A Decade of Wardrobe Malfunctions: Social Media and Pseudo-Adulthood

by Justin PhillipsOn February 1, 2004, Justin Timberlake made good on his promise – well partially – to have Janet Jackson “naked by the end of this song.” Timberlake’s mea culpa for his Super Bowl performance included the enigmatic phrase “wardrobe malfunction,” which proved to be an achievement of linguistic genius. The phrase offered a way to acknowledge the existence, and even the telos, of zippers, buttons and Velcro, while never claiming any ownership of their proper operation (even if … [Read more...]

Snapchat and the Ghost of Communication

When I began inviting friends to join me on Snapchat a few weeks ago, most of them had no idea what I was talking about. Despite the fact that almost every teenager I talk to has a Snapchat account, a good portion of the adults I know don't know what it is. (The only exceptions were those in education. Invariably, my teacher friends already had accounts.) So the first reaction I got to Snapchat invitations was mostly "What is that?" The second most frequent response I got was "Wait... isn't that … [Read more...]

Meet the Internet’s Most Hated Typist

If you've spent any time on Reddit, or any of those meme sites out there, then you might've seen a picture of a guy pecking away at his typewriter on a sunny day whilst sitting on a park bench. Seems like a rather innocuous photo, if a little odd, but surprisingly, it elicited a huge amount of negative comments on Reddit, such as:"I see this as pathetic. If this was some sort of performance art, it would be one thing, but it'd be the worst piece ever. This is just some ***hole trying to … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Christopher Lasch Wouldn’t Call Narcissism a Millennial Novelty

Lots of people like writing about Millennials, and lots of people who like writing about Millennials like pointing out how unprecedentedly narcissistic all of the Millennials are.Over at A Common Vision, Daniel Saunders reexamines the phenomenon of narcissism through the lens of Christopher Lasch's still-prescient book on the topic. It seems narcissism as a cultural pathology predates the dawn of the internet and social media and even Millennials, hard as that is to believe. The roots of the … [Read more...]

Shaming Sexists and Racists Online as a Form of Justice?

Earlier this year, tech consultant Adria Richards was attending a programming conference when she overheard two male developers make what she considered to be sexist comments. She tweeted a photo of the men to call them out, and sparked what would come to be known as "Donglegate." As a result of Richards' tweet, one of the developers lost his job, as did Richards. Meanwhile, blogs, Twitter streams, and comment sections discussed the affair with language that was frequently obscene in its hatred, … [Read more...]

How Concerned Should We Be With How 14-Year-Old Girls Use Technology?

It seems like an article comes out every other week about how teens and young adults are using technology: what devices they're using (and not using), what social networks they're using (and not using), etc. Companies certainly have a vested interest in this information. After all, the earlier they can sink their "hooks" into consumers, the more money they potentially stand to earn from those consumers. What's more, teens are particularly fickle and can help identify new and upcoming trends -- … [Read more...]

Oswalt’s Revenge: Sammy Rhodes And The Dangers Of Self-Promotion

Twitter is not for the faint of heart, nor is it well-suited for wallflowers, the sensitive, or those who think in long, complicated rambles. It works best for the angry, the charged, the righteous, and most of all, the funny. Funny people on Twitter get just as many followers as celebrities (and indeed, sometimes more) because our world is always up for a laugh. Sammy Rhodes (formerly @prodigalsam) is one of those people who became Internet-famous because of his ability to generate laughs with … [Read more...]

Play Relaxing Music: A Simple Way to Reduce Bullying

One of the things that make the bullying epidemic different from bullying in previous generations is that bullying is no longer confined to the playground or the walk home from school. The internet (particularly, social media) has extended the reach of bullies into the homes of their victims, so that no longer does a child have a respite from bullying. This can have profound effects on children who are the receivers of this abuse, but there is some hope as a recent study from Israel showed, at … [Read more...]

How Should We Handle Tragedy In The Digital Age?

Tragedy is everywhere. The first notable one for me was 9/11. I was living in Hawaii and had just woken up to find my mom freaked out because of some attack in New York.  I was 9, and so it just didn't matter to me at the time. All I knew was that I got the day off from school because of it. When I was younger, I was oblivious to the conflicts and events of human history. My parents rarely talked about the news; our life revolved around us flying to this thing or that church event. I learned the … [Read more...]

What Do Teens Hope to Gain When They Leave Facebook?

As a social media user, I love Facebook and its capabilities to increase community, communication, and connection. For the last 8 years, it's been one of the primary tools for those things, and has stood the test of time and of use and misuse. But, if modern reports are to be believed, teens -- once considered Facebook's primary audience -- are abandoning it for other social media services.The Verge recently broke a story that data reveals that services like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr a … [Read more...]