This week, FKA twigs made a short film for Google Glass that was immediately hailed as awesome by a variety of media outlets. Billboard asked us to: “Watch FKA twigs Make Google Glass Look Really, Really Cool in New Commercial,” Entertainment Tonight said: “FKA Twigs Makes Google Glass Cool In New Video,” The Verge said it was “like stepping into the Matrix,” and Buzzfeed shakily declared: “FKA Twigs Proves That Google Glass Could Maybe, Possibly, Be Cool After All.” In case you've yet to see it, this is what FKA twigs' #throughglass looks like.
As we all know, in San Francisco, Google Glass has come to symbolize tech-related gentrification, white privilege, insane rent increases and, well, obnoxious dicks who throw their weight around in punk rock dive bars. Google Glass is never going to be cool in San Francisco because too much weight and too many rage-inducing social issues are attached to it. All of which makes it easy to forget that, in the rest of the world, people are still on the fence about, and relatively open to, this device.
Outside of SF, most mixed reactions so far seem to balance on whether Google Glass makes you look like a nerd or not, and though privacy issues are being discussed, there's frequently a collective shrug that this is just where technology is taking us. Anyone who hears the term “Glasshole” for the first time finds it amusing, but, arguably, to non-San Franciscans, it doesn't mean all that much.
For Google to hire FKA twigs to direct and star in #throughglass was a stroke of marketing genius because she symbolizes the opposite of everything we San Franciscans hate about Glass. She is edgy and experimental, she is astoundingly creative, she is a gorgeous and fashionable mixed-race woman, and — as all of those headlines at the start of this blog noted — she is impossibly cool. Whether we like it or not, #throughglass is exciting and futuristic and boundary-pushing enough to get the rest of the world to see Google Glass as something that we in San Francisco are finding impossible: a device that could potentially make our lives better and more interesting.
Where many music fans in the Bay lost some respect for twigs this week because of her association with Google Glass, all the rest of the country sees is a partnership that looks and feels more intriguing and forward-thinking than anything Apple has done in recent memory. And if Google can continue to market this device this smartly — regardless of whether San Francisco continues to fight it — it's fair to anticipate the future looking decidedly Glassy.