Virality! What Is It Good For?

Who could’ve guessed that after three pandemic years’ worth of bad PR, the concept of “virality” would enjoy an unexpected glow-up? Twitter’s precipitous fall from grace has occasioned many eulogies for the platform—but also impassioned speeches from those determined to press on. American University philosopher Jonathan Flowers recently tweeted: “A bunch of twitter alternatives are like … Read more

Anita Sarkeesian Hates Talking About Gamergate—but She Has To

If you’d like to debate Anita Sarkeesian about whether or not male privilege exists, we’ll make this easy for you: She’s not interested. It’s been a decade since her groundbreaking web series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, kicked off a firestorm of discussion and criticism around the treatment of female characters. It’s been almost … Read more

The Blue Check Rapture Will Render Verification Meaningless

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has been chaotic since its slapdash inception, so it’s only fitting that his first change will scramble the platform’s social hierarchy. Last weekend, as Musk’s reign began, news broke that he was implementing a plan to scrap the company’s current verification process, where a blue check mark signifies that someone is … Read more

TikTok Turned Lil Yachty’s ‘Poland’ Into a National Anthem

Lil Yachty’s “Poland” is 83 seconds long, jarringly repetitive, and purposefully obtuse. And yet, in the hands of TikTok, it’s become a smash, cracking the top half of the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the pride of its namesake country. Not that Yachty intended any of this. “The song was a joke,” he said in … Read more

The Funny, Sad History of the Best Halloween Memes Ever

Halloween has remained fairly consistent for decades. Chocolates, cobwebs, carvings, and heated debates on the relative deliciousness of candy corn stand as October rituals. But then there are memes, which rise and fall like a bedsheet on the outstretched arms of a spooky ghost. The memes come and they go. It started with people laughing … Read more

Twitter Writes Twitter’s Requiem | WIRED

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is complete. After riding into the company’s headquarters on a terrible “sink” pun earlier this week, the Tesla founder officially took the reins, closing the $44 billion deal and firing at least four of the company’s top brass in the process. Everyone knew this was coming, knew Musk planned to … Read more

TikTok’s ‘Board Parties’ May Have Reached Their Apex

One by one, 10 grinning people walk into a room, elbows bent and forearms outstretched as they curtsy slightly to show the camera what they’re carrying. The first is holding a board laden with potato-and-pastry-based beige treats; the second appears with a board full of scattered chips and a few jars of dip. The third … Read more

I’m a Good Guy, Like and Subscribe

This kind of covenant remains particularly potent on YouTube, where—for better or worse—people seek out content that reinforces their worldview. “When we are talking about YouTube, we are talking about the platform that was constituted around the kind of ‘broadcast yourself’ model,” says Michele White, a professor at Tulane University and the author of Producing … Read more