What in the World—Week of February 6

Wanna make pottery with Seth Rogen?
Airbnb is offering consumers a chance to “get glazed” with noted pottery (and cannabis) enthusiast Seth Rogen though an overnight stay at his creative space in Los Angeles.

According to a release, Rogen is hosting three stays, where he will provide an in-depth look at the creative process that fuels both him and his cannabis company, Houseplant. Guests will also be able to check out Rogen’s own ceramic projects, and relax in the home’s “budding yard.”

“I don’t know what’s more of a Houseplant vibe than a creative retreat at a mid-century Airbnb filled with our Housegoods, a pottery wheel and incredible views of LA,” said Rogen in the release. “Add me, and you’ll have the ultimate experience.”

Cannabis enthusiasts should make sure they bring their own supply, however. According to a note at the bottom of the release, “No cannabis-based products will be made available or provided to the guests during the stays.

This year will be about ‘efficiency’ for Meta
While its history has been marked by privacy and regulatory scrutiny, Meta has largely avoided challenges surrounding its business. That has changed at it finds itself competing in a radically different social media landscape than the one it once dominated.

Following a challenging year that produced its first-ever quarterly drop in revenue, thousands of layoffs, and a marked decline in daily active users on Facebook, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that efficiency will be a priority for the company in 2023.

According to CNET, the company plans to cut underperforming projects, eliminate more middle managers, and use AI tools to enable its engineers to be more productive. “It’s very hard to really crank on efficiency while you’re growing that quickly, and I just think we’re in a different environment now,” said Zuckerberg in an analyst call last week.

While Meta outpaced market expectations with fourth quarter revenues of $32.2 billion, that figure includes charges related to layoffs and other cost-cutting moves. Among Zuckerberg’s 2023 goals is for Meta to become a leader in generative AI. “I do expect that the space will move quickly,” he said.

Netflix and GM to plug EVs in Super Bowl
Netflix and GM are partnering on a 60-second Super Bowl ad promoting the automaker’s EVs as well as Netflix shows including Squid Game, Bridgerton, and Queer Eye.

In one of the teaser ads for the campaign from The Community and McCann, Will Ferrell is shown riding in an EV and talking with one of the masked characters from Squid Game.

It is one of several co-branded spots running in this year’s Super Bowl, according to Marketing Brew. They include a joint effort from Heineken featuring Paul Rudd as his character from the new movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and a spot from Molson Coors in partnership with DraftKings. Netflix is also running a co-branded ad with Michelob Ultra, promoting its golf documentary series Full Swing.  

TikTok gives rise to ‘de-influencers’
High Snobiety has coined a new phrase that is the corollary of the influencer movement: the “de-influencer.” The so-called “de-influencing” trend has gained momentum on TikTok, with the hashtag currently boasting more than 95 million views and a “slew of videos counterbalancing the hype surrounding some of the app’s most-extolled products.”

In one de-influencer video, a TikTokker takes aim at Dior: “Just because you put pretty packaging over garbage, doesn’t mean it’s not still garbage… There are about a thousand other lip oils that will give you the same result.”

The movement potentially indicates a shift in values among TikTok’s plugged-in users, says High Snobiety. “Just months ago, influencers and onlookers alike may have jumped to buy the latest high-tech hair tool or celebrity-approved blush, but now it seems they’re feeling fatigued by the never-ending deluge of stuff pushed at them online.”

Instagram co-founders launch Artifact
Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have launched a new app called Artifact, which The Verge describes as being “like TikTok for text.” In an extensive overview, The Verge likens it to Google Reader reborn as a mobile app, “or maybe even a surprise attack on Twitter.”

Artifact opens on a curated feed of articles from the likes of The New York Times and blogs dedicated to niche topics. Like TikTok, it will use machine-learning to serve users similar posts and stories that reflect their interests.

The app’s beta users are also currently using two features that The Verge said will be “core pillars”: A feed showing articles posted by people that users follow, along with their commentary on the posts; and a direct message in-box allowing people to discuss the posts privately with friends.

Artifact’s emphasis on the written word makes it feel like something of a throwback in today’s social media environment, in which so many of the leading platforms are focusing on short-form video products in the wake of TikTok’s enormous success.

Chris Powell