Introducing Limelight: Your Guide to Online Trends
To help you navigate what’s happening in the internet universe, we present Limelight – a new column brought to you by our friends at the creative studio Day light.
What’s up with bespoke everything? Why are so many people rocking piratecore? What is a nap dress? And why is social media therapy so popular? These are all extremely relevant questions and the types of existentialisms that this column hopes to answer by observing the latest trends we are noticing online.
Trends are buzzing because they tell us how people are feeling, what they’re thinking, and what influences their behavior. It is less a question of following them than of understanding Why.
So, in no particular order, here’s what we noticed headlining the internet this month:
To be realistic
After more than two years locked in the pandemic watching endless content, there is a return to…reality. Think less CGI, more documentary-style content. Less magical storytelling and more real depictions of things that actually happen.
This also manifests in applications like Be real— a French social media platform where users are invited to take an unfiltered snapshot once a day in order to “show your friends who you really are”. It also appears in the likes of reality TV production, where producers, crew, set, lighting rigs, and makeup crews are now featured as part of the show. It’s like we all start admitting that some parts of our lives are real and some parts are fake. People are looking for either sharp realism or deep escapism.
Surf, not serve
Writer Molly Soda was interviewed by the excellent Embedded newsletter recentlyand a response prompted a confrontational thought….iis this the end of the humble link????
After the heyday of organic reach on social media and Mark Zuckerburg deciding to fuck with algorithms to make money, apps are turning into endless service vacuums that don’t want you to leave (TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram etc) . Give us the discovery again! The healthy surfing channel of the internet! The uncharted waters of something new!
In response? Platforms like Patreon or Sub-stack are taking off, where creators set up entirely independent revenue streams outside of app walled gardens through their newsletters, and subscribers pay them directly for their content.
Lizzo’s writing panic attack songsgovernments run mental health campaigns sometimes encouraging you to just “do not do anything”therapists or forms of therapy have begun their own wave on the internet – there has been a huge increase in people seeking help and talking about things in a much more visible way.
All of this speaks to a broader pattern of “public vulnerability” that manifests itself at all levels. It’s as if the shared harrows of the pandemic have forced humanity to talk more openly about their human experience, and it’s impacting everything from diverse talents in advertising (not completely without issue) to HR policies and working environments adjacent to Zoomer.
Life is a movie, you are a character
The Coastal Grandmother, The Messy Hot Auntthe main character, the sweet black girl summerthe The Age of Villains…Every week it seems like a new character archetype goes viral on TikTok that people like to associate with themselves or someone they know.
What does this tell us? We like to be told who we are, what we look like and, ultimately, to be reassured that we are not alone in our own neurosis. They are often related to fashion trends, which also signal a good mood. For example, the rise of slouchy garments like the “nap dress” and hoodies, which came to the fore for multiple reasons, but namely the “cut off at five and don’t think about work until until you get paid”. the enthusiasm of “Quiet stop” (who does not really exist). Everything is connected.
Go through a turbulent time and you will never be more likely to reflect on this futile and fleeting existence on earth.
This trend is about the merging of science and the cosmos. The craze is over from NASA latest shots from space. These are dating apps that incorporate star signs into their profiles, horoscope app predictions like Co-starring or, more recently, The reasonbeing published as profile updates and mainstream publications commissioning astrologers for regular content.
We must know that all this has a reason! The climate is burning, overpopulation is mounting, and more than ever, we need things to keep us from fighting our way to oblivion.
The climate is changing
The conversation moves from “if” it will happen to how we can change to adapt (climate deniers aside, of course).
Weather channels use artificial intelligence to illustrate important weather events. The architecture is designed to cool hot spaces in cities. It’s so hot on Airbnb style platforms like Swimply let you rent people’s private pools. And fashion brands are launching more and more products that decompress over time/claim to last a lifetime.
Time is rented and nothing is permanent. And if we didn’t already know that, now we really should.
Slow open worlds
Games where you walk around with no real purpose or narrative are attracting more and more audiences. Especially the tastes of Wanderwhere you play as a cat in some sort of post-apocalyptic world just… by jumping.
Despite its setting, all the fascination with slow, open worlds is why people just want to plug in and get by when they could just… do that in real life? Call it a real-life anxiety reaction or just a new form of internet escapism, this way of playing can simply mimic the long, slow effort, slow reward dynamics of life itself.
Artificial intelligence aided by design
New AI technology like DALL-E 2 has been making massive waves lately, which is basically computer software that creates images from text prompts typed into its interface.
It’s a major development for the world of graphic design, inciting existentialism about how much of our work and craftsmanship will be replaced by robots or…algorithms. How much of the magic of artistic creation belongs to the human spirit? Time is starting to tell.
Guest celebrities and the sharing of expertise are on the rise, and maybe that’s because everyone’s an expert on something these days. Intro is basically a FaceTime/Zoom-like experience that lets you book 15, 30, 45, or 60-minute video call sessions with experts to get feedback on…anything. The problem? You cannot exchange text, links or documents, so everything is in the moment.
Imagine calling Sally Ridge for a quick consultation on your presentation wall. Or Dane Rumble for advice on new song lyrics. Dreams are free and seem, now, maybe even possible.