Communicating Via Tumblr And .gifs: The whatshouldwecallme Trend

Today's post comes to us from Laura, a soon-to-be sophomore at NYU who has noticed a particular trend among her generation. They're using non-traditional media for communication. When text messaging, social media, and the rest isn't enough, they'll invent their own ways to connect, which is what happened when two law students on opposite ends of the country wanted a better way to keep in touch — so they turned to Tumblr and animated .gifs. Laura explains their story, which became a cultural phenomenon, below...

Communicating Via Tumblr And .gifs: The whatshouldwecallme Trend

The multitude of ways our generation communicates today has been a topic of fascination for years now in the wake of new technologies that range from texting to Skype chats. These methods are simple, direct, and great for keeping in touch with friends or family that could be located anywhere in the world. But for two best friends attending law schools on different coasts of the country, the available communication tools weren’t enough.

The law school ladies, who insist upon staying anonymous to the public, wanted to find a way to stay in touch and entertain each other throughout the day. They found that they could create their own funny, often self-deprecating private jokes or tidbits about their lives using captioned .gifs — short, soundless moving image clips from TV or movies. The captions, which they wrote themselves either before or after finding the appropriate .gif, truly makes the joke, since it puts the unrelated content of the image into the context of their point. For example, a .gif clip from the evening news of a culprit running away becomes the metaphor for “when my sister tries to leave the house wearing my clothes.”

The two got a laugh from these Tumblr exchanges, naming it

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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