You are reading Social Signals, 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 Four Tet’s “New Energy.” Follow @gregswan on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, subscribe below:
It’s my birthday today. This means we have reached the one-year anniversary of the most ridiculous birthday stunt ever — the Chaska Wheel. The Chaska Wheel is a kind of living meme resulting from a proposal I shared with the City of Chaska and then never let go. For years.
Whenever I see the Mayor or City Councilors around town, they bring it up. My friends are always asking for updates. My kids talk about it as inevitable. My wife is sick of it entirely. The city’s consulting group even did some renderings for it…
The Chaska Wheel has become a living vision of what’s possible when a local dork just doesn’t let a good idea die. And I'm so grateful to my family and friends (and celebs!!) for submitting these videos in celebration of my 40th last year.
The Chaska Wheel website features the Mayor of Chaska, a city councilor, local TV news journalists, my parents and wife and kids, tons of beloved friends, coworkers, and so many “celebrities” – like Mark McGrath, Rebecca Black, Tay Zonday, Gilbert Gottfried, Rod Blagojevich, Tommy Chong, William Hung, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Ed Begley Jr., Mark Russell, Danny Bonaduce, Thad Lewis, Kermit the Frog, Morgan Tuck, Barry Williams, etc. – who all recorded videos, wrote songs, produced the history of Ferris wheels, and more… Just amazing.
THANK YOU again to everyone who helped contribute to that last year. It was a wonderful 40th birthday surprise and as we hit the one-year mark from this ridiculous stunt, I can feel the love all over again.
And who knows.. maybe we’ll get that Ferris wheel built yet. - Greg
Suffice it to say, if you want a new job, you should check those links and DM me on the side so I can put in a good word for you. And if you’re trying to retain your current talent, I highly suggest you watch this TikTok. 👀
If Facebook is Down and Doesn’t Tweet About it, Did It Go Down?
It seems like old news already that Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp (and everything else that Facebook powers) was down on Monday fresh off the heels of a blistering 60 Minutes report. The internet flocked to Twitter to discuss and made some amazing memes. @Twitter got in on the fun, and even Facebook used Twitter to share updates. The good news? Facebook outage increased developer throughput by 32%, and has a lot of brand managers rethinking their Twitter strategy for 2022.
Slap the Teacher Challenge isn’t Real, Until It Is
Teacher unions are worried about a “slap the teacher” viral challenge, although it’s not apparently a thing that has happened yet, with just one posted video so far. One. And the news cycle is based on a fake list of anticipated trends, which isn’t how social media works. TikTok is proactively taking down videos tagged #slapateacher, which are all making fun of the overreaction. But of course, because there’s so much media coverage about the fact this trend could happen, maybe it will. Because that is how social media works.
Sneezing Isn’t Normal
Sorry, not sorry. Because of @VlogBrothers, today you are learning that there is at least one accredited medical doctor who says that sneezing isn’t normal. This means that every time you sneeze from now on you will question if sneezing is not okay and why we sneeze at all.
But the real reason to pay attention is that Hank Green used the example of you reading in an email right now that that sneezing isn’t normal tees up a fundamental truth we are all dealing with right now:
“Until quite recently I thought of IRL and the internet as fundamentally separate spaces…but in truth there is no bright line between real life and cyberspace and the outrageous ridiculousness we encounter – whether online or off – end up shaping the people we are and the world we share... And I don’t know what to do about that.”
Remember that the next time you say “Gesundheit!”
2022 Graphic Design Trends
As we look to next year and how content strategy and design may change, we always want to keep a pulse of trends in graphic design for those fantastic social posts. Venngage has put together quite a long guide with their observations of where things are headed, including a focus on trends like inclusive visuals, serif fonts, branded memes, quote tiles, and social screencaps (e.g., Twitter screenshots shared on Instagram). You can see the whole guide here.
Reads of the Week
1) What is the metaverse and why do I have to care?; 2) Facebook's own data is not as conclusive as you think about teens and mental health; 3) Why Snap is leveraging augmented reality technology to get a leg up in the social commerce arms race; 4) How Twitter applied the “Jobs to Be Done” approach to strategy.
Snapchat announced new Creator monetization and incentives, including a new Spotlight Challenge that will help create and fuel trending content on the platform to better compete with TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
Pinterest added Idea Ads, Slideshow for Collections, and more this week.
Facebook published a report on the importance of diversity in advertising (PDF download).
YouTube’s latest financial disclosure shows they have paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies in the last three years.
Location-based VR pioneer The Void is plotting a comeback.
Chart of the Week: The Ultimate Halloween Candy Power Ranking
Retro Web Experience of the Week: CanyonMid.com
Webcomic of the Week: A/B testing Halloween candy
Squid Game TikTok of the Week: Squid Games subtitles are missing so much context you may want to rewatch the entire series.
TikTok Account of the Week: @VinesIMiss features old Vines. YES!
See you on the internet!
If you like this, do me a solid and “LIKE” with the little heart. And share it. It’s my birthday, after all. TYSM