Vibe Check: The Rise of Unstructured Sharing
Social media users are compensating for missed face-to-face connections by sending each other 'vibe checks' – impressionistic video and music edits that communicate emotions and aesthetics – to the tune of five billion views on TikTok. Social platforms from Trash to Facebook are trying to own the moment with tools for broadcasting personal moment-to-moment contexts.
A 'vibe' is a reflection of someone's mood, aura or personal aesthetic through content. #Cottagecore, for instance (see Pop Culture Round-Up Summer 2020), is a total vibe. Trash App, an AI-powered social video editing tool, markets itself as a "platform for making and sharing vibey videos with friends". Trash provides automated edits of users' video files under format flavours like Hype, Artsy, and Recap, so they can share their emotional state or stylistic sensibilities.
Meanwhile, Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team is letting people express their vibes with E.gg, a "low-pressure space for the really unpolished and mismatched things". The experimental site lets users create and share online multimedia collages on free-form 'canvases'– messy visuals that intentionally recall the "early internet" before algorithmically curated feeds and restrictive post formats. There is currently a waitlist for user access to E.gg, but the team is sharing glimpses of the community on Instagram.
As highlighted in our Three-Minute Trend Brands Get Weird, during an era of linear information overload, people want digital tools that are versatile enough for more unstructured self-expression. For more on the latest shifts in how audiences connect online, check out or regular Pop Culture Pulse reports.