SHARED SOLITUDE 2.0: Instagram has launched a feature called Co-Watching, which is basically the Instagram love child of FaceTiming and screen-sharing. While users are Co-Watching, they can browse Liked and Saved posts as well as feeds recommended by Instagram—all while video-chatting in real-time. Instagram started testing Co-Watching about a year ago (especially once screen-sharing chat app Squad became popular), but with social-distance protocols in place, now is an excellent time to launch this feature. As a bonus: it’s likely to lengthen usage sessions (potentially by a lot), which means more ad inventory.
AID FOR FREELANCERS: If you’re a contractor who’s out of work due to this crisis, you might think that you’re ineligible for aid because you’ve not been employed in the traditional W2 sense of the term. Fortunately, out-of-work freelancers and contractors are becoming eligible for more and more aid programs—largely because of responses to this crisis, and tacitly out of a recognition that the American workforce has changed. AdWeek has a pretty sharp rundown of different aid programs and how non-W2 workers are becoming eligible for benefits in each case. They even include the links you need to look up specific details and get things rolling where possible.
WEST ELM’S GIFT TO WFH: Bougie home brand West Elm (which is owned by Williams-Sonoma) just made a genius marketing play: given the surge in WFH and Zoom usage, particularly, they released a set of video-conference background photos designed for Zoom’s Virtual Background feature. All the pics are beautiful spaces that (naturally) feature their furnishings and luxury homewares. Here’s their post with all the images and an explanation of how to set up your Virtual Background of choice.
Image: West Elm