How Instagram, FedEx and Wordle Hook You

Produced by ‘Sway’

Brands like Gucci, Nike and Ralph Lauren are already flooding virtual worlds like Roblox and Fortnite with digital goods and advertising. But the designer and podcaster Debbie Millman thinks these emergent virtual worlds run the risk of the same problems many see with social media platforms like Instagram — particularly if users are put in environments that lend themselves to comparison. “I don’t know very many people that come away from 30 minutes on Instagram feeling really good about who they are,” says Millman. And she’s not bullish about web 3.0 solving the problem: “That experience in A.R., V.R. is going to ultimately have the same thing happen.”

[You can listen to this episode of “Sway” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Millman discuss the impact — and limits — of brands in shaping our lives and what that means in an age where people increasingly refer to themselves as brands. They grapple with the economy of influencers, the illusions of Insta-happiness and Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta. The two veteran podcasters also swap notes on interviewing, the art of conversation and Wordle.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Credit…Courtesy of Sasha Israel

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected].

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Daphne Chen, Caitlin O’Keefe and Wyatt Orme, and edited by Nayeema Raza; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

Related Articles

Back to top button