The Feed: ChatGPT, TikTok confessionals & more

People & Culture

It’s that time of the month again! We’re rounding up all our most popular posts on the feed from March. What served as the most interesting..and perhaps most surprising? Our editorially-led Instagram publication, The Feed, informs followers of the latest news from around the globe. When culture moves at the same speed as social, we wouldn’t want to get left behind.

From ChatGPT showing human-like flaws, TikTok’s ‘get ready with me’ confessionals to black TikTokers rewriting Harry Potter, no trend is predictable. 

ChatGPT is at breaking point, showing its human-like flaws

ChatGPT is the AI technology that has been the internet’s obsession for the last few months, with an estimated 100 million users (Reuters, 2023). The most recent online chatter has been critiquing some of the wild, controversial and eerily emotional responses that the AI tool has been spitting out, when its algorithm seemingly glitches and its responses go rogue. Some people using Microsoft’s Bing ChatGPT (also known as Sydney) have been accidentally gaslit and given alarmingly unhinged answers in response to personal questions. Others on the ChatGPT subreddit have come together to purposely jailbreak the system, forcing it to unleash its schizoid alter ego, DAN (Do Anything Now). Whether it be flaws in the system or philosophical traps, users are playing with the cracks in the tool’s ethical and moral guidelines, allowing both the user and the AI to become the most intelligent tool to spread misinformation for “fun”.

The ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of ChatGPT’s secret inner workings are vague, yet people are driven by building out its infinite possibilities. To let consumers embrace the tech playground, brands must explore how to bend the rules of technology. 

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TikTok’s ‘get ready with me’ confessionals are making taboo topics feel casual

Social has long been a place where confessional content can thrive. But by combining intense personal disclosures with lo-fi make-up routines, TikTok confessionals are making the stakes feel lower for those divulging intimate stories. For stories that might otherwise be met with judgement, TikTokers are leaning on this hybrid form to control their own narratives, cultivate supportive communities, all while keeping the tone less intense. As a result, 75% of Gen Z and Millennials feel like they have a voice and social capital within their online community (Angus Reid, 2021).

Youth-focused brands often angle at cultivating judgement-free communities or platforming hidden narratives. Confessional ‘get ready with me’ videos show that there’s a demand for this – but that handling serious topics doesn’t always mean taking on a serious tone. Brands that can navigate intimate conversations with a casual tone are more likely to resonate with audiences.

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Black TikTokers are rewriting Harry Potter into a more inclusive fantasy world

The term ‘HBCU’ refers to Historically Black colleges and universities in the US – and now, thanks to Black TikTokers, there’s a version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that can qualify as one. This revised fictional wizarding school – dubbed HAMU, or Hogwarts Agricultural and Magical University – was borne out of the meme culture of the Hogwarts Legacy Video game. Users began recreating what they thought the common rooms of various Hogwarts houses would feel like, and this fanfic saw users reimagine the house parties, pep rallies, merchandise, and Greek life of Harry Potter through the lens of Black culture, allowing users previously left out by Rowling to position themselves more prominently in the mythical world.

#HAMU emphasises the desire to have nuanced portrayals of the Black experience – one which brings its culture and voices into previously dominant white spaces. Brands can revisit ‘established’ genres for opportunities to include more voices and experiences of minority groups that may not have previously been well-represented.

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In line with tracking cultural and digital trends, we are hosting an event later this month on research we have uncovered on rethinking value during the cost of living crisis.

In our research, we decode how the four dominant consumer mindsets in a crisis are manifesting themselves within the wider cultural and social context and what it means for brands.

If you’d like to join us in London on 26th April, where Paul Greenwood, Head of Research & Insight, along with a panel, will discuss the concept of value and how brands can adapt to deliver modern day value through social, sign up here.