John McNeil Studio

Trends in Modern Media

JMS Blog

Strategy Sessions unpack a topic of  interest discussed within the JMS strategy team. From business trends to personal passions and everything in between, these conversations spark innovation and help us find new ways of thinking.

This Week's Topic: Modern Media

As public interests evolve, media platforms must constantly shift focus in order to capture and recapture users’ attention. The broad landscape of social media in the golden age of Facebook was one of post-it-all oversharing, then followed by the perfectly-curated one shot wonders of Instagram. More recently, however, trends in hyper-personalized sub-communities have been cropping up across apps, podcasts, and news outlets alike. The funnel appears to be closing, with siloed communities of curated interest reigning supreme. Recently, the JMS strategy team discussed the evolution of modern media, and what audiences want from it.

Read a high level of our thoughts below.

The evolution of social media is bent towards personalization.

From sub-communities on TikTok to refocused social media apps like BeReal (the trending social media app that’s been dubbed the “honest” version of Instagram), social media interaction reflects a desire for more personalized content.

“Social media juggernauts were so focused on being for everyone, where these newer tools are for fostering communities in tinier spaces. It’s bad to silo people entirely, but there is this swing into spaces centered on ‘just for me’ or ‘just for my friends.’” – Laura Ogle, Senior Strategist, Innovations

“If you search for ‘things to do in New York’ on Google, it’s going to be tons of tours and paid things, touristy things, but when you do that on TikTok, it’s actually what individuals are doing, and you can see them do it, and that’s an opportunity that I think is interesting” – Catherine Nolan, Digital and UX Strategist

“There’s no staging, and it also has a timestamp for how long after you received the notification did you post to the app. It’s supposed to “be real,” it’s supposed to encourage you to share what’s actually happening in your life rather than a six-person photoshoot with FaceTune.” – Hannah Barr-DiChiara, Director of Communications and Culture

“There are a lot of apps like this popping up. For example, there’s a relationship version called Paired where you and your partner answer questions, and you’re not allowed to see their answer  unless you complete yours by the end of the day. It’s interesting that the trend now is much more tit for tat, you’re not allowed to see something unless you also engage.” – Laura Ogle

“The limitations of these new apps are more exciting than the abundance of Instagram or Facebook.” – Remi Abbas, Executive Director, Innovations

“The thing that’s making social media more interesting is the casualness of it. So, Instagram taking away likes is another example of that.” – Meeting Guest

“I’ve started using this app called Beli, which essentially is a feed of where your friends have eaten and where they want to eat, so it’s exclusively dedicated to one purpose, as opposed to other apps.” – Claudia Isbell, Junior Strategist

Modern entertainment has captured audiences with the ill-fated personalities frequently featured in the media.

Recent trends in Hollywood illuminate a fascination with cult-like business leaders and eccentric personalities. What does that say about the current culture of entertainment consumption?

“There’s a big appetite for this kind of content; there’s this obsession with schadenfreude. The use of hearsay format is so smart, too. It’s not the direct conversation of ‘this happened to me,’ but ‘this happened to this other person.’” – Sarah Jessee, Strategy Director, Editorial Content

“I read this article about our current obsession with true stories. It started with the OJ series, then went on with Tiger King and all these others. This idea of, ‘let’s judge this basically imaginary person, it’s so satisfying.’”  Catherine Nolan

“The WeWork documentary, then all the Elizabeth Holmes content. All these people who have been idolized and seeing them fall.” – Laura Ogle

The cultural trend of “hyperpop” is manifesting itself beyond the world of music and entertainment.

Hyperpop music is defined as a microgenre of haphazard, maximalist beats, with a self-referential or performative approach to the creation of pop music. It’s been defined as having an earworm quality, with tones that inundate the listener.

Overwhelming sounds of hyperpop mimic the loudness of interior now.” – Daniel Simantob, Junior Strategist

“Do you think the shift towards maximalism is born out of a desire for more fun, more play?” – Sonia Minden, Executive Director, Brand Strategy

“Minimalism is not sustainable either. With two kids and a life and a job, how is it even possible?” – Snow Burns, Executive Director, Social

“There’s an element of distraction at play. When things are too clean, all you have to focus on is your thoughts, there’s not a lot of external stimuli to keep you focusing on other things. Same with the music. If there’s a lot going on, you can’t drift off.” – Laura Ogle

Love to connect? Here are some app recommendations from our team.

For the down-to-earth social butterfly:

BeReal: This app has quickly become the beloved alternative (or for some, supplement) to Instagram, where each day users are prompted to take a “real” photo where both the front and back camera are utilized.

: With no likes and no followers, this app has been popular with the anti-Instagram set. Instead of posting photos of yourself, only your friends can post to your feed, as if you are each other’s “paparazzi.”

For the de facto reservation maker:

Beli: Do you ever wonder where your friends have been dining? And what they think about their newest restaurant finds? This app helps you share your latest restaurant finds with your friends in a feed with scores, bucket list places and more.

For the  discerning bookworms out there:

Tertulia: This new book-finding app launched in early June and has garnered attention thanks to this widely-read New York Times article.

For the “been there before it was cool” city explorer:

The Nudge: This app was founded in San Francisco to help people get out and about in their city, discovering new hikes, experiences, date ideas, and secret spots. It’s since expanded to Seattle, Austin, Denver, and beyond.

Hipcamp: Originally founded as the “Airbnb” for camp sites, Hipcamp has expanded to a full-blown community for off-the-beaten-path camping and exploring.