The Feed: microdosing small joys, shared emotion through dance, and alternative news consumption
This month, The Feed has covered new trends on social, including Gen Z founding the term ‘glimmers’ for life’s small joys, the ‘pinegrove shuffle’ as a collective emotion expressed through dance, and @Nikitadumptruck’s social channels becoming Gen Z’s version of trustworthy media. Read all about them and what they mean in this month’s roundup.
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Gen Z are microdosing life’s small joys and calling them ‘glimmers’
‘Glimmers’ are the little micro moments of happiness that come from everyday occurrences like the warmth of the sun, a kind face on the street, a cuddle from a pet, or the sound of your favourite song. The term is a new-age version of ‘stopping to smell the roses’, and it’s becoming the latest form of therapy-speak to find resonance with Gen Z. It was first coined by social worker turned author Deb Dana back in 2018, and brought to TikTok last year by therapist and influencer @heydrjustine. Now, Gen Z are adopting the term into their vocabulary to help them on their spiritual, personal development, and self-care journeys.
Last year, the #microdosing of psychedelics became increasingly popular as people sought out alternatives to traditional therapies and mental health medications. But during a cost of living crisis, people can’t make the same investments in self-care. Instead, they’re rebranding the little things that already brought them joy – their personal ‘glimmers’ – to find the same feeling of happiness, fulfilment and relaxation without a price tag.
Brands can speak to the ‘glimmers’ that are present in their customer experiences – from the friendly faces in-store, to the joy of clicking ‘buy’ online, and the satisfying sound the packaging makes when its opened.
The ‘pinegrove shuffle’ is Gen Z’s collective emotion expressed through dance
“Pine muthafreaking grove”, reads the caption to Garett Lee’s now legendary TikTok of the Pinegrove Shuffle, the anti-dance dance trend sweeping the platform. Soundtracked to a lo-fi, introspective song by the mid 2010s indie band Pinegrove, the shuffle is an eerie, emotive dance: jerky, flailing arms, legs lunging forward, all while holding a stony facial expression. Described as “the depressed person’s griddy,” the vibe has a lot in common with TikTok trends like corecore that convey existential anxiety. Like corecore videos, it’s created community on the moodier side of TikTok, with compilations of the dance paired with comments like “I love I get to exist with you guys” and “the world may be falling apart, but at least we can pine grove till the very end.”
The Pinegrove Shuffle is showing us more than a collective mood – it’s showing us *how* people share in a collective mood. Whereas previously people might’ve united around a shared feeling through text (eg. a viral tweet) or imagery (eg. an iconic stock image meme), today, TikTok’s influence has made it so that cultural moods are expressed through movement and the whole body.
On social, brands have often focused on expressing a mood through their language or static imagery. But the cult following of the Pinegrove Shuffle shows that, in the context of TikTok’s platform culture, people want emotions to be embodied, not vocalised. For brands, this means that something as simple as an emotive dance – one that communicates feeling through the body rather than through words – can feel more resonant and genuine.
@Nikitadumptruck’s ‘bimbo’ explainers are Gen Z’s version of trustworthy media
New York-based comedian @nikitadumptruck is breaking down difficult political and economic topics ‘for the girls’. The self-proclaimed “professor at bimbo university” covers everything from what legal terms mean, to what’s happening with Trump’s indictment, and whether the war in Ukraine could really lead to WW3 – all while strutting through the streets of New York in pink pom-poms. Unlike most news outlets, she doesn’t expect followers to have a baseline knowledge of politics or finance. Instead, she unpacks current events by filtering them through pop-culture references, internet slang, and misandrist humour – a language that digital natives can easily follow.
Nikita perfectly embodies the ‘bimbo’ archetype that’s already resonating in culture (see: @chrissychlapecka of #bimbotok). Her hyper-femme aesthetic and ‘ditzy’ tone of voice – qualities that would’ve excluded her from traditional ‘pale, stale, and male’ news media – coexist easily with her incisive current affairs commentary. For Gen Z – who are hungry for news but weary of traditional news media – Nikita’s fun, girlish, concise, and pop cultural takes on politics and economics help make her more trustworthy than the alienating professionalism of olds-school media gatekeepers.
When engaging with complex or serious topics, like politics or technology, brands often aim to speak with authority. But Nikita’s resonance shows that Gen Z’s understanding of what qualifies as an authoritative and trustworthy voice is changing – and brands would do well to embody (or partner with) this new flavour of credibility.