nostalgia

It's #TimehopperSays week!

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You submitted your best jokes, and we put 'em in Timehop.

A little bit ago we asked you to submit some jokes for Abe to say at the end of your Timehop day. Turns out, y'all are v funny and we had hundreds of thousands of submissions! Thank you!

Seriously, we spent hours enjoying them all. They were funny, and absurd, and heartfelt, and they’re now all in Timehop!

For the next two weeks, Abe is telling all your best jokes exclusively. Maybe you'll get your amazing one liner, or maybe you'll see someone else's witty pun. It's different every time you open. And just so you know, we had:

2,089

Knock Knocks

135,000

Submissions

135

references to potato

3,853

dino jokes


BUT, before you check your app, we wanted to highlight some the team's absolute favorites. Here are some staff picks for our favorite jokes.

Aly’s Fav

Velcro... what a rip off!

Avi's Fav

How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Ten Tickles! (tentacles)

Carissa's Fav

Why did I skip the gym? Because I was dinosore. Leave me alone.

DaviD's Fav

Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

Dmitry's Fav

I used to hate pickles but now I relish them

Inder's Fav

The brain named itself!

Jason's Fav

Watermelon, Firemelon, Earthmelon, Airmelon. The Elemelons.

Keenen's Fav

So what if I don’t know what “Armageddon” means? It’s not the end of the world...

Lila's Fav

I went to the same pre(historic) school as Little Foot

Marc's Fav

Why did the physics teacher breakup with the biology teacher? Because they had no chemistry.

Mark's Fav

Everyone thinks I’m a tea-Rex but I prefer coffee

Matt's Fav

I own the world’s worst thesaurus. Not only is it awful, it’s awful.

Meryl's Fav

What do you call a guy with a rubber toe? Roberto

Rick's Fav

On the other hand, you have different fingers


Timehop on Spotify

I guess you can say BYE BYE BYE to any last shred of the SOUND OF SILENCE because Timehop is now on Spotify! We thought YOU OUGHTA KNOW that...

Now, You may be thinking, WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE? We have no idea, we're trying to talk about our new playlists here, so can you FOCUS

We 100% guarantee you'll be JUMPIN', JUMPIN' as soon as you hit play. Just as long as you don't jump in the shower, we wouldn't want you TUBTHUMPING your head.

Everyone's gonna WANNABE at your party now! So follow us on Spotify, and if you need a place to start, we recommend Queens of Pop list because MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN.

Follow us on Spotify!


How media companies engage a distracted audience

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Aka how far into this article will you switch to puppy videos?

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy called 1992, Robin Williams starred in a movie about a toy factory. They called this movie “Toys”, which was not a clever name for a movie, but it was descriptive. The movie had a lot of toys, and in that year, Matt was all about it.  And so it was, that on a recent rainy Saturday (ok fine it was a perfectly nice day out), I fired up Netflix and searched “Toys.”

And thus, my adventure down the rabbit hole began…

First there was a documentary about the toys we grew up with in the 80’s.  Then an international film about a toymaker coping with his own mortality. Oh look, a Kevin Smith documentary about those little vinyl figures. Hey, a Netflix short-form series about eSports (I guess this is a toy.).  And the cartoons. So many cartoons. It was overwhelming, and I hadn’t even checked HBO. So I did what most people do, I put on an episode of Queer Eye that I’d already seen twice.

Choices are good, I’m not here to convince you otherwise. There are 500 original scripted TV shows and 750 reality TV shows in production right now. A fifth of those scripted shows were created by Netflix which, didn’t even have original programming until a few short years ago. That’s wild.

It almost makes me wistful for what the early days of television must have been like. Programming was simple. Morning cartoons, daytime soap operas, and prime time entertainment ran like clockwork, based on an average demographic of age and gender.

Not to mention if you missed it, you missed it. There was no ghostly haunting of a new show moaning through through the rafters of your queue every time you sat down to ponder what to watch next before someone spoiled it. (Too dramatic?)

I don’t know how they measure the attention span of a goldfish - Ani DiFranco once described it as “the little plastic castle is a surprise every time!” - but they say ours is even shorter. We’ve got mountains of everlasting new content every day, and if you’re one of those people looking to tell a new story you’re definitely struggling with how to find your audience.

I talked to a few publishers who are tackling this problem in a few different ways. Because audiences vary across mobile, TV, desktop, and voice-enabled platforms, they’ve been repurposing their content to adapt.  But, they haven’t lost sight of that balance of emotionally driven, human content that can learn from the data and technical capabilities we have in 2018.

So what is this? A better channel? A new approach? What does it all mean, Basil?

Screens? Where we’re going, we don’t need screens…

Yes, much of our consumption is on a screen somewhere between 3” and 70” (should you be so lucky). But think of the new platforms we’re seeing become viable in just in the last few years with chatbot APIs and new voice UI devices already crowding the market. It’s hard enough to perfect an existing channel, let alone figure out a new one.

“Today consumers have more choice than ever before when it comes to how, when and where they consume content. They’re either getting a daily app news debrief while commuting on the subway or streaming a football game via tablet while waiting in line at the airport,” said Sean Galligan, Vice President & Industry Lead, Tech & Telecom, Verizon’s Oath, referring to a Pew Research Center report that found the median U.S. household contained five devices: smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets or streaming media devices.

“In order to stay relevant and top of mind when today’s consumer has all of these choices, brands have to build the best premium experiences. That means creating killer mobile content, trusted mobile data that performs, and mobile-first ad tech.”

Of course, what works in one place might not in another, and that’s important to remind yourself, said Chris Papaleo, Executive Director of Emerging Technology at Hearst.  

“We’re very focused on imagining what platform a person is engaging the content. What day that user is likely to encounter this content and what content format works for the device they’re using,” said Papaleo. “You can’t create one piece of content and put that everywhere. It’s very much about content that’s native to the platform. Even Facebook and Snapchat have their own unique characteristics that make our thinking about content on those platforms very different from how we might work elsewhere.”

The smart publisher views this state of affairs, not merely as a challenge, but as an opportunity. Every new platform presents an awesome new creative outlet. (Like a 4D movie with smell-o-vision!)

“The choice and variety of available devices today isn’t all doom and gloom for content creators. It’s an opportunity to connect with audiences at multiple touchpoints, like never before,” said Oath’s Galligan.

Papaleo echoed the sentiment.

“On the more established, mainstream platforms, like Snap and Facebook, it’s about reaching our existing user base where they are,” he said. “Since voice-enabled platforms are still emerging, we can potentially reach a wider audience as we position ourselves to be a quality experience that gets surfaced in response to an organic user question.”

For example, Hearst has a product called “My Beauty Chat” on Amazon’s Alexa, which Papaleo refers to as a “beauty focused content experience on voice.” It draws on the expertise of Hearst’s beauty editors across multiple magazine titles such as Cosmo and Marie Claire. If someone asks Alexa to give them a beauty tip, Alexa might surface up that content. “We believe if it is going to be more convenient for users to search with their voice, rather than type it into their smartphone keyboard or on some other screen, we need to figure out the best pathway to get our information to the user.”

I am a human and I have emotions

So to recap: we’re no longer tracking viewership in Nielsen watching journals (Which is good, I don’t need a paper trail on my Drag Race watching habits #TeamMonet). Detailed statistics on viewership are now the norm, and it means you’ve seen a lot of content driven by knowing just what gets viewed.

Demand Media has created tons of “How to” stories based on the questions most asked online, for example, “How to tie a bow tie.” (Spoiler alert: I still don’t know!) At one point, Demand Media dominated the top of Google searches for most “How to” questions.

Topix leverages a similar methodology, but takes it even further. Their stories aren’t driven by a news cycle, but by emotion.  How do they put their finger on the emotional pulse of their audience? They distill it from their 50 top-grossing stories.

“We identified four emotions that were driving the most engagement: nostalgia, schadenfreude, pride of knowledge and humor,” said Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix. “As opposed to using data to build a relationship with an individual, or deliver more personalized stories, we’re using data that can resonate with a broader population. Since then we’ve produced stories on a small budget that alone have generated three quarters of a million dollars due to the fact that, in this case, the content made people feel nostalgic.”  

As an example, stories that have a historical angle can make the reader feel nostalgic. And nostalgia is a super powerful emotion (we’re not biased at all…). Moreover, stories made to be timeless can evoke these same feelings repeatedly.

“We’re not going to create anything that’s ephemeral,” said Tolles. “If it can’t be interesting a year or a decade from now we’re not going to write about it. Cinderella doesn’t go obsolete; we’re looking at creating things like that and then use data to fine-tune the content for the audiences that are interested.”

Tolles pointed out that this approach to content production is more like following a recipe. It’s a utilitarian form of creativity, not solely artistic, he suggested.  

“I came from a background of selling packaged software. If you have a media publication background, you don’t look at stories as stand-alone products, but rather ongoing articles that lose relevance over time,” said Tolles. “For us, we’re trying to make sure people stick with our stories because they have the best emotional connection possible and for as long as possible, which then turns out to be very, very profitable.”

We must go deeper

To every yin, there is a yang. Such is the balance of life. And so it is that for every Topix, there is an Oath. In contrast to Topix’s utilitarian approach, Oath strives to create deeper reader relationships with it's trusted brands. Take for example Tumblr, a platform that creates and cultivates communities of people around specific shared interests. Fun fact: Tumblr’s audience - of which 75 percent are under 34 years old - creates one billion posts a month.

“As a user-led platform where voicing one’s opinion and creativity is encouraged, Tumblr’s community especially rallies around a spectrum of topics from entertainment to activism, allowing its audiences to not only go deeper with content but to connect with others [who are like-minded],” said Oath’s Galligan.

“Not only do users want to go deeper with digital content, brand, character and community but brands must build and reflect that affinity. What audiences are looking for is simple: brand love.” said Galligan.

In a recent study aptly named the Brand Love Index, they called out six key drivers of brand loyalty.  Among those drivers is the ability to set trends and take a strong stance on values. According to the study, “people want to be seen using brands that share their values (representing 12% of brand love globally). In the U.S. however, this drives 14% of brand love, more than almost anywhere in the world.”

In other words, if a brand reflects the values of its community, the audience is more inclined to like them. Not exactly a hot take, but it’s important to remember as we witness the polarization of news sites and the increasing number of publications willing to partake in conversations previously deemed… icky.

Pulling It All Together

Now, pair all of that brand-talk with all that new-platform-talk we made earlier. Brands are now willing to have more meaningful conversations, on platforms that feel even more personal. With robot mouth voices!

“The personalized experience is something that’s exciting to be able to do on voice platforms that I don’t believe you have the ability to do when you’re just publishing content on the Internet. That’s one powerful way that we see more personalized experiences evolving though we’re at the early stages of that,” said Hearst’s Papaleo.

“The difference between voice platforms, like Alexa or Google Assistant, vs simply listening to podcasts is the interactive nature of the voice platforms,” Papaleo added, suggesting a person can reveal a lot more about themselves through a conversation. “A small thing we’re starting to build now is tailoring our messages based on someone’s prior engagement with our products though we need a lot more people on those platforms using the products before we have a really great sense of how that pushes the product vision forward.”

And In Conclusion...

Content is tough.

Engaging, emotional, raw content is even tougher.

And there’s no easy answer, but there are a ton of new tools and platforms that sometimes seem to take over so quickly that we forget to take a step back and really think creatively about how we can use them to better connect with people.

The moments when people are engaged with your content are happening more often and in entirely new ways. But even more so, they are happening more and more at the same time.

These goldfish are easily distracted, and these goldfish are your audience. You have to know them really, really well - even down to their goldfish values. If years ago, the lack of options made consumers beholden to the whims of creators, that script has completely flipped.

And that means putting a whole lot of effort into those little plastic castles.


Society's obsession with nostalgia

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Making an oldie a goodie to create a brand-spanking new adventure

We’re often told that if you want to move forward, don’t dwell on the past. Rather learn from it and live in the present since the past can’t be changed. Yet more often than not, people find themselves getting lost in their past experiences; the idealized versions of their memories both good and bad.

Here at Timehop, we obviously see the power that old memories have and their ability to shape our future. We’ve been reliving our awkward school photos for years, so it’s no surprise to us to see nostalgia back in vogue.

This fixation on our past is big business, just ask Hollywood. More than 60 percent of the top grossing movies released between 2005 and 2014 were adaptations, sequels, spin-offs or remakes. NBC, Fox and Netflix are bringing back shows, such as Will & Grace, The X-Files, Prison Break, Heroes, 24, One Day at a Time and Arrested Development. Advertisers also leverage nostalgia marketing: remember Domino’s Pizza ad last year with the guy from Stranger Things playing Ferris Bueller?

While we’ve seen a lot of success, bringing fan favorites back isn’t always easy. We’ve seen plenty of cases where something goes wrong and the remake lacks the same heart as an original. We saw the difficulty with the first remake of Planet of the Apes, a big-budget version of The Lone Ranger, and don’t get me started on I Love the 2000’s.

So how exactly do you make an oldie a goodie? It‘s a subtle balance of understanding why nostalgic content seems to have exploded; knowing how to re-engage original fans while creating a new generation of them; and overcoming the challenges in knowing when and how to use old-time favorites.

Technological change driving nostalgia

The 70s. What a decade. We saw the birth of the floppy disk, the mobile cassette player, and yes that brick-sized mobile phone. It was a time when more and more technology was brought to the consumer. During that decade, shows like Happy Days and movies like American Graffiti pulled in audiences yearning for the perceived simplicity of the 1950s. In those moments of collective progress when we see a new future opening up, we reminisce, perhaps as a way of making sure we don’t lose some essential part of ourselves even as we evolve.

I think it’s cyclical,” said Fell Gray, Executive Director of Verbal Identity at global brand consultancy Interbrand, a subsidiary of Omnicom. “I look at it as part of the next stage of technology that we are embarking on and imminent in the next few years with changes to the Internet of Things, and machine learning and voice interaction changing a lot of our behaviors. It seems natural for us to want to connect back to things that feel emotionally resonant and sometimes comfortable terrain.”

In other words, the nostalgia boom may be so prevalent because we’re in another age of fast technological innovation, with advancements in spaces like virtual reality and, most notably, artificial intelligence. The world has seen amazing leaps forward in the last 25 years; the world we live in now would be almost unrecognizable to someone from 1992. Yes, 1992 was 25 years ago.

Now things are ready to take off in an unprecedented way, and people may find some amount of comfort in what’s familiar. This sentiment was echoed by Todd Shallbetter, COO of Atari.

“Life has become so mile-a-minute and rapid-fire with our handheld devices and content overload, I think there’s a certain yearning and wistfulness to return to some of those comfortable, simpler experiences,” said Shallbetter.

If technology is sparking the need to hold on to the past, it’s also facilitating the ability to do so as well, noted Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends at YouTube.

We are in an era of increased engagement with nostalgia because of technology and digital media, essentially because of platforms like YouTube, social media platforms and Timehop,” he said. “There’s this broad accessibility to so many different types of content: snippets of movies that studios upload to YouTube or snippets uploaded to Giphy, images posted on image sites, which all allow for those kinds of connections to the past. At the same time, there’s now access to so many moments relevant and personal to us. And we’re enabled to experience nostalgia in our own way with our own moments.”

We’re journaling more of our lives than ever before. Technology has brought us to where we are now in terms of both wanting to, and being able to, relive the past in ways we have never been able to before.

Tapping loyal fans; gaining new ones

If we’re living in a time of yearning for the past, all you have to do is serve up old content with a few twists and fans will be forever fans, right?. Well, not so fast. If you’ve ever actually spent time on the internet, you know that hardcore fans have passionate opinions. The memories they’re attached to are an expression of themselves and any perceived threat creates unease and friction.

“I think part of my identity, and how I see myself, was shaped by the entertainment that influenced me at different points in my life,” said YouTube’s Allocca. “The new Blade Runner just came out and it’s not just that I love the whole aesthetic and incredible art of that film, but also I want to see it because I see myself as someone wanting to be associated with that film. I think that a huge driver of social interaction is expressing ourselves and expressing our identity and I think nostalgia content is part of the story of ourselves and sharing it allows us to share that story with other people.”

In other words, fans have an extreme emotional attachment to the content and an idealized and possibly lofty version of it in their minds. They have years of personal experiences to wrap around something as simple as an old movie. Attracting new fans is hard enough, meeting the expectations of the old ones is far more complex, requiring a deep understanding of its value and some clever tuning to modernize.

For example, Atari bridged generations of Barbie fans by incorporating newer elements [a more modern game] with older content [Barbie characters]. Atari recently did a Barbie integration inside Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch, one of the company’s mobile games. In the Fall Barbie event, players could add attractions to their theme park inspired by old Barbie toys. They we’re able to reconnect with the fans who grew up with these toys, now parents themselves, and reach a whole new generation.

“It worked quite well as a way to generate multi-generational nostalgia,” said Atari’s Shallbetter. “We know we’re not going after that three-to-five-year old girl but, in fact, we’re going after the mother who’s collected Barbie dolls her whole life and who has a fantastic 1968 Cher version.”

Bridging these generations requires a keen sensibility to cultural changes and market shifts.

“I think the secret sauce is really paying attention to the marketplace more than anything and analyzing your products or services or ideas against that marketplace and deploying as best you can with those influences in mind,” Shallbetter went on to say. “In developing products we will look at market competition or other games that we respect in the business, either for their financial performance or artistic excellence. And we may adapt our development ideation around what’s working well.”

The challenges of making nostalgia work

Beyond just appealing to original fans, there are other challenges in making nostalgia work, particularly in advertising. This has less to do with older content itself and more to do with how it’s being used.

What shouldn’t you do? Using nostalgic content as a shortcut or as a way of covering up for lack of a real message for a brand will likely fail, said Interbrand’s Gray. “Where it’s thoughtfully done is when a brand has already established a clear point of view and a clear emotional connection with their audience, then nostalgic content can be used as a bridge to another generation.”  

And then there is the risk of a legacy brand appearing out of touch by trying to tap into nostalgia where it doesn’t belong. The "How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” problem, as I call it.

“If you’re a heritage brand, and your legacy is seen as old or tired, then tapping into that may feel tone deaf to what people are telling you. It may be more an opportunity to first start and look at the experiences you’re creating and that may be a way to find new relevance rather than looking back to go forward,” noted Gray. “I think there are some cases where if you’re looking across brands where there’s heritage and there’s already an existing behavior where people are harkening back or reapportioning some of the artifacts, symbols or content of your brand, if that behavior is already starting then I think there are thoughtful ways that you can feed that and encourage that and help that carry you into new conversations, new points of view,” she said.

Creating a ‘brand-spanking new adventure’

Whether it’s a blurry photo from our phones camera roll, an old and seemingly mundane tweet, or the cartoon you watched non-stop as a kid, it’s no debate that nostalgia has become a powerful emotional connector.  Some say it’s a driving force of our behavior as we seek to attach ourselves to idealized versions of our past to thereby bring them forward. Others, like us at Timehop, believe it’s one of the best ways to learn and grow from our personal and collective experiences. Apparently, we all do this. And we’ve been doing this since the beginning of time.

You might have heard this before, “What has been, will be again. What’s been done, will be done again. There’s nothing new under the sun.” It originated in the Ecclesiastes book of the Bible, re-hashed in a Shakespearean sonnet, and has been echoed ever since. It may seem to paint a bleak picture of monotony, but we think there is actually beauty in this sentiment. In contemporary parlance, we hear: “What’s old is new, again.” Everything gets a second chance with new experience and purpose.

This is not a message to rely solely on the old. It is an appeal to embrace the power that memories have to transport us. It is that nostalgic connection that can take something like an 80’s cassette tape mix and use it to take us on a completely new journey in 2017. Just look at Guardians of the Galaxy, the sequel. As one movie critic observed: Guardians of the Galaxy “was definitely the Marvel movie to beat… until Vol. 2 came out… offering the same blend of winning ingredients, but amping up the story… the result is a brand-spanking new adventure.”