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Issue #5 – Playing With Reality – How Generation Z Is Changing The Way We Do Business 🚀🔮🌟

Thijs Pepping
March 31, 2021

Playing With Reality

“Playing with Reality” is the title of our upcoming book on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Playing with Reality is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game. This includes modern phenomena like conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Deepfakes, and fake news, but also virtual humans such as CGI Influencer Lil Miquela and virtual worlds like Fortnite.

The giant container ship Ever Given that has blocked traffic in the Suez Canal for the last week, bringing a key global trade route to a standstill and capturing the world’s attention, was partially refloated as we’re writing this newsletter. It led to a lot of funny memes on all social media channels. It really made us think again. Memes reflect culture, they magnify culture, and they create culture. It made us think about how internet culture and Generation Z have reshaped the world we live in and the way we do business. In this newsletter we look at some of the examples that caught our attention regarding this shift.

For Creators, Everything Is For Sale

A rash of new start-ups are making it easier for digital creators to monetize every aspect of their life — down to what they eat, who they hang out with and who they respond to on TikTok. One of those companies is NewNew, which describes its product as creating a “human stock market.” On the app, fans pay to vote in polls to control a creator’s day-to-day decisions. For example, a creator can use NewNew to post a poll asking which sweater they should wear today, or who they should hang out with and where they should go. The company is building an economy of attention where you purchase moments in other people’s lives, and they take it a step further by allowing and enabling people to control those moments. Strange? Or is it a new way of making a living?

For Creators, Everything Is for Sale – The New York TimesDigital stars are coming up with new ways to make money. Yet fans still hold the  •  Share

For Creators, Everything Is for Sale - The New York Times

Nerf Chief TikTok Officer

It’s a real job. The company Nerf, that creates blasters with foam darts, is looking for a Chief TikTok Officer. Someone who is familiar with the zeitgeist of Generation Z. Of course it’s a marketing stunt, but it might be a job of the future as well. Feel free to apply. “We are looking for a creator who is a Nerf enthusiast, a TikTok extraordinaire, has good comedic timing, and knows how to use a ring light. Is your heart racing? Does it feel like we are speaking right to… you? If you are fluent in this language, this might be a perfect match. We think this job is so cool we were thinking of quitting ours to apply, but we’re still learning the Renegade dance so… ”


10 Trends That Shape The Future Of Commerce

Very interesting report by retail media research startup Future Commerce. Generation Z, which is now the largest generation with 32% of the world population, has never known a time before the internet. They are now joining our companies and with their ideas about memes, games, and influencers they redefine what it means to be a brand, a product and a company. This report sums it all up.

The Young Political Spaces of the Internet

A researcher named Joshua Citarella spent the past four years embedded in what he calls the “young political spaces” of the Internet, gathering a singular body of research on Gen Z’s political appetites. Focussing primarily on platforms like Instagram and messaging apps like Discord, he’s witnessed firsthand a generation quickly learning to embrace hard-core political positions. Fringe beliefs such as anarcho-primitivism or eco-fascism have become familiar ideologiese. For those who think social media is a recently politicized sphere, Citarella likes to point out that, for Gen Z, being online has always been synonymous with being political.

The Young Political Spaces of the Internet | The New YorkerHow a new generation has embraced extreme views  •  Share

The Young Political Spaces of the Internet | The New Yorker

What The Hell’s An NFT?

If Saturday Night Live is making fun of Non Fungible Tokens then something must be happening…


Report: The Synthetic Generation

If you want to know more about Generation Z, about their norms, their values and their behaviour. And how they will effect our society and the way we do business. Please read our report. It’s free.

VINT Summit: The Reality Show

On the 15th of June 2021 we are organizing our yearly summit. This year we try to answer the question how digital technology is changing our relationship with reality. So if you want to know more about deepfakes, virtual humans, cgi influencers, synthetic media, AR, VR and mixed reality, please register yourself. And it’s free!


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.


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