Socializing in the Age of Corona[virus]

Digital dance raves. Streaming soundbaths. Book readings by phone. Now we’ve gotta get creative.

Where once technology was thought to be the death knell of human social interaction, it is now bringing us together under quarantine. The housebound are nimbly pivoting to virtual social gatherings.

They’re holding birthday parties and bar mitzvahs over video chat, broadcasting D.J. sets and streaming concerts (some from the luxurious confines of celebrity homes), and establishing quarantine movie nights on Twitter for “virtual companionship.”

A lot of communal events are taking place on Zoom, a videoconferencing app now being used by many classrooms and businesses (thus transforming it into one of the few companies doing well on the stock market). But it’s not just Zoom.

There are, for example, a small but highly vocal number of people gathering in the digital plazas, pet stores and pizza shops of Club Penguin Online. There are happy hours being held on Google Hangout, and poker games taking place over FaceTime. There are flute meditation sessions on Instagram and thousands of people participating in dance raves that are broadcast on Twitch.

It’s a lot for the internet. On Monday, Discord, the chat app popular with gamers, announced that it would increase its capacity by 20 percent to keep up with demand; it crashed shortly thereafter.

Jeff Baena, a film director, loves organizing social activities; it was at one of his game nights, in fact, that he met his girlfriend, the actress Aubrey Plaza. The couple have been in self-quarantine since March 11, and were feeling extremely antsy.

“Our house is one of those hubs where people are always over and hanging out,” Mr. Baena, 42, said by phone this week. “It’s strange to not be able to do that. I was kind of jonesing.”

So he got people together virtually. At 9 p.m. on March 14, a dozen friends — including the actress Alia Shawkat, who said she left the set of a television series she was working on early, before it had been officially shut down because of the new coronavirus — joined a group chat for a few hours of Quiplash and other games by Jackbox, an internet game company.

In order for remote players to see the game screen, Mr. Baena joined FaceTime from two devices, with one camera aimed at his TV.

Of course, the pandemic loomed large over the course of the night. At one point, someone coughed and a chorus of concerned voices wondered who it was.

“It was me!” said Almitra Corey, 40, who is currently working as the production designer for the final season of the Netflix show “GLOW.” (Filming was paused, as for all other Netflix shows, last Friday.)

“I just smoked weed,” she said. “Relax.”

A Remote Rave for 5,000 Guests

In New York this past Sunday, the city’s hottest nightclub was a virtual day rave. Nine hours of electronic music were streamed from an empty warehouse in Brooklyn to nearly 5,000 guests from around the world, including some in Berlin and Seattle, all of whom were watching on Twitch.

The event, which showcased nine electronic musicians, was put together by Christine McCharen-Tran, a founder of Discwoman, a talent agency in Brooklyn and collective of femme and nonbinary D.J.’s and music producers.

“I texted all the D.J.’s that I know that need support right now,” Ms. McCharen-Tran, 31, said. After gatherings of more than 500 were banned in New York on March 13, she said, “I was seeing so many artists being affected directly.”

So last Friday, she reached out to a lighting designer friend named Michael Potvin, who provided a physical space and a domain name (harrisonplace.nyc). Ms. McCharen-Tran got to work building out the site and booking artists.

By the afternoon, harrisonplace.nyc was live and vibing.

“For all of the talk about tech distancing us, it felt very intimate and joyful,” said Jess Ramsey, 35, in a phone interview. Ms. Ramsey, who works on hardware and gaming partnerships at Spotify, projected the rave onto her living room ceiling.

“We’re the most stressed we’ve probably ever been, and there’s no place to go, but you can dance in your living room,” she said. “It was the first time we had danced in a week, and it felt really special.”

Strict safety and hygiene protocols were in place even in the empty warehouse. All D.J.’s wore latex gloves and had access to disinfectant wipes and soap. The suggested size of gatherings has shrunk daily and rapidly, from 500 people to 50, and most recently to 10. At the time, Ms. McCharen-Tran’s 10-person maximum was out of an abundance of caution; now it would be pushing the limit.

Many other bands are performing in empty concert halls for the digital masses. The metal band Code Orange performed a record-release concert with an elaborate multimedia production to an empty room, for example, streaming to more than 12,000 fans.

In order to help fans support the artists in real time, Ms. McCharen-Tran and other producers of these events display the Venmo user names of artists at the bottom of the screen during their sets.

A Google Hangout Happy Hour

Lauren Ashley Smith, a TV writer from St. Louis who lives in Los Angeles, turned to Google Hangout this past Saturday to host a digital happy hour with a few close friends. That turned into 57 close friends, and then, over 60 once her sisters invited friends of their own.

“I know it seems like I invited a lot of people,” Ms. Smith, 34, said, “but I did carefully curate the people that were invited.”

To fit the criteria, a guest had to be someone Ms. Smith felt “wouldn’t take it too seriously” and who was “more extroverted — or would be willing to talk to a bunch of strangers they didn’t know.”

She knew everybody was just home alone, bored or scared. So, she said, “I made a run of show.”

The activities include a game Ms. Smith invented (“in 30 seconds,” she said) called “Who’s That Girl?” She would hold up photos of celebrities (saved on her phone) to the laptop’s camera, and players earned points by being the first person to correctly type the subject’s first and last name in the chat section of the Hangout window.

The celebrities were “obscure, to some,” Ms. Smith said. (They included Lala Kent from “Vanderpump Rules,” the singer Keke Wyatt, Christine Brown from “Sister Wives” and Esther the Wonder Pig, whom Ms. Smith described as “a pig influencer on Instagram.”)

The winner received a prize of $50 on the cash-sharing app Venmo. It was ultimately donated to the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, which provides services to currently and formerly homeless women.

After the hangout, Ms. Smith said she received “a lot of heartfelt messages” from participants thanking her for including them. She “absolutely” intends to do it again.

“It’s really easy,” she said. “Social distancing is for the greater good of everyone. And you can still make it really fun.”

Before the event, it struck her that she and her wife had yet to host a party at their new home. “But now I feel like we have.”
Conspiracy Theories on Club Penguin

There once was an online Disney media platform called Club Penguin, which was a kid-friendly social media hub where users could interact as animated penguins in a virtual world. It was formally discontinued in 2017.

But the internet being the internet, there are still multiple simulacra of Club Penguin around: unlicensed duplications hosted on independent servers, filled with the same population of late-born millennials and first wave Gen Z-ers that flocked to the Disney version by the hundreds of millions.

Last Friday, masses of users assembled in a popular fake iteration of the original pretend world — this one called Club Penguin Online — to share their anxieties, wishes and predictions for the uncertain future, and to ask everyone where they were from. Also, to keep frantically serving one another digital pizza.

There existed eerie similarities between the cartoon penguin world and humanity’s own, under quarantine. The sports stadium was devoid of chatting penguins. The skate park was nearly empty; ditto the dance club.

In other corners of the penguin universe, users delighted in that activity increasingly outlawed by public health officials: congregating in large groups.

Although conversations can be hard to follow on Club Penguin Online — a user’s typed message appears briefly above his or her representative penguin’s head wherever on the screen that penguin happens to be standing (or dancing), before disappearing forever — the pizza shop became, around midday, a kind of political salon.

One penguin asked another penguin that purported to be from Italy if, in real life, the grocery stores were out of pasta. Other flightless birds lamented the quality of their officials’ responses to the crisis.

A penguin in a chef’s hat approached and said, “They aren’t telling anyone anything,” before walking away to take another penguin’s pizza order.

Outside, in the plaza, a navy blue penguin was spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories. This penguin had presented itself as an expert on the novel coronavirus, imploring fellow penguins to pose to it any medical questions.

One penguin wondered how likely it was to become infected; the blue penguin replied confidently: “if ur under 60years old odds are 0,2.”

“Do you think someone created coronavirus?” a coral pink penguin said.

This was the opening the blue penguin had been waiting for. “YES,” it said. “Have u heard of 5g”? It went on to describe (in halting increments, because messages typed in Club Penguin Online have a limit of 64 characters) an online conspiracy theory that attributes virus symptoms to radiation caused by wireless internet.

The penguins in the plaza did not seem convinced.
Relaxing Gatherings

Online social gatherings are also taking meditative forms. Justine Stephens, 27, guided a live flute meditation on her Instagram account last weekend to help about 40 friends and viewers deal with stress and anxiety during the pandemic.

“Needed this and didn’t know it. Super anxious about the start of the week,” read one comment during the livestream. “Thank you for curing my Sunday scaries,” someone else added.

This past Sunday, Mikael Acatl, an energy worker and shaman who uses the pronoun “they,” held a healing session from their Brooklyn apartment, surrounded by plants, burning copal and bathed in golden-hour light.

And Josh Peck, 39, and Eliza Philpott, 31, who operate a retreat space in the Hudson Valley in New York, livestreamed a sound bath for about a hundred digital participants. They used two high-end microphones to funnel dual sources of audio to listeners simultaneously, which created the sensation of being in a three-dimensional space.

Other soothing practices included a reading by the writer Ashley C. Ford, of poems by Pablo Neruda. More than 100 people tuned in to the half-hour broadcast on YouTube.

There was also free “mom” advice dispensed by Mary Laura Philpott, an author in Nashville, who tweeted that she had “Big Mom Energy to spare. (Seriously, my teenagers are over it.)”

“I was like, Who needs the mom to tell you to drink your water, to wash your hands, that it’s going to be OK, to get off the internet?” Ms. Philpott said by phone. (She was surprised that the answer was: lots and lots of people.)

Gamers are getting into it, too. On Twitch, Nick Polom, a streamer with some 400,000 subscribers, took a break from streaming rounds of Apex Legends starting on March 11, to share more timely “Just Chatting” broadcasts.

Each is hours long, with names like “Doomsday cooking stream” (in which he livestreamed his stir fry, grocery rundown, and jokes about frozen chicken tenders) and “Girlfriend and Boyfriend stuck in quarantine!” (in which he livestreamed himself playing virtual reality games with his partner, for a remote audience of thousands).

As the novelist Sarah Schulman put it after a reading of hers was canceled in New York (and she offered her own individual readings by phone): “If all the institutional theaters are closed and all the competitive curated spaces are closed, we’re back to just entertaining each other.”

Online Twelve Step Meetings

Alcoholics and drug addicts in recovery frequently warn each other that isolation is a route to relapse; going to in-person Twelve Step meetings, sharing personal stories and talking with other addicts and alcoholics is a means of connection for many in recovery.

While long-distance Twelve Step recovery has existed since at least World War II, and moved to email and online chat and video with the rise of the internet, much of Twelve Step recovery still relies on in-person meeting.

With the health guidance for people to not congregate in large groups, those who rely on Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery groups have organized quickly. Many meeting chairs across the country are creating regular meetings on Zoom.

“Many of us have been saying in these online meetings that if we were still drinking and using drugs this would be the perfect environment to self-destruct — fear of the unknown, lack of support, isolation, financial insecurity,” said Nanea, who asked to be identified by only her first name in accordance with recovery guidelines.

She created her own version called the Online Recovery Group. In addition, the central offices of regional Twelve Step groups have jumped in to show what meetings are canceled and which are replaced by chat, video or email.

“We need to have a way to share our experience, strength and hope to new people struggling with addiction and alcoholism,” Nanea said. “I know a lot of people, not just people in recovery, are afraid and feeling isolated right now. I feel very fortunate to have an active community that knows how to support each other.”

On Sunday morning, the Redemption Church in Costa Mesa, Calif., set up its first livestream, in part to broadcast two infants’ dedication ceremonies.

Kristin Castillo, 30, a brand and marketing consultant, and her husband, Nate, 30, had originally planned to gather their family, friends and loving congregation (about 200 members strong) to witness and participate in the religious service, which would officially welcome their newborn son into the church. Afterward, there was to be a celebratory lunch.

“Obviously,” Ms. Castillo said, “that didn’t happen.”

Instead, Kristin and Nate’s in-person guest list was trimmed to one of each of their parents. When the ceremony reached the point where their infant’s “spiritual aunts and uncles” were meant to affirm their support, the family and friends that were asked to accept this duty participated remotely.

“They were texting us in real time: ‘Yes! Yes!’” Ms. Castillo said.

While she found the experience of being on camera “nerve-racking,” she described their baby, nearly 8 months old, as “surprisingly cooperative.”

“Watching a crazy little guy having a good time, hopefully that lifted someone’s spirits,” she said. “And, ironically, by stripping all of the social trappings away, it helped us focus more on the intent of the actual ceremony.

Why it’s hot: The internet has meant a lot of things to many people, it first brought many together far and wide, and then got a bum rap for making us feel like we’re closer to others when we’re actually just voyeurs into other people’s lives. But now, in the time of COVID-19, the internet and social media are enabling a more positive mandatory social distancing experience. From conference calls for work to concerts and raves, games nights and virtual happy hours, to religious celebrations, people are leveraging creative ways to use the internet in a time that could lead to excessive isolation and depression – way to go internet age!

Source: NYTimes

Relive The Drama of AIM In “Emily Is Away Too”

In 2015, game designer Kyle Seeley released the freeware title Emily is Away, a romantic epic divided into five virtual acts told through the nostalgia of an AOL Instant Messenger chat with the titular Emily. Emily is Away Too takes place in 2006, the protagonist’s senior year of college.

The game not only captures the social and dating experiences of its creator from that time, but also a year of transformation and expansion for digital culture.

This game is all about how we first portrayed ourselves online – the AIM platform was such a pivotal part of self expression growing up. Opening up and reliving those past relationships and conversations developed through outdated technology helps evaluate who we are and who we choose to be in the future.

 

WHY ITS HOT:

Millennials are more nostalgic towards old tech because we’re the first generation to uniquely experience these complete shifts in communication at the same time together. Past generations shared the passive, much more gradual rise of film or television. Meanwhile, the internet, its interactivity and social applications, fundamentally changed how we created memories with childhood friends.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/relive-the-torrid-human-dramas-of-old-aim-chats-in-emily-is-away-too

 

Google’s Balloon Powered Internet Becoming a Reality

Many of us think of the Internet as a global community. But two-thirds of the world’s population does not yet have Internet access. Google’s Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.

How will it work? Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. In the stratosphere, there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed. Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel. By partnering with Telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum Google’s enabled people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on Earth.

Why It’s Hot

Google is reportedly in the final stages of making this service available in several countries, including India and China, which could give many of its people assess to the internet for the very first time. This is a big step in making the world a more connected place and it could deliver greater educational, social and economic opportunities for billions of people who don’t yet have access to the internet.

Watch more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-17/google-s-project-loon-providing-web-access-with-balloons

Keep up-to-date on Project Loon’s progress: https://plus.google.com/+ProjectLoon/videos

Source

Marriott to test streaming Netflix and Hulu

Check into most hotel rooms today and your TV viewing choices consist of local channels and standard cable fare such as the Weather Channel, Discovery, USA, etc.  But none of the streaming networks that you can’t get with ordinary cable are available  So no Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.

That’s about to change.  In a nod to the future and the rapid growth of streaming Internet content (video and music), Marriott Hotels is offering Netflix, Hulu and Pandora to their guests via their in-room high-def TVs as part of a test. As Bloomberg reported, Marriott spokesperson John Wolf said “We have invited leading technology companies and content providers to work with us to design the next wave in in-room entertainment focusing on on-demand programming. We are currently offering guests in eight test hotels the opportunity to stream their content through our high-definition TVs whether it is Netflix, Hulu or Pandora.”

Marriott is currently considering payment options — possibly as part of a premium Internet package or as a separate charge to stream each network — one for Netflix, one for Hulu, etc. For now, Marriott is allowing guests in test locations to log in through their own subscription accounts for streaming content, as noted by this Twitter post.

Wow. I’m impressed. The Marriott TV system they have here allows you to log into Netflix, Hulu, etc for free with your own account.

— Brophey Wolf (@brophey)                                                                 January 16, 2015
Why It’s Hot
With the popularity of streaming content providers, it’s no surprise that hotels are trying to monetize it.  What better way to relax from a business trip than binge watching your favorite series or relaxing the kids after a day at Disney than their favorite shows on Hulu? It also a win for Netflix and others, who can open up new revenue opportunities by streaming their content not to a single household at a time, but a hotel’s worth of a hundred guest rooms.  Look for this idea to rapidly take off.

Space-Based Internet Service

SpaceX recently announced plans to provide broadband Internet service through a global network of about 4,000 micro-satellites starting within five years. The private spaceflight company also revealed that it has raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity to help make those plans a reality. Elon Musk’s vision is simple, “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”

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Why It’s Hot:

As telecom companies try to hang on for control of the pipes more and more tech companies see opportunity in challenging the networks that currently exist. These new challengers no longer see their business within country borders but entire continents that are in need of internet access with no answers in site. The next few years will be interesting to see how we will access the information that we are becoming more and more dependent on in our daily lives.

Google May Plan Entry into Wireless Internet Market

As new reports suggest, Google is planning a new service offering to sell wireless service directly to customers as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). To do so, Google would acquire excess network capacity from Sprint and T-Mobile and reselling it to customers under its own brand. As TechCrunch points out, “This is the same approach used by Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Pure Talk, Republic Wireless and many others in the U.S., but Google’s arrangement apparently required special consideration, according to The Wall Street Journal, given the potential threat network providers perceived in giving the search giant and Android maker too much control.”

Google

The reports also suggest that carriers may not be feeling the fire from Google, because terms of the agreement may be renegotiated once Google hits a certain threshold of subscribers. The specific terms are not known to the public.

So why MVNO, why now? After all, Google has made headlines for rolling out fiber optic networks and experimenting with other means of free WiFi access to communities? The answer is two-fold. First, leveraging existing networks is a way to expand service quickly and more reliably than in-house plans might allow. And plus, the MVNO model is pretty popular right now.

Why It’s Hot

Google continues to demonstrate making investments that can reliably and easily expand access to their products and services. Though it seems like an exploratory practice for now, they are making infrastructure changes and strategic partnerships that will allow the expansion and development of their own platforms… understanding their products are useless if folks aren’t getting to them. The relentless pursuit of customers and the unorthodox ways of reaching them is why Google is always a standout innovator, and it’s why everyone should be watching the moves they make–no matter how innocuous they might seem.

Source: TechCrunch

Richard Branson launches latest broadband-for-the-masses satellite project

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Virgin boss Richard Branson said his company is joining forces with Qualcomm to put thousands of Internet satellites into orbit, offering Web access to remote locations that don’t currently have it.

If that sounds familiar, that’s because Facebook (together with a group of big-name tech firms), and Google (Project Loon) are also working toward similar goals.

To make the project happen, the two companies will be investing heavily in satellite Internet firm OneWeb Ltd. – possibly familiar to some by its former name of WorldVu Satellites.

“We plan to put an initial array of 648 satellites up, and if that’s successful, we want to go to 2,400 satellites,” Branson told CNBC on Thursday. “The idea is to reach the billions of people who don’t have Internet access and to do so with good quality reception and good prices.”

Why It’s Hot

This is yet another step in the right direction of connecting the world.  According to this article, less than 50% of the world’s population actually HAS access to the internet.  With connection comes opportunity, and the potential to learn more about people all over the globe.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/virgin-and-qualcomm-launch-latest-broadband-for-the-masses-satellite-project/#ixzz3Ozh1RfUB
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

 

 

Mesh Networks On The Rise

A number of new smartphone applications (Firechat, MeshMe) are allowing people to send text messages to other users without a Wi-Fi or cellular network. It could make it a lot simpler to stay in touch wherever there are plenty of other people but the normal networks are either overloaded or nonexistent.Say for example, at a music festival, political demonstration, or an underground subway. The applications run on “Mesh Networks” which  have no central connection point to speak of. Instead, each point on the network acts as a “node” in a kind of webbed mesh, able to efficiently route traffic on to any other node within range. The devices can still chat to each other even if the net connection is severed. Should even a single node be internet-connected, traffic can be shared with all other nodes to give internet access to all on the mesh.

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Why Its Hot:

Mesh networking is increasingly used to help people keep in touch even when out of network range. An app called FireChat has a “nearby” chat room that allows you to send messages to anyone within 30 meters of you. This has major implications for people in countries that still lack reliable wireless network service or live in a country that heavily regulates the use of the internet for its people.

Meme Marketing Done Right

Alex, now better known as #AlexFromTarget, was just a normal guy who worked at Target until this Sunday when he became the Internet’s newest favorite meme. Twitter user @auscalem(now private) shared a photo of the young male cashier at Target with the caption “YOOOOOOOOOO” and suddenly, Twitter users everywhere starting sharing the photo and talking about “Alex from Target,” many of them using the photo to create memes.

Perhaps the best thing about Alex’s overnight fame is how Target responded to the situation. Target’s Twitter account wrote, “We heart Alex, too! #alexfromtarget” alongside an image of Alex’s nametag. Simple, yet effective — a tweet from Target’s account the previous day announcing a sale received 103 retweets and 134 favorites, but their supportive #AlexFromTarget tweet hit 28,000 retweets and 43,000 favorites. And that’s the power of memes.

So let’s talk about memes. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”  Since memes are already viral by definition, it can be tempting to use them to your advantage in your marketing strategy. This is often referred to as “memejacking” and if it’s done right, it can really push your social marketing over the edge. But memes can be tricky, and if you mess up, it can be pretty embarrassing.

Here are three important steps to memejack the correct way:

  1. Understand the meme first.If you’re unsure of the correct way to use a meme, don’t just try it anyway. Go to KnowYourMeme.com, search for the particular meme you’re interested in, and read up on it before you even get started. If you use a meme incorrectly, it can seriously backfire.
  2. Don’t waste time.Some memes stay popular for years, and others fall flat after a few months or even days. If you’re going to memejack, do it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up using it too late.
  3. Make sure it’s appropriate.If your business has a very serious reputation, and subsequently, a very serious audience, using memes could actually offend or isolate people — the exact opposite of what you want.

Auscalem

View image on Twitter

Source: http://mashable.com/2014/11/06/alex-from-target-memes-marketing/

Why It’s Hot:

Great opportunity for us to have some fun! AlexfromTarget is a great example of how something as simple as a Twitter pic of an employee can blow up into something huge! Memejacking is a hard thing to do as the internet a fickle fickle beast but if we do it right, it can go a long way for our brands. The article provides some basic how tos but sometimes you just have to get lucky and let it naturally blossom. Another thing that I feel like we need is a mascot. Especially for Verizon, since we’re selling a service, having a mascot might contextualize our product similar to Time Warner’s roadrunner.

I know where your cat lives

Between hastags and video posts, the lives and actions of thousands (purrrrhaps millions) of cats have been documented online.  And because when photos are uploaded for posting they usually include meta data with geotags on longitude and latitude, it’s possible to know where those photos were taken and where those millions of cats live. But perhaps more ominously, it’s also a way to identify the addresses of the owners of all those cats.

To show how people and businesses can use this available data to further erode privacy, a Florida State University art profession, Art Mundy, has taken that aggregated data of uploaded photos to Flickr, Instagram and other platforms and used a super computer to show the location of about 1 million cats. (Each photo had been tagged with the word “cat.”)  He put this information on a website, along with photos and maps.  Time called it a Tinder for cats, with an seemingly endless stream of kitten photos for cat fans who stalk the Internet looking for cute kitty photos.  Although specific street addresses are not shown, the displayed maps hint at each cat’s location.

Why It’s Hot

Aside from being cute, all uploaded photos (plus your device) contain a lot of private data that could be used to track individuals and give away other information. Many people don’t realize how easily privacy is breached, often not in obvious ways. And regulations often don’t evolve as quickly as new technologies. So it’s beware to the consumer, even when doing something as harmless as posting cat photos.

Facebook Will Use Drones & Lasers to ‘Beam’ Internet to the World

Facebook plans to use drones, satellites and lasers to deliver Internet to the world.
After announcing Internet.org last year, an initiative to improve Internet access across the globe, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the Connectivity Lab, a new team of scientists that has been working on the ambitious project. He said that the Connectivity Lab would develop “new platforms for connectivity on the ground, in the air and in orbit,” according to a post on Internet.org on Thursday.drone-facebook

Why It’s Hot

This gives the world the opportunity to tap into a wealth of resources that we are used to, but others may not be.  This could help troops that are in 3rd world countries get access to internet access… maybe even skyping in doctors.  Or, just checking email in a place that has never seen it before.

Facebook Reportedly Wants to Use Drones to Actually Make Web Worldwide

Facebook is reportedly in talks to buy a drone company that could be used to bring Internet to areas of the world that currently have no access. As one of the founding members of Internet.org, Facebook has interest in making the Internet accessible across the planet, especially the two-thirds that are not connected.

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Why It’s Hot

Whether you agree with Mark Zuckerberg that “everyone deserves to be … on the Internet,” or you believe in the power of connection through innovation, providing Internet access to the globe has endless advantages. This would enable millions to be educated and research virtually anything – from simple mathematics to disease prevention, and from other cultures to advanced history and geography. Seeing as smartphone penetration is already increasing, meaning people would have devices to employ that access, this effort could be the single-greatest philanthropy for Facebook’s billions to rally behind.