Nepo Babies

White Lotus, Republicans attempting to ban TikTok, and the rats

Accent graphic lips
Accent graphic shell

🎵 Top Sounds 🎵

Our curated picks of the top sounds on TikTok

  1. SZA Said Big Boy Winter 🕺Why is a song from an SNL skit such a bop? Until this is in its rightful place on Spotify, catch the sound going viral on TikTok.
  2. They’d Be Ben’s Partner 😊The rom-com roots of this sound demand a bit of fun. It’s a sweet and unserious sound.
  3. Bring You Down To Earth 🧐Use this sound to reject unrealistic expectations (like doing anything productive at the end of the year).
  4. Escapism ✌️This sound is being used for GRWM videos but has a lot of potential for POV videos, tutorial videos, and anything with a distinct narrative.
  5. What glass? 😖This is a sound for anyone who has ever felt frustrated explaining something simple. Conversely, it is also for anyone who has sat glassy-eyed at an explanation (AKA me anytime someone tries to teach me how to play a board game).

🔉 Our Sound Highlight 🔉

Wednesday Addams x Lady Gaga

Mood: a brown bat emoji

This sound went viral paired with Jenna Ortega’s (improvised!) dance from Wednesday on Netflix. It’s kinda fun, kinda spooky. You needn’t pair it with the dance, but it works best when you’re showcasing something.

🎥 Video Highlight 🎥

The rats really do run this city. At least that’s what this video from the American Ballet Theater suggests. It’s hard for me to recommend social media managers follow this exact video format— unless you’re very skilled at choreo and have a rat costume lying around, but there’s something so fun about watching an organization choose pure chaos.

👹 Effects Highlight 👹

AI is everywhere! And so are… ghosts? Folks are using the anime AI filter on TikTok to see what they, their pets, and their homes might look like in an anime. The filter is definitely on the wonky side— hence the “ghosts” but it makes for fun videos.

 The Moment 

Issues that are at the forefront of online discourse— banning TikTok.

Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill to ban TikTok. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen US lawmakers make a move against the app. In 2020, the Trump administration unsuccessfully called for the ban of TikTok. The primary concern expressed by lawmakers has been over the sharing of US user data with the Chinese government. TikTok responded, stating the company is working on storing US user data in US-based data centers, which would negate the legal requirement of data sharing in China.

The move to ban TikTok, when US-based tech companies have a less than savory history with user data is interesting. It rings of a certain kind of sinophobic rhetoric that we saw a lot of in 2020. While I do not doubt the danger Big Tech poses to consumer safety and personal privacy, this news out of Washington leads me to wonder how privacy laws are applied and how lawmakers need to do more than target Chinese-owned companies if their goal is protecting privacy.

☕ The Zeitgeist ☕

Hot topics from across the internet

  • HBO Max shows are getting canceled in post-production and removed from the platform ushering in a new and terrible era in streaming.
    • This is a loss for original and diverse programming and a particularly cruel move for lesser-known and middle-class actors who rely on residuals.
  • Garcelle Beauvais, of RHOBH, will be in the cast of The Other Black Girl the series is an adaption of Zakiyah Delilah-Harris’ novel of the same name.
  • Barbie (2023) gave us a very 2001: A Space Odyssey teaser trailer and people are hyped.
  • As the year draws to a close we look back at the most viewed TikToks of the year watch out in your inbox for a very special Vocal retrospective of 2022.
  • Elon Musk has done so many terrible and chaotic things in the past week, such that it’s hard to even narrow down which to focus on here— banning journalists, holding a Twitter poll to gauge whether he should step down as Twitter CEO, hanging out with Jared Kushner in Qatar.
  • Vulture by New York Magazine came for the nepo babies in their latest issue.
  • The White Lotus season two ended with a bang (or should I say a splash?) and it provided us with many memes along the way.
still from White Lotus of Jennifer Coolidge saying "These gays, they're trying to murder me"

🥡 The Takeaway 🥡

Last week I talked about AI image generators, this week there’s an even bigger AI story— Chat GPT gained a million users in 5 days.

What is Chat GPT? Well, in Chat GPT’s own words it is “a type of language model developed by OpenAI. It is a machine learning model that has been trained on a large dataset of human-generated text and is capable of generating coherent and believable text in a variety of styles and formats.”

I put Chat GPT to the test this past week (the site was unfortunately down for a while due to overwhelm), trying to generate a variety of texts. I tried to create a Lizzo song about pro-choice candidates— the AI did ok, but lacked subtlety and the ability to create more figurative language. I also tried to have Chat GPT make me a TikTok script on Gen-Z voters, something the AI excelled at, even if the generated text was somewhat trite.

Chat GPT responses to “write a song in the style of Lizzo about pro-choice candidates” (fig. 1) and “write a TikTok video about Gen Z voting” (fig. 2)

Chat GPT adapts as you respond, but is limited to information from prior to late 2021, and has no filter for veracity. The AI can tell you things that may be factually accurate but there is no citation system, no way that the language model screens for accuracy.

As a digital marketer, AI has become a bigger presence in the last few months. From constant ads for AI web copy tools to TikTok filters and Chat GPT, I am constantly wrestling with what these technological developments mean for marketers, creatives, and consumers.

As Hank Green aptly put it things are changing very fast. It’s hard to determine the impact AI tools will have on the digital space and our culture at large. The ethical issues that arise from models that adopt and adapt the words and images of others are important, but their extent remains to be seen. Equally hard to determine, are issues of accuracy, disinformation, and bias. After all, these issues arise from a data set produced by a culture fraught with the same problems. When I tested descriptions of Black characters, in novelistic styles, I noticed the same patterns I have in many books— describing skin tone with food analogies, creating tough inner-city back-stories, and describing Black women as strong and independent.

AI is what we feed into it. It is an arm of ourselves, as useful or as toxic, as what builds it.

Made it to the end of this newsletter? Here’s a treat, African cinema and LOTR.
Like Vocal Verified? Share it with a friend!