Online Influencers: July 2016
Trending hashtags and visual microblogs are valuable indicators of what moves consumers. In tandem with our monthly Pop Culture Round-Ups, we assess key directions emerging from social media and highlight influencers driving them.
- Womanism: Black women experience intersecting oppression based on their gender and ethnic background. Both in the US and globally, black women's voices are rising against a backdrop of growing social unrest driven by racism.
#BlackGirlsBreakTheInternet (as well as #BlackBoysBreakTheInternet) were hashtags that went out across multiple social media platforms to focus on positivity in the black community, similar to the #Blackout movement that came out of Tumblr last year. #BlackGirlMagic celebrates black female excellence in many forms across various social media platforms. #MelaninMondays fights colourism, and #BlackSalonProblems is an international tag where users share their experiences with various hair procedures. Finally, #BlackPlotTwists is a hashtag that confronts light-hearted cultural experiences as well as the many faces of racism, including underrepresentation in the media and police brutality.
US podcaster Ceej started #NoWomanEver, a hashtag that addressed street harassment and catcalling. The tag started in the black Twitter community via Ceej's account Miss Black Awareness and soon became a trending topic in the US and globally.
Young online artists are contributing to the visual culture of feminism with frank illustration styles and references to the history of protest. Names worth following include UK-based illustrator Polly Nor, Megan Tatem and Grace Miceli in New York and Amber Ibarreche from Los Angeles.
- Soft Occult: A new generation of women are opening their minds to alternative spirituality and exploring elements of witchcraft. With its eye on self care and community building, the movement chimes well with the modern beauty market.
Twenty-year-old Seattle-based blogger Bri Luna of The Hoodwitch has turned her spiritual family legacy into a millennial lifestyle platform. With interviews, tutorials and an online shop, The Hoodwitch has become a hub for young occult enthusiasts to interact and build a community. At the forefront of this movement, The Hoodwitch has collaborated on a nail polish range for nail brand brand Floss Gloss and attracted coverage from Vogue and The New York Times. For more on modern magic's impact on the beauty market, see Make It Magic: New-Age Beauty.
Meanwhile, gothshakira is an Instagram account run by a Montreal-based 25-year-old blogger who goes simply by Dre. Dre's blog dips into a mixture of empowering feminism, cultural critique, mysticism and the visual language of memes to create her posts. The dense material gained 10,000 followers (mostly women age 18-25), leading to a recent feature in US music and culture magazine The Fader.
Additional influencers in the modern spirituality community are Temple of Leaves, art/mythology collective Applied Mythology Project, and Brooklyn-based coven collective Ravenous Craft Coven. Instagram blogs Nona Limmen and _spirits celebrate gothic and mystic aesthetics.
- Nowstalgia: More and more content from the past becomes available through online archives, where reiterative remixing and sharing compresses pop culture moments of the past 25 years into shared spaces. As a result, the 90s and 2000s sit right next to the present on social media.
Pop Culture Died in 2009 revisits what the anonymous US high school student at its helm calls 'the glory days of tabloid pop culture'. The cross-platform blog shares pictures from the 00's and interviews with the era's B-list celebrities, and has attracted the attention NY Mag's The Cut due to its rapid growth in followers.
Instagram blogs feeding into this cultural moment of making every day 'throwback Thursday' are RememberThisHappened, 90sKidInfinity, and 2000srevisited.
For more on how online culture enabled nowstalgia and how brands are making use of it, read our Pop Culture Round-Up: June 2016.