The theme for the week is the future of loneliness and the stories focus on everything from how technology is reinventing how we hug to the curious role of social media in creating a new kind of loneliness we feel even when surrounded by people.
Given it was Valentine’s day this week, I felt this would be a fitting topic worth discussing — whether you were lucky enough to have a Valentine this week or not. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this format and theme structure as well!
Story #1 – Remote Hugs And The Future Of Hugging
Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes this story about all the new ways to enjoy the ultimate form of non-sexual physical contact: a hug. There are toys for hugging, remote hugging shirts, cuddle cafes and even “professional cuddlers” who will hug you for an hourly fee. All of this innovation is simultaneously fun and sad to watch, but also offers a reminder that no matter how social technology gets … the healing power of a hug is still universal and very much in demand.
Story #2 – The Traffic Light For Zombie Smartphone Users
If you walk down the street with your head buried in your phone, chances are you don’t make as many serendipitous connections with people. On the more dire side, though, it can also be dangerous. One Dutch town called Bodegraven is trying out a novel solution: pedestrian lights on the ground specifically to be in the line of sight for people who are looking down at their phone while walking. While some are already criticizing the idea as a reward for bad behaviour, others see it as the kind of innovation we will increasingly need to protect us from ourselves.
Story #3 – Boyfriends Of Instagram
This week an Instagram account that was being passed around features a funny compilation of photos honoring the lengths guys will go to in order to take photos for their girlfriends that are presumably destined to be shared on social media. The account shines an interesting spotlight on the truth that sometimes, without a photo, it can seem like a moment was somehow less real … or that we were less a part of it because we didn’t make it into the group photo. Which can lead to what some describe as “social loneliness” – ie, feeling lonely despite being surrounded by people either virtually or in person.
Other Non-Obvious Stories This Week Worth Reading …
- The LEGO Batman Movie Reveals the LEGO Brand’s Growth Potential
- Humans Killed The Aral Sea. Now It’s Come Back To Life
- P&G’s Marketing Chief Just Changed The Media Landscape Forever
- Taco Bell Now Has A Wedding Chapel In Las Vegas
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under-appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this post is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this post interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!