In Xiaohongshu, anything can become a “lifestyle”

In "Fight Club" released in 1999, the protagonist Jack sits on the toilet with an IKEA product catalog and orders a dustproof quilt cover with a phone to his ear. Looking through home furnishing magazines is his way to seek excitement in his repetitive life.

Today's Xiaohongshu is also like an online lifestyle magazine, but it sells a fresh lifestyle.

What do you think of Little Red Book? Different users may have different answers, such as hardcover model apartment life, advertising posters full of filters, universal life encyclopedias and search engines…

Little Red Book seems to always make a certain concept or phenomenon explode, and package it into a "longing for life."

From internet celebrity sports promoter to lifestyle trend "KOL"

The popularity of City Walk has occupied the entire summer. It is the National Day trip, and various strategies have been released. Some people think this is a pretentious use of foreign words. In fact, it’s not Xiaohongshu. Backpackers were already in City Walk ten years ago.

The contribution of Xiaohongshu is to retain the shell of the word but expand its meaning. The "2023 Xiaohongshu City Walk Trend Report" defines City Walk as "all the behaviors of walking around to find happiness."

▲ Pictures from: 小红书@极影CAM, @元野爱游

In this way, City Walk actually has no deeper connotation than Street Walk. On the other hand, package the walk as a City Walk to make it sound better. At least more people will go out. It is good to be close to nature, and it is healthier than staying at home and sitting for a long time.

Taking advantage of the popularity, Xiaohongshu also created an 11-day "Road Life Festival" in August, moving "life" to 37 roads in Shanghai, and held more than 200 activities, including eating, reading poetry, listening to Music, sharing stories about raising pets, shooting street images…

We cross the road every day, eat, drink and sleep every day, but Xiaohongshu can package a "road life festival".

Isn’t it a bit artificial? Yes. Some people say that City Walk is a downgrade of consumption. If you downgrade, you have to package yourself and flaunt sophistication and fashion. You are right. Looking back at the popular sports of Xiaohongshu, in fact, they all have a similar temperament to City Walk.

Around 2021, outdoor activities such as camping, land racing, and Frisbee began to become popular on Xiaohongshu. Compared with basketball, football, etc., their popularity naturally does not have an advantage, but to some extent, they are all types that lower the practice threshold and are more likely to provide emotional value.

Without practice, there is no right to speak. Take the two sports I have experienced as an example.

▲ Picture from: 小红书@心界 solo club

Land surfboard is a kind of skateboard in a broad sense. In the one-hour introductory skateboarding class experience, the instructor first asked us to play longboarding. After learning the basic movements such as boarding, wave riding, acceleration, and stopping, we could try Lu Chong if we have enough energy to learn. Lu Chong's board is taller and shorter than the longboard, but after learning the longboard, he can do a few strokes.

The coach takes part-time photography in addition to teaching, and many students are also attracted by the photo service known as the "Cool Moments". According to the club knowledge I interviewed, each stage of Lu Chong has different fun. Novices can master the basics of flat ground, and experts can challenge various terrains. They have also held Lu Chong exhibition games in the bowl pool.

Paddleboarding is a water sport. The pre-class instruction is very simple, including how to hold a paddle, speed up, slow down, and turn through paddling, and make sure you have put on a life jacket before entering the water.

▲ Drone shooting results of paddle boards.

If you are like me and don’t have high aspirations and just sit and paddle in a disciplined manner without standing up at the risk of falling into the water, then paddle boarding is just a mechanical physical activity. What is more important may be the scenery on the river bank and the company for chatting. , the crowd of onlookers, and the drones overhead, but don’t forget to go back and do some muscle stretching.

To sum up simply and crudely, these sports still have a certain threshold and amount of exercise. The upper limit can be not low, and it is still interesting to experience it. The dopamine you get from exercise is not a lie, nor is the sense of accomplishment that is useless but makes you feel happy.

But it is undeniable that they put more emphasis on novice friendliness, and photography, communication, and social networking are also indispensable, thus turning into an "Internet celebrity movement" with complete elements one after another.

Although Internet celebrity is increasingly becoming a derogatory term, it also objectively describes the influence of something on the Internet, and online life is always entangled with offline life.

In other words, to describe it in an academic way, that is what Peng Lan, the author of "Introduction to Network Communication," said, Xiaohongshu promotes "media consumption."

Users discover a certain destination or activity on Xiaohongshu, go to experience it offline, and then return to Xiaohongshu to check in, and the cycle continues. It is both a basis for decision-making and a stage for self-expression.

The Xiaohongshu operation team is naturally the driving force behind the scenes. Starting in 2021, Xiaohongshu began to promote content such as camping, Lu Chong, and Frisbee. At that time, these sports were more niche, but Xiaohongshu hopes that through them, users can see how they are different from Douyin and Kuaishou.

In fact, in normal times, Xiaohongshu's official accounts in various vertical fields are also highly active, including "Fashion Potato", "Foodie Potato", "Home Sweet Potato", etc. By participating in the tasks they launch regularly, you can get traffic support and activities from the platform. award.

As the platform accumulated rich and tonal content, Xiaohongshu gradually began to appear as a "KOL" (key opinion leader). Starting from 2020, it will launch a life trend report at the end of each year to provide an overview of 2023. The prediction is to "immerse yourself in real life". At the end of September this year, there is also a prediction of National Day tourism trends.

Xiaohongshu also found the "connection point" between offline and online. As long as offline life changes, whether it is camping or cycling, people will flock in and post, and some will temporarily put away their mobile phones and follow suit. In the future, it will not be surprising to see more internet celebrity movements here.

Useful experience and beautified life

For City Walk, what you will find in Xiaohongshu is not only route recommendations, but also probably clothing guides and film tutorials. In short, they are all "life experiences".

In the past two years, Xiaohongshu has increasingly become a platform for providing life experience, and has even been used to replace search engines such as Baidu.

There is a key node, 2020, the year of staying at home. In February of that year, Xiaohongshu’s daily food content actually surpassed beauty as the “main pillar” and became the largest vertical category. How to prepare a certain dish has become one of the most concerned questions for everyone.

Nowadays, Xiaohongshu’s life encyclopedia attribute has been recognized, and many international students are also heavy users of Xiaohongshu. They exchange internship experiences, pay attention to the latest exhibition information, and research nearby Chinese restaurants on it.

These posts are most in line with the values ​​that Xiaohongshu strives to create: making it possible for ordinary people to help ordinary people.

Of course, on a large platform with more than 260 million monthly users, even the "plain face" life experience still has some exaggeration. In Xiaohongshu, which has enough diverse content, I will also encounter content that makes me frown.

Don’t know what to read or how to read? Xiaohongshu has a large number of reading bloggers, and among them there are many flow-oriented bloggers. For them, the title and cover are especially important.

The title should not simply say "Good book sharing", but should point out what you can gain from reading this book, such as "After reading this book, I suddenly stopped being impetuous." Not to mention the cover, it should create a beautiful, life-rich atmosphere.

The above is just an example to illustrate the two sets of methodologies by which the Xiaohongshu community continues to grow: usefulness and aesthetics. They form a lightweight sharing of life experiences in Xiaohongshu.

"Useful" is not an encyclopedia-style profession, but enough to teach you life experience step by step; "Aesthetics" is not a uniquely beautiful flower on the mountain, but has replicable elements. For example, the most popular template in the first half of 2022 is "iPhone memo-style copywriting".

However, there is also uselessness and beauty in it. Some bloggers don’t change much in their content, cover, and title routines, which makes people suffer from trypophobia.

When I read Xiaohongshu intensively and deliberately choose content related to lifestyle, the information flow can be roughly divided into two categories:

One is how to become better as an individual. Aesthetic accumulation, starting a self-media account, getting to know a brand every day, stupid people must binge watch these variety shows, life advice not to consume in advance, minimalism is another trap of consumerism, photos of idols are of great reference for ordinary people…

The other is how to make life more interesting. Visiting the treasure market, brunching on a holiday, a day of Shanghai City Walk, going to swing dance at an acquaintance’s birthday party, Guangzhou Shamian taking pictures is really amazing, Xiaobu’s Brompton city cycling…

Most of the contents have one thing in common. The information density is not high. It is separated from daily life by a small angle and can be touched by tiptoeing. Some are useful and can be followed; some are as beautiful as shop windows, which can convey a certain "proud" emotional value.

Compared with Zhihu’s surplus of knowledge, Xiaohongshu is actually a surplus of life experience. There are always people who have stepped on the trap earlier than you, realized their dreams, checked into Internet celebrity places, discovered life tips, and then share them in a sincere or exaggerated way.

Life experience is a broad term that cannot be exhaustive, varies from person to person, has no standard answer, and is even difficult to distinguish between true and false. Therefore, it is inevitable that there will be both sincere altruism and understandable posturing.

Ai Faner once interviewed Jimu, a heavy user of Xiaohongshu. She frequently uses Xiaohongshu to search after 2019. When she encounters things she is curious about or unsure about in her life, she will try searching on it, but there are also times when she searches on Xiaohongshu. The experience of being cheated, so I summarized the experience:

Xiaohongshu has a lot of software, but you still need to make your own judgment when it comes to beauty, food store exploration, travel guides, etc.

Selective use and critical adoption are the personal survival philosophy of contemporary social media users.

From selling goods to selling lifestyle

What determines the temperament of a platform more than personal usage habits may be what it chooses to amplify.

In 2020, Xiaohongshu's monthly active users exceeded 100 million, but it was also during this year's user survey that Xiaohongshu realized the negative impact of "fake grass planting". Users believed that the content was vain and exaggerated. In April 2021, Xiaohongshu launched the "Community Convention", clearly proposing the community code of conduct of "sincere sharing and friendly interaction".

The convention is a non-mandatory appeal, so Xiaohongshu also made an article in the algorithm system, adding a core indicator CES (user participation score), which is related to the number of likes, collections, comments, and follows. These indicators reflect the interaction between a certain post and users.

In many cases, interaction can reflect whether the quality of a post is high enough and whether the information is useful. Making better posts more likely to be seen by more people will promote "sincere sharing and friendly interaction" at the algorithm level.

At the same time, the relative decentralization of the Xiaohongshu algorithm has also cultivated the habit of a large number of users sharing their personal experiences.

70%-80% of Xiaohongshu’s traffic goes to the “discovery page”. If the quality is high, a certain note may also receive a high amount of interaction for fans with double-digit "little transparency". When ordinary people's visibility becomes higher, their desire to share increases.

In January 2022, a commercial starring Liu Haoran and Gu Ailing proposed that "the life experiences of 200 million people are in Xiaohongshu" and clearly regarded "useful" as Xiaohongshu's community culture.

In fact, Xiaohongshu was not born to be a collection and distribution center of life experiences or an encyclopedia suitable for searching. Regarding what Xiaohongshu is, Xiaohongshu itself may have been confused for a while, because its definition has been changing.

Xiaohongshu, founded in 2013, started out as an outbound shopping guide. It was originally just an overseas shopping guide platform, with the positioning of "finding good things overseas". Later, it changed its slogan frequently, from "good things from all over the world" to "Good life all over the world" to "mark my life".

Along with this, the content types of Xiaohongshu are also expanding. At first, it focused on overseas shopping sharing, fashion and makeup, and overseas travel. Later, its tentacles extended to beauty, home, mother and baby, food, fashion, and home appliances and digital products. Cover all areas of life in one place.

It is also amid this change that Xiaohongshu has given itself more freedom to advance and retreat. It is not only cultivating good products such as lipsticks, but also recommending good lifestyles.

From selling products to selling lifestyle, Xiaohongshu has put itself in a very clever position.

There is no broader word than lifestyle. Outdoor activities such as camping, Frisbee, and City Walk, and fashionable outfits such as Dopamine, Old Money, and Maillard can all be lifestyles. They may be fleeting as trends, but they are There will be new trends emerging.

More content categories can be broadened, and more traffic can be attracted. More importantly, with a certain lifestyle, you can recommend the products, services and brands behind them, and you are only one step away from consumption.

In other words, Xiaohongshu has always been closely integrated with consumption. From the initial overseas shopping, to the beauty community, to the life guide with general content, it should be the least taboo among the major social applications to "buy, buy, buy." of. Xiaohongshu’s “product planting” initiative started this year actually makes the route from planting to consumption more scientific.

▲ Unlike other platforms, Xiaohongshu users like to ask for links in the comment area.

Lifestyle also means massive life sharing and subjective experience. This is an area where there are no standard answers, nor is it an area where professional bloggers have the final say. Instead, it is a community moat formed by barriers formed by long time and a large number of users.

In Xiaohongshu, everything related to lifestyle is driven by algorithms and conventions, encouraging more ordinary people to share and help each other, maximizing the number and type of experiences, and looking forward to awakening and solving more long-tail, diverse problems. Consumer demand.

In August this year, Xiaohongshu celebrated its tenth anniversary. Xiaohongshu CEO Seiya mentioned in his speech that he hopes that in the future, when people open Xiaohongshu, they can see a "broad big world" and feel a "warm small community."

A large part of those who criticize Xiaohongshu think it is pretentious. This was also the case when criticizing the “new middle class” around 2017. What is the new middle class? Then they are not yet middle class. At most, they are preparatory middle class or marginal middle class. They have developed consumer psychology and cultural literacy, but their economic level has not kept up.

The fact is that in a person's life, there won't be many good enough things to talk about, or even make a ten-minute vlog. Little Red Book goes against the grain and tries hard to live, or at least try to perform.

A platform with more than 200 million monthly active users must have many sides. The platform chooses to zoom in on a certain side, and users can also choose which side to see.

In fact, I prefer to actively search for a certain issue in the search box of Xiaohongshu instead of browsing the recommendation page. Rather than clicking on the exquisite pictures on the cover, I would rather browse topics such as renovating old items, free new exhibitions, and workplace methodology.

Because I prefer to skip all kinds of rhetoric to tempt people to buy, and regard Xiaohongshu as a social observation record to understand other people’s lives and emerging lifestyles. In this way, Xiaohongshu has indeed become my lifestyle dictionary.

It is as sharp as autumn frost and can ward off evil disasters. Work email: [email protected]

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