Harlem Shakes: Shortest Meme Ever?

Harlem Shakes: Shortest Meme Ever? 

The lifespan of social media has been continually shrinking in the face of social media’s growth. As content becomes easier to both share and make, viral memes can reach an internet saturation point much quicker than even those of a few years ago. Early memes like the Dancing Baby were able to keep relevance for several months due to the slow nature of e-mail forwards. By the time LOLCats, Chocolate Rain, and other post-Facebook memes hit the scene, a star could rise and fall in a single month. But just because the majority of the internet has had their fill doesn’t mean that latecomers won’t try and keep the party going. Light internet users will always get to trends after the power users, and a grandmother watching that “Gangam Style” Superbowl commercial will have lots of questions about it. Ubiquity might make the length of a trend overstay its welcome, but it can’t do much to rush it out the door.

Of course, individuals aren’t the only ones paying attention to viral videos. PR and marketing professionals know when a trend is rising – and when it’s safe enough that they can use it for their own devices. Nabisco made a brilliant move by releasing a “lights out” commercial during the Super Bowl blackout, but not everyone can move so quickly. In fact, the larger the organization the harder it is, by definition, to move quickly. In many ways, companies need a SWAT team (with a member of their legal team included in that) prepared just for real-time reactions. But authenticity is important too. A South Park episode that references planking can probably tackle it without feeling forced. The Today Show, on the other hand, parodying “Friday” might not go over so well. In fact, a lot of companies should keep aware that many social media memes are…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "GoPro does a great job appealing to my generation because they convince regular people that they are adventurous, like many college kids like to think of themselves." –Male, 22, MD

Facebook continues to evolve to keep up with social platform competitors attracting younger users. The site has announced changes to their standalone chat app Messenger that will transform it into a platform that third parties can develop content and services for, including games, hotel bookings, tickets, and peer-to-peer payments. The new Businesses on Messenger feature would allow users to chat with brands to make purchases and change orders, and could make shopping a more personal experience. Facebook will also be adding the ability to chat with memes and GIFs, features that have proved popular with young consumers on other chat apps. (re/code,Fast Company)

Millennials are wary of investments, and generally anxious about their finances, and some have turned to new services that let them take baby steps into the financial world. More traditional institutions have certainly taken notice. Northwestern Mutual recently acquired LearnVest, a startup that offers free and paid financial planning services including articles, advice, and access to an expert for guidance on spending and budgets. The purchase is the latest in a trend of financial tech companies being snapped up by older, less digitally savvy brands. (FortuneBusiness Insider)

While many startups and sites are working to combat cyberbullying, one app is receiving an enormous amount of backlash for fostering the behavior in high schools. Burnbook allows users to join communities, usually around a school, remain anonymous, and post on topics of their choice. Although the app encourages “jokes, fails, wins, shout outs, revelations, proclamations, and confessions,” posts have been used to target specific people and groups, and threats have been made to at least one school. Some parents and teens are trying to use the app to spread positivity, but those posts don’t seem to outweigh the “gruesome things.” (Mashable)

Toys “R” Us will begin to sell an experience alongside its products with the hope of regaining their footing in the toy industry. Discount options like Wal-Mart and Amazon have hurt the chain’s sales over the past few years, so new plans to revamp stores will add physical play areas and more technology for kids to interact with. The retailer wants to be a place “where kids want to go and play,” and their new prototype store will open later this year. (Bloomberg)

For better or for worse, technology is becoming an intrinsic part of childhood, but boys and girls might not be growing up with the same tech experiences. A new study of parents of kids ages two to nine found that in many cases, parents give their children different devices depending on their gender. Sons were more likely to be given smartphones or gaming devices while daughters received more tablets (73% vs. 65% for boys). Parents were also more likely to use tech to calm down sons, with 48% using a device to help soothe boys when they are upset, compared to 37% for girls. (Kidscreen)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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