Peacocking is a Hell of a Drug

There are 2 major social trends happening right now.

The first is the desire for intimacy, and the second is the desire for attention. Last week I wrote about intimacy (see The Age of Intimacy) and today let’s talk attention. Both might sound conflicting but they speak to core fundamental human needs; acceptance, validation.

Andy Warhol said that, in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Today, Josh Harris says, people don’t just want 15 minutes in their lifetimes, they want 15 minutes of fame every single day.

I call it internet peacocking, creating content to grab attention. Hey, I’m not blaming you or me, it just turns out, that throwing that Instagram photo up, letting the likes rack up feels pretty great. It’s natural. Instagram with its filters originally was built with peacocking in mind. Here’s a tool to make your you or your life look more awesome, um… I’m totally sold!

Not only can you receive attention today, but you’ve got lightweight ways to get it (someone saw your story) to medium weight (someone liked your post) to a bit more heavyweight (someone DMed you). Social products of the future will incorporate multiple ways to engage.

Social software constantly evolves as we evolve. Mobile photos on Instagram was a way for us to highlight the cool parts of our life. Stories was the highlighter every single day. But in this attention-age, likes, comments from your friends aren’t enough. People want to be seen and have their chance at getting Kardashian famous. So now, there is a new kid on the block.

Tik Tok is a Chinese based company that allows you to create short music videos very similar to Tik Tok launched less than 2 years ago (!) and has 500 million monthly active users and 150 million daily active users (!!). The majority of their users are under 25. It’s popular primarily in China, Indonesia and Thailand.

People create short videos (mostly funny and dance), add music, add effects. Tik Top opens the app to the discover page which showcases a mix of popular and up-and-coming videos. The draw is there is a chance you can earn that spot.

How it works

Tik Tok’s app DNA is really gen-z. It’s video and attention driven. People want to be heard and I expect Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter to incorporate more ways to peacock.

On average people are spending more than one hour to create 5–15s videos. It seems to me that peacocking is a hell of a drug.


Greg Isenberg

Instagram, Twitter