This is not the first year-in-review piece you’re reading and it won’t be the last.
It is fashionable to do a Spotify-Wrapped-esque edition around this time of the year but it’s also good to be aware that you cannot emulate the pop culture significance of a year-ender that shows you the mirror while violins play in the background. With that preemption, let’s look back at our journey of understanding the world of Like.Share.Subscribe through this year.
The (dis)content creators
At the beginning of 2022, we dived into a Reddit rabbit hole and dug out a subreddit, InstaCelebsGossip, that often acts as an “influencer watchdog”. We unpacked a YouTube report around the creator economy to find out whether the data around one of the most lucrative career options of our times can be misleading. We looked at the rising stars of the AR filter creator economy.
Finally, we wrote about how the chaos in the creator egosystem is giving way to a rebellion against the algorithm as more people question if they’re using social media or being used by it.
The vocab update
In a year of so much unlearning, we learnt about lofi, a genre of music that became a pop culture phenomenon thanks to Gen Z. Tried to understand the Gen Z vs Millennial debate over language a little better. Wrapped our heads around the 0.5x picture trend.
We are better equipped to detect instances of sealioning on the internet now, even as we continue to oscillate between team hustle and anti-hustle during online debates.
Our situationship with the internet
Sometimes toxic, sometimes torrid, our relationship with the internet continued to evolve throughout this year.
Looked at how a combination of algorithms and other forces of the internet changed us in multiple ways. We now skip watching popular shows and movies sometimes, because of a proliferation of fan clips on reels and memes.
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We are keener to engage with content from people if it comes with a restricted access label, that is tweets for Twitter Circle and Stories available to Instagram Close Friends. Comments section is the new oil, but at the same time, we’re moving from commenting to reacting with reacjis.
Questioning whether a ‘follow’ on social media should be seen as an endorsement of the person we are ‘following’. Coming to terms with how the second wave of Covid changed our relationship with the internet, and how the algorithm continues to alter our relationship with the last digital footprints of people we lost.
Amidst all this, though, we also found a way to game the algorithm to our advantage. We fought the crusade to give the OG artists of a viral sensation, Kala Chashma, their due. In a sea of trolls and threadbois, we found a few good bots, too. Hope Elon Musk ("great guy") doesn’t suspend them.
Programming note: Like.Share.Subscribe is taking a pause. I will continue to write stories on creator economy and internet culture; just taking a break from the newsletter format for some time. Thank you, immensely, for liking, sharing, subscribing. It has been most gratifying writing a letter to you every Sunday of this year. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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Shephali chronicles how the internet is changing the way we live, and how our changing ways force tech companies to transform themselves. You can write to her on