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

“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

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Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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