You are reading Social Signals, Greg’s weekly email about creative, technology, and cultural signals worth noting. Today’s email was written to “The Smoke” from The Smile. If you haven’t already subscribed, there’s a big button right there!
This week I attended the VRARA Minneapolis session on Metaverse: Beyond the Hype and was reminded of the power of an in-person event full of smart people who are doing amazing things. The panelists were smart. The demos were brilliant. And I left energized and excited for what’s next in our industry and the community building it.
But of course, I needed to get home to play Wordle. So that requires me to ask…
Are you sick of Wordle yet? If yes, I bet you aren’t playing.
It was only two weeks ago I wrote some words about Wordle, and since then its popularity has skyrocketed, including a fierce battle online about the two types of players (adieu/arise vs poopy/farts), someone hacked the site and has “been emailing my enemies tomorrow’s words,” and of course, someone built a bot that ruins the word for anyone who posts their daily score (it’s now blocked - thanks Twitter!).
And in case you were digging my rant last week about the phrase “someone has too much time on their hands,” The Atlantic’s Charlie Warzel wrote about the inevitable pushback of Wordle that mirrors some of my annoyance of casual disliking social trends without justification… other than the fact you aren’t into it:
I’d also bet that the people who’ve made disliking or mocking Wordle their online personality have done it for similarly casual reasons. They are probably pissed off about 40 other awful things and frustrated by the attention that is lavished on something they don’t personally enjoy. Or maybe they enjoy it, but are tired of the way that internet fandom and the broader media / social-media information systems take things that are good and run them through the content meat grinder until they’re mangled, desiccated husks of their former selves…
We are conditioned to project strong feelings about things we don’t feel all that strongly about. At the same time, we’re conditioned to interpret other responses to low-stakes content as high stakes, perhaps even threatening. We end up arguing about things we don’t feel that strongly about because we can’t remember that the other side of the argument is subject to many of the same forces. There’s no real sense of proportion to any of it, and that absence makes us feel both more frustrated at the other person, and also, like we’re maybe losing it…
Have we built an internet where enjoying an innocent thing with a larger community is, quite simply, impossible?
Or as your mom may say, “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”
I’m still playing. And more friends are playing as each day passes. My opening words are FRAME, CRUTCH, and FIGHT. Not sure what that says about me.
I’m also no longer playing HQ Trivia (RIP), or Flappy Bird, or Among Us. Because their time has passed, until they die forever or come again. That’s what it’s all about.
Meanwhile, with all of this focus on using the internet to grow our brains, if you’re digging Wordle and want another one to plan, you may want to try WikiTrivia. WikiTrivia is an open-source game where you organize cards with world history and events in the correct chronological order. Three strikes and you’re out. And it gives you a score you can share with friends.
Unless you’re not into it. And in that case, maybe keep it to yourself? 😇
🐤 Some Good Tweets
🔥 Quick Hits
YouTube is planning to integrate NFTs into the platform.
Snapchat added new catalog shopping Lenses, increasing the power of AR shopping on the platform.
LinkedIn is seeing record levels of engagement and events, powered by “The Great Reshuffle.”
Netflix launched a free kids’ podcast and magazine.
Meta introduced a series of events to support Black-owned businesses.
TikTok is testing Mememoji-like avatars.
Apple will soon let iPhones accept NFC payments with tap-to-pay, “letting users such as food trucks and hair stylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their [iPhones].”
Elon Musk’s brain chip firm Neuralink is lining up clinical trials in humans.
U.S. Army’s highest ranking Muslim soldier is also a TikTok star.
Google is building an AR headset.
Weekend Long Read of the Week: Metaverse 2030 by Louis Rosenberg.
Insta Reel of the Week: Distracted driving in the 90s.
TikTok Search Tip of the Week: How to find a video you watched but didn’t like or share.
See you on the internet!
PS: If you liked this, do me a solid and smash that “LIKE” with the little heart. And share it. TYSM 🙏🏻