It's easy to "see" smart glasses are coming; Digital fashion coming IRL; VR warps your sense of time
Read to the end for the leading contender for the song of the summer
You are reading Greg’s weekly email about creative, digital, social, and cultural signals worth noting, and sometimes a dumb viral video worth sharing with your friends. Today’s email was written to this playlist of Sussex Records recordings from 1969-1975. Follow @gregswan on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
On the heels of Snapchat’s Spectacles AR launch last week, I wrote an article for SHOTS about the future of augmented reality in our phones, our browsers, and soon our glasses.
🐸 “The term 'augmented reality' is a boring and unimaginative term for a transformative technology that can detect your face and turn you into a frog.”
🔥 "Gamified brand experiences have always been popular with consumers, but social AR will create an opportunity for interplay between a brand and its consumer that will make a social comment or retweet seem trite."
🧐 “Concerns about privacy, utility, and not necessarily wanting ads wherever you look with your smart glasses are valid. Some off-the-shelf algorithms have difficulty sensing BIPOC faces or are prone to misgendering, so it’s critical branded experiences are inoculated from discrimination. And you can bet AR graffiti will be a thing...”
You can read it here: Social media is moving into the real world.
Here’s what else I’m tracking this week…
TikTok Driving Cooking and Dining Trends: TikTok Videos with the hashtag #TikTokFood have amassed 25.2 billion views, and the app regularly spawns viral food crazes, such as whipped coffee and a pasta dish with baked feta and tomatoes now known as the “TikTok pasta.” A video that shows you how to make a three-ingredient Oreo cake has gotten more than 42.1 million views. My daughter made us buy all the materials and dishware to make it. It wasn’t great. However, it’s clear in 2021 that TikTok is the fastest way to become a food star.
Listen Up: Grammy-nominated composer BT created a musical composition and installation made for the blockchain that debuted this week, “Genesis.json.” It is a fully programmed 24-hour artwork that will repeat daily as long as the internet is around. The piece is programmed to play specific musical movements depending on when and where a listener is tuning in from, much like other programmable NFTs that bring in real world data to influence an ever-changing digital painting. Listen here.
Americans’ Post-Pandemic Digital and IRL Fashion Plans: Have you bought new clothes in the last year? How about clothes for your virtual avatar? Chances are you may spend money on both types of fashion in the coming year as we emerge from the pandemic.
Per The Atlantic, “Pestilence has a long history of influencing how people dress.. Some historians credit the plague for sparking demand for finely tailored clothing and luxury goods—clothes became tighter, decorative features like buttons and fur trim became more common, people got really into grand headdresses. In this way, the plague gave rise to the Italian fashion industry, which still helps set global trends… Europe’s tuberculosis epidemic had been thoroughly romanticized, the emaciation it caused reflected in the age’s wasp-waisted corsetry. A century later, people became nervous that ground-dragging skirts kicked up filth and disease… which eventually led to shorter skirts and the beginning of the end of Victorian aesthetics..” and after the 1918 Pandemic, “Young women unlaced their corsets and opted for still-shorter hemlines… and short hairstyles..”
Will we all be wearing 2020 lockdown-style yoga pants and cargo shorts for the next decade? Certainly not, but it’s evident the next decade of fashion hasn’t quite cemented itself in the real world.
But online, digital fashion is exploding. From H&M outfits in Animal Crossing to Ralph Lauren and Levi’s-branded Bitmoji clothes for Snapchat and SMS, big fashion brands are moving further into metaverse and social skins including but beyond gaming. The mainstreaming of the digital fashion trend is also driving a conversation about parallel challenges to physical fashion: equity, access, cost, inclusion, distribution, and diversity of fashion creators.
Fast Company says, “Unless the digital fashion industry sets certain standards while it is still in its infancy, its future may not be all that different from the present-day reality of IRL fashion.” Regardless, it appears this could be the first time digital fashion leads IRL fashion following a pandemic. And that’s worth dressing up for.
Older Millennials Love Their Labels: Last week everyone seemed to be talking about Geriatric Millennials, yet another trending term for the micro-generation of kids born in the early 1980s who uniquely bridge the divide between digital natives and digital adapters. We’re only 7 years out from the internet deeming this group as “Xennials”, and Merriam Webster even flagged it as a word to watch four years ago. Or there’s also “The Oregon Trail Generation,” “Generation Catalano” and “The Lucky Ones.” And if you ask anyone schooled in generational studies, they’ll tell you the official word for a person born near the end of one generation and the beginning of another is “Cusper,” and it’s not that unique of a theory. People born between generations tend to have a mix of characteristics common to their adjacent generations, but cuspers do not closely resemble those born in the middle of their adjacent generations who come to define it. One thing is for sure, the older millennial generation sure loves to talk about what it calls itself year after year.
VR Warps Your Sense of Time: If you’ve ever been watching a show, scrolling TikTok, or playing video games and lost track of time, just wait until you hang out in VR. New research published in the journal Timing & Time Perception showed that time seems to pass more quickly while playing games in VR. Known as “time compression,” the phenomenon occurs when a longer real duration is compressed into a shorter perceived experience. The findings of this research have implications for good (use of VR as an analgesic, medical therapy, long-distance travel) and bad (interfering with sleep schedules, mood, and health by reducing the ability to notice the passage of time). The paper says VR developers should consider not creating “virtual casinos” without clocks, and it’s clear we still have a lot more to learn about how virtual experiences will impact human behavior over time. Literally.
Reads of the Week: 1) #GeorgeFloyd: Social Media Honors George Floyd On One-Year Anniversary Of His Passing; 2) The influencers are burned out, too; 3) The Dual-Adoption Curves of Bitcoin; 4) The future of Reddit may look a lot like Roblox; 5) What Instagram really learned from hiding like counts.
LinkedIn introduced “Boosting” for organic posts.
Facebook and Instagram are giving users the option to hide Like counts.
Twitter Spaces is now accessible via desktop.
TikTok is finally adding a Preview mode to see how your videos will look after publishing.
SiriusXM is adding a TikTok Radio station that will feel like a radio version of the platform’s FYP.
Pinterest now facilitates more than 5B searches per month.
Twitter teased its upcoming ‘premium’ subscription service, which it plans to release globally soon.
PopSockets is partnering with TikTok to launch a $25 TikTok PopMount 2 Flex to use as a hands-free phone stand.
Did You Know of the Week: George Jetson was a COVID baby.
Interactive Multi-Layered Audio Visual NFT of the Week: Richie Hawtin’s F.U.S.E. “Syntax” EP.
App of the Week: Schmooze, the first meme-based dating app (“Swipe Memes, Not People”)
Twitter Account of the Week:@legendarysvideo, aka videos that precede legendary events.
YouTube Shorts of the Week: The greatest invention you’ll ever see.
TikTok of the Week I Want to Eat: Try to not want to eat this.
And lastly, this 15 year-old song from The Backyardigans hit #1 on Spotify’s viral charts thanks to TikTok remixes, including this indie pop version, cosplaying the cartoon characters, and even a 9th grade choir singing it. It’s a leading contender for the official song of 2021 summer. Ahoy there!
See you on the internet!
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