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Cultural Theorist + CyberPsychologist + Marketing Strategist. Zine.KleinKleinKlein.com

Have emoji devolved, flattened or elevated language? Or wait — are they their own language, or an augmentation of our existing one?

While by definition, ‘emoji’ is the combination of two Japanese words: e, ‘picture’ and moji, ‘character’, they act as the substitute of words (🏡 = a house) and as an extension of expression (💀 = I’m dead from laughing or shock). So, are emoji pictographs or gestures? Both. But their real value stems from the latter.

According to Vyvyan Evans, PhD, an expert on digital communication and author of The Emoji Code: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and…


On January 5th, in a Forbes prediction piece for 2021, I forecasted the fall of Robinhood and the rise of Reddit.

Right on.

However, little did I realize how quickly these foresights would manifest, and secondly, how they’d be so intertwined.

The GameStop r/WallStreetBets headlines took the world by storm due to the unexpectedness and speed of the development. In just days, a group of Redditors challenged coveted hedge funds and the historic stock market. The establishment was less fortified than we thought.

But the story was in the works for years.

Beneath our fast-headline veneer of pop culture, a…


How I’m dealing with the loss of a playlist I’d been curating for 14 years

Image courtesy of the author

I remember the first video I watched on YouTube. It was also the first I saved to my Favorites playlist.

Muffins” is an absurdist ad for a bakery, whose long list of muffin flavors descended into bird, fire, and blood. I was 13 years old and it was the funniest thing I ever watched.

That was of course before I came across Charlie the Unicorn.

YouTube became a home where I collected countless creations. I’d later share these discoveries with friends at sleepovers, watching their faces, awaiting cackles of approval. We’d then go off to look for more. …


Finances alone once drove markets. That’s no longer the case.

This week, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy announced the launch of VanEck’s Social Sentiment ETF — its appropriately styled ticker: BUZZ — an index fund investing in the top 75 large-cap stocks based upon whether there’s positive sentiment for those stocks on social media.

Financial performance originally informed a company’s online favorability, but now it’s the other way around. As we’ve seen with Reddit and r/WallStreetBets, online favorability can now inform a stock’s gains.

Leveraging cultural intelligence via alternative data sources to paint a more comprehensive picture of a business…


The cliché goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Which begs the question: what’s the value of an emoji? Sticker? GIF? Meme? Video? Playlist?


Dispo framed and captured the zeitgeist perfectly.

The hyped photo app by YouTube star David Dobrik, which has already raised millions in seed funding, hit its beta-test limit: 10,000 users. Most recently, according to The Information, it attracted a potential $100 million valuation with interest from Sequoia, a16z and Benchmark.

Dispo is what you get when you frankenstein today’s most desired social features: co-creation, community, and raw, unpolished aesthetics.

Emulating a disposable camera, Dispo allows users to point, shoot andlive. Because photos are “developed” the next morning, the app permits users to get back to living in the moment.

While…


Tupperware parties evolved.

From Mommy Bloggers to Momfluencers to moguls.

Journalist Jo Piazza, producer of iHeartRadio’s new original podcast “Under the Influence” declares,

“[Momfluencers are] a multi-billion dollar industry that gets ignored because women are doing it and it’s a ‘mom thing.’ If they were men, they’d be on the cover of Forbes.”

As the most nurturing and selfless symbols in culture, it can also explain why the Momfluencer industry is so contentious: no one’s expected moms to brand themselves and sell out.

But beyond being overlooked and controversial, they thrive on the outskirts of the larger beauty, fashion and…


What none of the 30+ reports brought up, but should have

There’s lost value by just sticking to The Meta Trends.

In subtlety is insight.

By seeking out and examining the fringe, uncomfortable and unspoken, we can identify bigger opportunities and risks. For the first year, I want to call out the regrettably neglected. What didn’t the 30+ reports touch upon?

It’s not to say these overlooked trends are not obvious, many are, but they’re either less sexy, darker or arguably more complex. These are more important, but it’s unfortunately glaring why they’re not used as marketing collateral or studied deeper.

I’m happy to…

Meta = What everyone is discussing

Overlooked…


Top 19 Overlapping Cultural Trends From 30+ Reports

The fourth annual Meta Trend Report synthesizes 500+ trends from 30+ reports, ranking the 19 most frequently reported cultural trends for 2021. Reports come from: Accenture & Fjord, Deloitte Insights Tech, Deloitte Insights Marketing, Dentsu Facebook IQ, Faith Popcorn, Falcon, Ford, Foresight Factory, Forrester, Future Laboratory, Frog, Gartner, Google, GWI, Hubspot, JWT, Kantar, Ketchum, Mintel, Ogilvy Consulting, Pinterest, Spacecadet, Trend Hunter, Trend Watching, We Are Social, WGSN, WEF, Zebra IQ, and more.


If cultural trends are patterns, predictions are derived projections. Trends take an eye for dot connecting, while predictions take accountability. It’s easy to get them wrong. But after a year of intensive trend analysis for some of the largest organizations in the world, I’m confident to forecast the following business moves.

1. Robinhood Sinks Into The Red

This past year, people earning between $35,000 and $75,000 increased their stock trading by +90% the week after receiving their first stimulus check. For many of these new investors their first stop was Robinhood, which signed up 13 million new users. It’s not all golden news. Robinhood users, notably…

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