One evening, as he sat at the screen watching retweets blossom from his promotional competition announcement, he received a direct message flag. It came from a rival brand, a salt-sharpened sports drink hugely popular is Europe. ‘Are you a real person too?’ it said.
He sat on it for almost two days without replying, weighing up the potential risks. Anything he sent could be screencapped and publicised. Eventually, succumbing to the strange loneliness of his medium, he replied: ‘Yes, I am. But so what?’
‘I was just curious. We are like secret celebrities.’
Over the following months he exchanged messages with several other large brands. Nobody ever introduced themselves or spoke of their lives beyond the Twitter feed. It was a strange kind of roleplaying, an extension of the mantle he wore as Quark Cola’s Twitter feed. It surprised him, although it probably shouldn’t have, how many celebrities were ghostwritten by employees like himself. He did not discover this directly, but the fact seemed well-known amongst the professional twittering community. Even those that appeared entirely personal and credibly delivered.
This is the conference where I first started talking publicly about the Doctor Who Tumblr. My talk (queued above) starts 17:00 in and runs for about 4 and a half minutes.
After that I highly suggest skipping back to watch Kevin Slavin’s opening on the history of the laugh track and the importance of the audience.
A short piece of fiction by Pierce Gleeson about the people behind corporate Twitter accounts.
‘We are not building anything here,’ stated one morose-sounding detergent brand. ‘All those marketing guys pushing Twitter think you can build something on it. Awareness or brand or something. But they can’t back that up. We’re just a mirror of what’s happening in the real world. We’re just echoing awareness, not creating it. It might work for small coffee shops but for global brands we’re just a shapeless appendage.’ All this came in several messages. The brands tended to be verbose once they got talking. Probably overeducated and unemployable, like himself. He didn’t agree, he didn’t disagree. He consciously refused to give it thought. The pay was excellent for the hours he worked.
Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Blog
This is what the Girls HBO “Spirit Guidelines” feel like to me.
GIF (SPIRIT) Guidelines
GIFs should feature images from the HBO series GIRLS only
GIFs should not combine GIRLS content with any other content or material
Any text in your GIF must be a direct quote from GIRLS
All GIRLS content in GIFs must be obtained from authorized sources of HBO programming
GIFs should be approximately 5 seconds long
We reserve the right to select the GIFs that will be posted on this site
Have you ever read the sidebar of the official Girls HBO Tumblr?
Kills the mood a bit, don’t you think?
Liveblogging. It’s one of those tortured-English phrases that conjures up images of awards shows, Apple launch events, and Justin Bieber. Whenever something like this is added to the dictionary (kind of how “sexting” was, a couple months back) it’s a little amusing — seeing a slice of our somewhat-frivolous, hyper-connected world given some legitimacy by the “old guard,” as it were.
What is not amusing, however, is watching the Israel Defense Forces liveblog its current operation in Gaza. (And we’re not just saying that because the IDF doesn’t seem to own a decent liveblogging platform.) In addition to updates on the IDF blog, interested parties can follow the action on Twitter, thus ensuring that the news will come straight from the government’s mouth, without the pesky interference of the fourth estate.
This is actually super fucking bizarre. Check the twitter feed here.
For the past eight years, I’ve been making a television show called NO RESERVATIONS. I wrote it. I executive produced it. And I appeared in it. My partners and I always tried hard to make it good.
During that time, I understood the way the world works. Television programs are paid for by television networks—who make their money selling advertising. And it would be ridiculous to hope or expect that I could ever have control over who buys commercial time in the breaks between segments. But my name and image are my own. My name, arguably, might not mean that much—and my face may not be pretty, but they’re mine….
Two years ago the great and honorable Fred Graver brought me in to Travel Channel to work on the No Reservations “social” presence. I established Tony’s and Helen’s tumblrs, reclaimed the No Reservations Twitter and Facebook accounts from tone deaf social media gurus, and then handed all of it back over to Tony.
And immediately, Tony started winning at Internet.
He built a community and gained peoples’ trust. And he did it by doing the most generic yet highly specific thing he could do online: by being himself.
I’ve been posting a lot lately about how tv shows and political campaigns and the like need to “get” the internet or “get” particular platforms.
But before any of that, they need to get themselves.
I’m coming around to Eben Moglen’s view that social networking, as currently designed, is an ecological disaster for the social environment. This isn’t, like, a new insight or anything. We are the product and all that. But sometimes it takes a turn of phrase to drive a point home. Here’s the line that tipped me over the edge: “Every time you tag anything or respond to anything or link to anything, you’re informing on your friends.”
More to the point, you are informing on your friends so that a cadre of socially clueless dudes can get rich selling the output of broken algorithms to marketers, in the form of human lives sliced up in such a way as to make it easier to run database queries.
I spoke with HuffPost Live the other day about hijacked hashtags and humor. The whole thing is about half an hour long so here are my four points:
- Mocktivism isn’t a bad thing.
- Humor is often the easiest way to make people feel comfortable which is the first step toward getting them involved.
- Getting involved can mean different things. There’s this mythology that every “activist” should make the same level of contribution to the cause. This isn’t so. Sometimes it’s the hard work of the few with the support of the many. Activism is much like fandom in this way.
- Newsweek does an awesome job at trolling with their covers. They want to get people to have an emotional reaction whether it’s laughter or rage. It’s triggering at it’s worsening best.
Also: I have to stop thinking about my answers as I answer. It makes me say ‘um’ a lot.
If long-form political satire doesn’t suit you, maybe #MuslimRage and #SorryFeminists will. But is mocking the news becoming the default lazy form of activism? Originally aired on October 9, 2012
Hosted by: Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
- Bianca Bosker (New York , NY) HuffPost Executive Tech Editor @bbosker
- Hend Amry (Doha, Qatar) Libyan-American Activist @LibyaLiberty
- Kate Gardiner (New York, NY) Journalist, Blogger @kategardiner
- Kenyatta Cheese (New York, NY) Co-founder of knowyourmeme.com @kenyatta
- Morgan Missen (San Francisco, CA) Founder of Main @mm
We had no idea that within 10 days of announcing the contest that we’d have over 10,000 entries and trust us, we read them all. We have delved into AUs and inspired character backstories, hung with Mary Sues and yes, read a lot about a sourwolf and the people that love him.
Our Teen Wolf fans are brilliant, creative and just a little crazy (which is how we love you).
It was much harder to choose a winner than we expected. There have been many heated discussions filled with impassioned pleas by the judges for their favorite stories. And there’s been even more chest-clutching descriptions of scenes to one another, because sometimes we can’t even either. Really, you blew us away with your stories.
We’re very excited and happy to announce that the Teen Wolf Fan Fiction Contest winner is Rianna Elliott for “Side Effects” (we’ll publish it here soon for your reading pleasure). It’s an incredibly moving backstory for Stiles and his mom that is compelling, well-written, and we loved how it tied so beautifully into the last season of Teen Wolf.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much Teen Wolf has embraced fan activity, especially on Tumblr. I’m guessing Amy has a lot to do with that.