Do you miss the days of LiveJournal, Neopets, AngelFire and MySpace? Those are the spaces where social media all began for Jia Tolentino and Charli XCX – but we’ve come a long way from those kinds of spaces of private discovery. The author of Trick Mirror and the pop star are both chroniclers, in their own way, of a generation who grew up online – and, appropriately, came together to discuss the future of social media for the second of our A Future World podcasts, out now.
In the episode, hosted by Dazed Digital’s Editor Anna Cafolla, the duo talk about the pitfalls of the glossy, consistent, economically-driven platforms that we embed ourselves in every day; the dullness, and inaccuracy, of the pervasive currency of authenticity on social media; and the passionate culture and pace of new internet-forged genres like hyperpop. They also gush about the platform that feels at once like it’s the future of social media, as well as a space for freedom more akin to what social media websites used to feel like: TikTok, which Tolentino describes as “genuinely anarchic in the way the early internet was, and certainly in ways Instagram and Twitter aren’t.”
For Tolentino, the conversation with Charli is a meeting of kindred spirits who “use social media the way that we live in the world”: “I think the way that both of us are attracted to social media and to using the internet (is) fundamentally rooted in an approach to the world, which is an energy for being around people. I think both of us have a real hunger for the world, and for creativity, that is reflected in the way we use social media.”
For Charli, the authenticity narrative of social media can be left in the pre-pandemic world. “I’m at a phase now where real is almost boring,” she tells Tolentino, “because it’s that thing that's been recycled and recycled… I now want to see the opposite of that. I want to see the hyperreal, the fantastical, the absolutely avant-garde and out of this world. I don't want to be friends with my favorite pop star. I want to be like, 'Oh my God, they would, like, stomp on me, they’re so sick!’”
Listen to Jia and Charli discuss where next for social media below and listen to our podcast on NFTs here.