Wordle (no, it’s not an app) is the new Words With Friends, the Golden Globes Awards were “broadcasted” on Twitter and quickly became a meme, young people are celebrating Disney’s Encanto for its authentic representation of intergenerational trauma, a TikToker’s open verse duet challenge is taking off—plus more internet buzz on this week’s Viral List.
Wordle: The Internet’s Latest Game Obsession
Created by software engineer Josh Wardle, Wordle is an internet word puzzle that hit the internet in October, but has gone suddenly viral this week. The game has been slowly picking up steam, and as of Monday, Wordle counts nearly 3M players. The rules are simple: players try and guess the “wordle” of the day in six tries by guessing different five-letter words to figure out what letters are in the wordle. For example, say the mystery word you’re trying to guess is “weary.” You have six tries to guess it by throwing out different five-letter words, and if any of those letters are in the wordle, they’ll turn green (and if they’re in the wordle but in the wrong spot in the row, they’ll turn yellow). The game tracks your wins, plays, streaks, and how long it takes to finish a puzzle, and players can’t stop sharing their stats on social media. A quick #wordle and #dailywordleclub search on Twitter gives a glimpse into the Wordle craze—people are equally fascinated as they are frustrated with the game. People are tweeting green, gray, and yellow squares (if you know, you know), and screenshots of their Wordle interface as they frantically figure out the puzzle. According to Wardle, the word puzzle started as a pandemic pastime that he and his family enjoyed together via their WhatsApp group. Wardle launched Wordle (confusing, we know) in October with the intention of keeping it as simple as possible, meaning no push notifications / reminders, no pop-ups, no ads, no login information; just words. And unlike most mobile games, Wordle isn’t an app. It’s an internet word puzzle available on the Power Language site. Plenty of rip off apps have taken a stab at Wordle’s viral success to the point where the App Store was flooded with so many copycats that Apple reportedly started removing them. Amid the Wordle craze, one thing is clear: people’s obsession with word games is strong (throwback to Words with Friends), and Wordle has become players’ new favorite daily routine.
The Golden Globes Tweeting Out Its Awards Became an Instant Meme
After announcing that the 79th Golden Globe Awards would not be livestreamed, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association found a new way to broadcast its awards: tweeting them. Except the Golden Globes’ tweets left social media users downright confused, as they neglected to include the name of the show / movie the person even won for. For example, one of the tweets from the @goldenglobes Twitter account reads, “Let’s hear it for O Yeong-su and his #GoldenGlobe for Best Supporting Actor — Television.” No picture of the actor or acknowledgement of what TV show he won the award for (it was Squid Game btw). What’s more, some of the captions were just…weird: “Cheers to the ladies who make us laugh,” reads a tweet about Jean Smart’s win for Best Television Actress, and, “If laughter is the best medicine @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you,” the association tweeted as they announced Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story for Best Picture, Musical / Comedy (in case you needed a reminder, West Side Story isn’t known for being a laugh riot). Eventually, the account updated the tweet and replaced “laughter” with “music.” Naturally, Twitter users couldn’t help but make memes about the Golden Globes: @joereid posted, “Golden Globes tweets proving that even when you keep them off of TV they will still deliver a deeply unhinged and entertaining experience.” YPulse told you how young consumers really feel about award shows (hint: they don’t really watch them live and pay attention to social media to find out what happened), and our Pop Culture Redefined trend research found that award shows aren’t one of the top pop culture moments Gen Z and Millennials pay attention to. It’s not surprising that even in a year without a live broadcast, they still managed to turn the awards into a meme-able moment.
Disney’s Encanto Is Popping Off Weeks Following Its Theater Premiere
After claiming the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart (sorry, Adele) this week for its Lin-Manuel Miranda-produced soundtrack, Encanto has captivated Latinx viewers, TikTokers, and families alike for its mesmerizing tale of a family who is gifted with magical powers to help their community in Colombia, which puts a lot of pressure on its unique members. #Encanto has garnered 7B views on TikTok, and users are creating dances and character reenactments set to popular songs from the film like “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” “The Family Madrigal,” and “Surface Pressure” (nearly 250K collective videos set to the tracks have been created on TikTok). More importantly, however, TikTokers can’t stop celebrating the film’s representation of the Latino community and accurate storytelling about intergenerational trauma (the “transmission of the oppressive or traumatic effects of a historical event”). Maribel Martinez (@maribelspiritualjourney on TikTok) started creating videos reenacting clips as Luisa Madrigal, the family’s strong middle sister, after her TikTok followers pointed out her resemblance to the character. Martinez told NBC News, “Not only does [Encanto] have to deal with how many people deal with pressure…but it also relates to a Hispanic community where the family dynamic is brought up like that and we’re put under so much pressure.” Another TikToker, Moony Rodriguez (whose family’s trauma stems from fleeing Mexico), explains that the depiction of intergenerational trauma is one of the main reasons young TikTok users are connecting with the film for bringing light to their experiences: “A lot of time the parents have good intentions, but they don’t realize how much pressure they put on the kids.” People are also celebrating Encanto’s range of characters—a diverse mix of lighter-skinned Latinos with red hair, Afro Latinos with Black skin, characters with round faces and characters with angular noses, and more. For many viewers, the characters represented in Encanto are the first time many young people have truly seen themselves in an animated film. YPulse’s Representation in Action trend research shows 75% of BIPOC young consumers wish they saw more people of their race in TV shows / movies. The film’s authentic representation combined with the fact that musicals have become an entertainment favorite on TikTok (remember the Ratatouille musical?) have made Encanto trend on the platform as young people and families connect with the film on a deep level.
TikTokers Are Dueting This Artist’s “Open Verse Challenge”—And It’s One of The Longest Lasting Music Trends Yet
YPulse told you about the TikTok music trends brands shouldn’t be sleeping on, including the app’s Duets feature: a tool that allows users to create their own videos alongside other users’ original clips to build collaborative trends. Duets have taken multiple forms; some use it to share their reactions to other users’ videos while others make a challenge out of it by asking whoever sees it to duet with them—thus creating an ongoing loop as creators build on the original video. Enter Sadie Jean, a singer-songwriter and a sophomore at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music who recently hit the road with her friends to create music together. On November 25, Jean posted a video set to one of her songs, “WYD Now?,” asking viewers to join in an open verse challenge dueting her clip and fill in the rest of the lyrics (in the clip, Jean is holding a wooden spoon where she signals to the viewer when to sing by handing off her “mic”). The clip has garnered 5M views, and more than 17K videos (a.k.a. duets) have been made using the “WYD Now Open Verse Challenge” track. Fellow singer-songwriters and TikTok musicians have been getting in on the Open Verse Challenge to show off their musical chops, while others have been taking a more humorous approach. Even Lil Yachty entered the Open Verse Challenge last week, racking up 4.5M views for his lyrical take on the trend. As the weeks went on, TikTokers continued putting their own spin on it after seeing it on their FYP page, proving how a single piece of content (in this case, Sadie Jean’s original Open Verse Challenge video) can evolve into a trend and unite TikTokers alike. TikTok is one of the top platforms Gen Z and Millennials use to keep up with pop culture, and combined with the fact that the app thrives off of music trends, the open verse challenge instantly took off.
Links We’re Passing
Euphoria season two is here, and social media users can’t stop making memes about the fashion and unrealistic portrayals of high school life.
The “Trans Handy Ma’am” is going viral on TikTok for her home improvement and maintenance tips (she has 1.5M followers and counting since she started sharing her expert knowledge).
K-12 students in Michigan, Oakland, Boston, and New York are holding walkouts to protest their school’s decision to move forward with in-person school amid the COVID-19 Omicron surge.
Egg peeling is the new ASMR.
Twee (a.k.a. the “early 2013 ModCloth aesthetic”) is all over TikTok.
Tanning nasal spray is the latest (weird) beauty craze.
Young people are asking their social media followers to participate in a “huge” book exchange—and it’s lowkey a pyramid scheme.
Kanye West released the music video for “Heaven and Hell” (which features the black Yeezy Gap hoodie), and it’s causing a surge in searches for “Gap hoodies,” “black Gap hoodies,” “Gap products,” and “Yeezy products.”
Speaking of, the Yeezy Gap line made its TV ad debut.
…and Kanye West’s and Julia Fox’s outing to see Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play reportedly caused a ticket boom for the show.
Fans are petitioning for Netflix to bring back its anime adaptation of Cowboy Bepop after it was quickly canceled following its debut season release (the petition has garnered more than 110,000 signatures).
Paramore is back in the studio recording their first album in five years.
Axel Webber has become TikTok famous for sharing videos of his tiny NYC apartment and his journey to become a Juillard student…but after sharing about his rejection from the famed performing arts school, fans expressed their anger on Juillard’s Instagram account.
Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather are being sued by investors for “false or misleading statements” about the cryptocurrency EthereumMax.
Entertainment News You Should Know
The Full House cast is remembering Bob Saget.
Kanye West is headed to the big screen: Act 1 of the artist’s three-part film, Jeen-Yuhs will be released in theaters on February 10.
HBO Max greenlit Degrassi, a new spin on the teen drama Millennials’ know and love (not to mention the streaming service also secured all 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation).
Netflix renewed Emily in Paris for season three and four.