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hype_cast: volume four

hype_cast: volume four

Deanna Wong

September 21, 2023

Hello! We’ve been gone for longer than expected, but we’ve been working on some new content (check out The Manual)! Since it’s been a hot second since our last issue of hype_cast, it feels appropriate to reintroduce the how’s and why’s of this blog series. 

Welcome to hype_cast, our series where we discuss all things internet culture and tech industry - with a splash of humor. Each topic discussed is also ranked by our totally biased Sadie Scale. (What are the metrics behind each score? 🤷🏻‍♀️! We go off of vibes and ✨ in this house. )

AI, ChatGPT, Firefly, etc.

Throwback to hype_cast issue no. 1! You’re talking about it. I’m talking about it. Our mom’s are probably talking about it. AI is the topic that everybody just won’t shut up about. 

But why are we still talking about it? Because we might finally be out of the Trough of Disillusionment and onto the Slope of Enlightenment. More and more technologies and services have touted adding AI to their features. 

Here at Manual Labor, we’ve been testing out a few things! Here’s what we’ve liked so far:

OpenAI’s ChatGPT for: 

  • Brainstorming, recaps and ideating
  • Copy editing for grammar best practices* 
  • Writing outlines
  • Reviewing code 

Firefly and Adobe’s Generative Fill for: 

  • Quick fixes to remove and rerender backgrounds
  • Text to image for creative visual assets
  • Text effects for applying textures to words

Here’s a peek at just one of many slack Screenshots of us testing out ChatGPT.

Screenshot of a flowchart outputted by ChatGPT.
Only a portion of the output from the prompt “create a flowchart for the process of following up with a CEO for approvals.”]

Some other tools we’re excited about: 

  • AI For image al-text - a feature announced at Webflow’s product update webinar
  • Meeting transcriptions - OtterPilot™ your meetings with AI

All to say, we’re looking forward to using tools that reduce time spent on tedious tasks. We are taking back that time to invest in creative ideating and communicating with each other. 4/5 Sadie’s - We are cautiously optimistic that the robots are not currently ready to take over our jobs.

Twitter’s underweight rival: Threads 

Threads! It came, we tried, and it failed to conquer. With hopes of welcoming unhappy Twitter users into the Meta-verse, Threads launched during July, acquiring 100 million users within 5 days of launch. But the hype didn’t last and daily users have since dropped to about 8 million daily active users (metric as of Sept 2023)  - an 82% drop since it’s peak. 

Here are a few of the Pro’s and Con’s our team noted during the first few days post launch:

  • Pro: Integrates seamlessly with Instagram  <>  Con: The same Instagram spam with fewer pictures.
  • Pro: Familiar UI, visually a sibling to Instagram  <> Con: Features are limited and your feed is curated algorithmically without the ability to see only the people you follow. 
  • Pro: It’s not Twitter!  <>  Con: Yet ANOTHER app for doomscrolling  

Threads post from buzzfeed with image of chef from The Bear yelling "INSTAGRAM, TIKTOK, SNAPCHAT, FACEBOOK, REDDIT, TWITTER, THREADS."
Thread post from @buzzfeed

Now we’re two months in and Google will autocomplete your Threads query with “Is Threads Dead?” 

Down but not ready to throw in the towel, Instagram has also started including a “For you on Threads” carousel on the main instagram feed. Because what else could be missing from our social media? Obviously, the answer is more recommended content!

Over in Twitter land (because we are stubbornly unable to pivot to “X”), we saw a chaotic rebrand with fun highlights that included giant, glowing LED signs and stolen account handles. But what’s most shocking is the smaller than expected drop in daily users on the now infamous app. A drop of only 4% after 2 weeks is far smaller of a drop than expected for how negatively this rebrand was talked about! 

Sorry to Threads, but it’s 1/5 Sadies from me. Going up against Twitter is definitely not a fair fight but app engagement can be a bit of a test against user inertia. Users who’ve stayed on an app will likely remain on the app until an external force impacts the app. 

✨Girl Dinner✨

If 2021 was about charcuterie boards and 2022 - tinned fish date night, 2023 is the year for Girl Dinner. Girl dinner as defined by the general populous of the internet is a dinner comparable to a “medieval peasants' dinner.” This TikTok trend (as started by on-strike writer Olivia Maher), backed by a now ubiquitous soundtrack - quickly became viral. Millions of plays and thousands of remixes later - it went from TikTok meme to actual news. 

A screen grab from a Google Trends newsletter. Aug 17, 2023

With so much much engagement - articles covering “Girl Dinner” were popping up on main stream news outlets - New York Times, The Washington Post,  and even CNN. Truly, a meme has gone full mainstream when The New Yorker is riffing on it for The Daily Shouts. 

I’m sure you’re asking - what foods are in a “girl dinner”? Here’s a few identifiers:

  • Simple assortments of foods - think breads, cheeses, fruit, and a glass of wine. 
  • Minimal cooking and dishes. If we can get it down to one or no plates, all the better!
  • Made for one! After all - it’s “Girl Dinner” not “Group Dinner.”

But the best summation and definition comes from Maher herself via New York Times: 

“For Ms. Maher, it’s less about the content of the meal than the feeling around it. “The girl dinner is a giddy experience,” she said. “You could be having the slice of frozen pizza, but you’ve also got maybe a glass of wine and some grapes to go with it. And you’re just so pleased with yourself. You’re like, ‘I barely worked for this and it feels like an indulgence.’ That’s what makes it girl dinner.””

5/5 - Scoring high on the Sadie scale. We love a trend that’s fun, wholesome and leaves room for ironic memes! (For a great chuckle, search “Boy Dinner” to see the antithesis of “Girl Dinner”)

So we covered AI, Threads and Girl Dinner for our hype_cast comeback! Definitely a mix of trending items but “Girl Dinner” has taught us that it’s all about variety and enjoying what we’ve got! We’ll try to be back soon, with even more hype_cast worthy internet and tech tidbits, but if you’re looking for more awesome content, subscribe to The Manual - our monthly newsletter! 

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