Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

The future of social networks might be audio

Anne says: Social media goes audio? Not exactly new – we’ve always had this option, across a lot of platforms. But like podcasts that looked like they might be slowly withering away, there’s been a revival. And now, along with behavioural issues cause by lockdowns and isolation (and of course, Zoom fatigue – unless you’re using a cat filter), there’s a number of new social media apps based on voice messages. Some are live chat-style, others are recorded. (Reminds you of those devices called telephones, and teleconferences, and message machines – right?).

There’s a lot of buzz around Clubhouse, one of the newest apps in this genre. Although it’s only available on iPhone and is still in beta (you need an invite to join), it’s already being touted as the new Facebook. Structurally, it’s about chat rooms, where people (experts?) share their ideas or people discuss topics of interest, even attracting the attention of people like Elon Musk discussing his brain-computer interface. A recent article in Smart Company recommends joining Clubhouse (if you can get an invite) to build reputation and expertise for your business. They describe the chat rooms as having the “ability to give each and every user their own soapbox while gaining access to mentors, fans, and collaborators in just a few clicks.”

The article refers to a number of other apps based on similar principles, including the appeal, why people are joining, and why now. However, the main issue covered relates to not a new problem with social media, but the emergence of abusive conversations, the moderation of content. As we’re already aware, monitoring social media posts has not been very successful. But voice messages, or live chat conversations, opens up a whole new level of moderation.

As these new apps gain popularity, we need to revisit how their usage can be managed safely, while allowing people to connect in different ways. Particularly if you’re considering exposing your business to these style of live conversation rooms. Quite a challenge I expect, but let’s consider how we participate meaningfully and in ways that people value authentic connection.

We’d be keen to hear from anyone who is using any of the voice apps and willing to share their experiences. Let’s chat!


How to train your brain to be more present

Jakkii says: I’ve written about focus and brain fog during the pandemic before, and one reason this headline caught my attention was that what I’ve been finding lately is that my brain is all over the place, jumping from thought to idea to topic to thought, and with trouble narrowing it down to deep-dive and focus in on something. Being more ‘present’ might just help with that.

This is a short read, premised on the notion that the rise of ‘multitasking’ has actually made us less productive, and that our continual switching between contexts and tasks has become so habitual that our brains may find themselves doing it, even when we’ve stepped away from our devices.

The article gives three tips for helping you keep your mind on task, rather than wandering off to other things:

  • Practice a little mindfulness

  • Learn a new response

  • Take notes, not texts

The last one is particularly interesting, as it’s essentially about using our bodies to help us be physically engaged and focus our attention through this change in pattern. So, standing up for your next Zoom meeting, and taking handwritten notes (which are better for aiding recall most of the time, anyway). Even doodling. Anything to be “bodily engaged” and therefore more present, more attentive, and more focused.

I think I’m going to have to try that standing tip in my next virtual meeting! What about you? Any tips in there jump out at you as worth a try? Let me know in the comments or on social media.


How living in space will change the way we age

Jakkii says: Going really left field with this one this week, because it just plain piqued my interest. With more and more talk about eventual recreational space travel and NASA’s goal of human travel to Mars in the 2030s, I guess we do need to know things like how will we age in space? If you need any more evidence the idea of space travel has gone from exotic and niche to more mainstream (if still unattainable for most), you only need look at the fact this article is from a beauty website!

The answer about aging is totally unclear, by the way – there’s just not enough data, especially long-term data, to know. But this article is a fun look at some of the things we do know, and what the might mean for humans living in space. I won’t spoil the whole article as I found it a fun read, but I can’t help but call out one thing: it’s possible everyone living in space could end up bald.

A small study — because how many people have even been to space, really? — found increased expression of genes that stunt hair growth in eight men and two women who were on the ISS for six months. Their results suggest that “spaceflight inhibits cell proliferation in hair follicles.”

It’ll save us money on shampoo & conditioner, at least.


Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace

Remote work

Communication, engagement, and culture

Community management and moderation

Privacy and data

Social media


This is interesting: How Google transformed from a quirky tech startup into a global behemoth

Things that make you go hmmm: Is this Beverly Hills cop playing Sublime’s ‘Santeria’ to avoid being live-streamed?

Tech history: The story of the Dale, the 70s attempt at a Tesla

Podcast: The ‘Facebook revolutions’ that weren’t

Friday funny: Texas lawyer trapped by cat filter on Zoom call, informs judge he is not a cat

Sydney Business Insights: Corona Business Insights Podcast

It only takes sixty days to form a habit, so after nine months of people working from home, how is transport changing in our cities? We talk with infrastructure expert Associate Professor Matthew Beck on how COVID-19 is reshaping urban mobility.

As COVID-19 sets out to change the world forever, join Sandra Peter and Kai Riemer as they think about what’s to come in the future of business.


Research on COVID-19 by the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies


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