb, a YouTube video series featuring creator Taryn Southern. The series involves Southern interviewing other influencers in a sample Moxy guestroom. The influencers range from fans of whips to those who just want a cuddle, with content having a refreshing lack of Marriott presence. The first episode has launched featuring Flula Borg.

Barber champions the ‘Great Outdoors’ in social campaign
British brand Barber has launched a global Twitter and Instagram campaign to encourage fans to explore the countryside around them. It stars 2014 British Adventurer of the Year, Sean Conway, who has completed a triathlon taking in the entire length of Britain three times over, and also has a fantastic beard. In the campaign’s launch film, Conway and his beard visit the Lake District in an attempt to capture the perfect picture. Barber fans can get involved and win products by sharing their outdoorsy pictures on Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #HeritageOfAdventure.

Reddit AMA backfires for REI
Outdoor retailer REI generated plenty of positive PR recently when it announced that it would be closing its stores on Black Friday, and paying its 12,000 employees for the day. But when its CEO Jerry Stritzke decided to run a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session last week for consumers to ask questions about the move, it became apparent that not all was rosy in the REI family. While many were complimentary about the company, concerns were also raised about paying employees a “living wage,” and the most popular comment of the night came from former employee who complained about how aggressively REI pushes its membership sales. The event highlighted that Reddit can still be a challenging forum for brands looking for publicity.