BIRDS AREN'T REAL [Content Made Simple]
Issue #250: Gen Z's world, a vanishing Instagram handle, and more.
Hello everyone! This is the last Content Made Simple newsletter for 2021. I plan to have one or two pieces the next Tuesday or two, but these Thursday newsletters are done until 2022. Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
TOP OF THE WEEK:
Birds Aren’t Real, or Are They? Inside a Gen Z Conspiracy Theory.
What Birds Aren’t Real truly is, they say, is a parody social movement with a purpose. In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. It’s Gen Z’s attempt to upend the rabbit hole with absurdism.
“It’s a way to combat troubles in the world that you don’t really have other ways of combating,” said Claire Chronis, 22, a Birds Aren’t Real organizer in Pittsburgh. “My favorite way to describe the organization is fighting lunacy with lunacy.”
I have been aware of the “Birds Aren’t Real” movement for a couple of years, but this profile of the movement by Taylor Lorenz is top-notch and was definitely one of my favorite reads of the whole year.
It is super interesting to see how the emerging generation of young adults handles the world of misinformation into which they are coming of age. Young people drive culture and trends far more than older folks give them credit for, so it will be important to watch how movements like this evolve as their organizers age.
HITTING THE LINKS
Link #1: It's Gen Z's World, And We're Just Living In It
Great analysis and thought from Rex as usual.
Gen Z grew up online. They don’t know a world without constant online communication—notifications and texts and emails and DMs. That social inclination—that ease of passive and endless conversation—is invading every sector. We’re social animals, and the internet magnifies our needs and wants. Everything is becoming social.
Link #2: Her Instagram Handle Was ‘Metaverse.’ Last Month, It Vanished.
She had fewer than 1,000 followers when Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, announced on Oct. 28 that it was changing its name. Henceforth, Facebook would be known as Meta, a reflection of its focus on the metaverse, a virtual world it sees as the future of the internet.
In the days before, as word leaked out, Ms. Baumann began receiving messages from strangers offering to buy her Instagram handle. “You are now a millionaire,” one person wrote on her account. Another warned: “fb isn’t gonna buy it, they’re gonna take it.”
On Nov. 2, exactly that happened.
Link #3: Say Goodbye to Your Favorite Podcast Promo Codes
I don’t really listen to podcasts much these days, but this was an enlightening read on some changes to how the medium is monetized.
“There’s always going to be somebody coming up in the world before they get picked off by Spotify,” Granger says. “And [the advertisers are] just going to have to surf on those, they’re going to have to keep riding those waves, but it’s work.”
The question is whether the advertisers who helped build the space are willing and able to find a place on these newer shows, or if the podcasting industry’s onward march means leaving the mattress sellers behind.
THE FUNNY PART
If you like this, you should subscribe to my free newsletter of funny content I find online. It’s called The Funnies. It delivers on Saturday mornings.
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