(Header image via Pajiba.com)
Three Things This Week
1. "Well, It's...Going"
What it is: This week’s big meme was “How It Started vs. How It’s Going.” Participants post a photo or screenshot of how a relationship, a job, or even the year in general started and contrast it with a photo or screenshot of where things are now, or even how things ended.
Why it's the human experience in a nutshell: Most of the popular memes of 2020 so far have had one thing in common: they reflect, with a shrug and a smile, on our expectations versus how reality plays out. Nearly every human relationship and experience starts more hopefully than it ends because we live in a broken world. But sometimes, smaller moments we would never expect can define the ways that bigger ones shake out. Time spent practicing a sport we love can lead to a championship trophy, or a casual comment made over text message can lead to the love of our lives. In addition to being funny, this meme gets bonus points for encouraging posters to reflect with earnestness and sincerity on the threads that stitch our lives together.
2. Sweet Dreams for Quaran-teens
What it is: A survey conducted by the Institute for Family Studies showed that during 2020’s peak “quarantine” months (March–July), teens actually experienced less depression and loneliness than during a similar survey conducted in 2018.
Why it shouldn’t be so surprising: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unspool into a never-ending mental health crisis for adults, teens are reporting a curiously different experience—some even feel healthier and happier than they did pre-quarantine. The results of this survey indicate that sleep may be what factors most heavily into this equation, with teens who attended remote learning programs finally getting the recommended 7+ hours of snoozing in. The survey also found that family time increased, presumably because parents had more time to spend with their teens, and social media use decreased while streaming service use spiked. More sleep, quality family time, and less social media use = healthier, happier teens, even in a global pandemic. Check out our recent blog to learn more.
3. Welcome to Zoomtopia
What it is: The livestreaming video call platform is launching a service called OnZoom, which will host live ticketed events with everything from concerts to conferences.
Why it’s a logical next step: At one point this year, Zoom was averaging 300 million live call participants each day (!!!). But up until now, ticketing logistics had to go through a third party vendor, like EventBrite. By selling tickets directly to attendees, Zoom will be in a powerful position in 2021 to add a live event revenue stream to their business model. From the consumer angle, this decision is interesting because it shows that tech experts believe that Zoom poetry slams, prayer meetings, and livecasts are here to stay.
Spotlight: Axis exists to help parents connect with their kids by the transforming power of Jesus. Many parents tell us they’ve found a healthier path because of our resources and our commitment to them. Yet too often, we still hear from parents who are stuck in fear, shame, defeat, and are desperate for hope. Now, due to the impact of COVID, Axis is experiencing a funding shortfall. So we are asking you, the CT faithful, to prayerfully consider helping us bridge that gap. With your help, we’ll continue to provide content to help you connect with your child’s heart, and to help hundreds of thousands of others in 90 countries around the world do the same. We thank you for your prayerful consideration. Please click here to donate!
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
This week on Spotify, rappers Internet Money, 21 Savage, and Pop Smoke were all insistent that listeners understand how much money they have, how many drugs they do, and how many women want them. We were grateful, as always, for these life updates. But nestled among the braggadocio, we were also surprised to find Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams” trending in the top 10, even as high as #6. If your teens have taken a sudden interest in the Mac, it may be because of a potato worker in Idaho who goes by 420doggface208 on TikTok. He went viral after posting a video of himself skateboarding, lip-syncing “Dreams,” and drinking Ocean Spray. Overnight, the #1 hit from 1977 became one of Gen Z’s favorite songs.
It’s hard to say exactly what makes something go viral. Doggface said he almost didn’t even post the clip, and yet clearly things couldn’t have worked out better for him. Hundreds of others swiftly joined in with videos of themselves skateboarding and drinking Ocean Spray; even Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks got in on the trend. But the reason doggface was skateboarding in the first place was because his car had just died; so to help out, fans sent him over $15,000 in donations, and Ocean Spray even bought him a new truck.
It’s exactly these sorts of “anything can happen” moments that make the prospect of being an influencer seem so exciting to Gen Z. But as the sudden popularity of Fleetwood Mac demonstrates, Gen Z doesn’t only care about what’s new and trendy. (Others have written about how Gen Z is obsessed with older sitcoms like Friends and The Office.) And yet given how much emphasis is placed on what’s new about this generation, it can be easy to forget everything we have in common as well.
Gen Z still loves music. They still long for relationships. They still want freedom. They still need salvation. As to why the video took off, doggface speculated, “There’s just too much chaos going on right now... They just needed something to relax to and vibe out with.” So if your teen skateboards, ask them if they’ve participated in the #DreamsChallenge; ask them if they ever have dreams (get it?) about going viral, and how realistic they think that is; or, the next time you’re in the car, just try putting the song on, and see how they react.