In Brief: Gen Zers on Fortnite; Plants in the Office

July 2019
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Gen Zers Prefer Fortnite as a Social Platform Over Facebook and Instagram

Fortnite may be known best as a multiplayer video game, but for many of its younger users, it functions as something else, too: a social media platform.

A new study from National Research Group revealed that individuals between the ages of 10 to 17 who play Fortnite at least once a week spend nearly 25 percent of all their free time with the game, outpacing media destinations like Facebook, Instagram and Netflix.

But its popularity among Generation Zers isn’t solely connected to the thrill of fighting off zombies and competing against strangers. For Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite developer Epic Games, the game is also a “social experience,” a virtual world where users can build their own avatars and experience real-life events within the framework of the Fortnite universe — like a virtual concert from EDM DJ Marshmello, which nearly 11 million people witnessed. 

“The competition for free time is finite,” says National Research Group CEO Jon Penn. “To have an event that draws that many people, in any capacity, makes the threat of Fortnite being a platform very real.”

Study: Office Plants Can Boost Employee Morale and Focus

With the World Health Organization now classifying “burnout” as an actual occupational phenomenon, the importance of employee morale has never been higher.

However, office managers don’t necessarily need to throw lavish workplace parties or plan extensive staff field trips to raise the good vibes. According to a study from the University of Exeter, enriching an office with plants can improve productivity by 15 percent, while significantly boosting quality of life during the workday. All it takes is a trip to a local nursery.

While office managers shouldn’t expect a fresh ficus or peace lily to suddenly galvanize an uninspired workforce, adding a few plants to an employee’s periphery can only help them relax and focus on the tasks they need to complete. 

Writes Lifehacker blogger Emily Price, “I’ve certainly seen marked differences in my own productivity when I’m working in a pleasant environment rather than a sterile one. Plants are an easy way to spruce up a space and can give a bit of life to an otherwise dull desk situation.”

This Is How to Create a Strong PowerPoint

For presentation expert and Microsoft design team member Monica Lueder, storytelling is the essential element of a great PowerPoint.

“When you’re writing a presentation, it’s not just about how the slide looks, but the story behind it,” she writes in Fast Company. “To fly at such a high altitude, you’ve got to be concise. The message must be understood by a wide variety of people.”

To make a PowerPoint reinforce and amplify your message, she suggests keeping slides as simple and text-free as possible, while being sparing with animations and sounds. “Ultimately, you want people to focus on the speaker rather than trying to dissect the slide,” she says.

In addition, before building the deck that’ll be shown to an audience, she recommends storyboarding out each slide with notes on speech and design. This reminds the presenter to stay focused on the presentation’s narrative; after all, she says, prioritizing the visuals of your PowerPoint ahead of hammering out a substantive message is like “trying to decorate a cake before you’ve baked it.”

How Warner Music Group Is Selling Led Zeppelin to a New Generation

Led Zeppelin haven’t released a studio album since 1979, yet Warner Music Group is still finding creative ways to market their music, reports Rolling Stone.

To build excitement for the band’s 50th anniversary, Warner created a “logo name generator” that creates custom images in the signature Zeppelin typeface and a “playlist generator” that allows listeners to assemble their favorite songs by the band, or view favorites chosen by famous artists like Jack White.

The site featuring these generators received more than 200,000 unique visitors in the first 10 days, which, according to Rolling Stone, “translates to a steady stream of cash … without the band lifting a finger.”

But for Warner executive Tim Fraser-Harding, the victory isn’t just the “steady cash” or the marketing success; it’s also the thrill of knowing every day a new crop of kids may be cueing up “Physical Graffiti” for the first time.

“It’s about creating the right tools to educate and broaden the horizons for the potential consumer,” he says. “We’ve got to think about the consumer and how they react. Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.” — Dean Essner

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