Why Everyone on Tinder Is an ‘Oxford Comma Enthusiast’

A series of hearts separated by commas

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On an internet occupied by as many finger-wagging “grammar Nazis” as slovenly texters who prefer emoji to verbal displays of emotion, the Oxford comma has become a cause célèbre. This is especially true on dating apps, where many users have deemed the punctuation mark something they “can’t live without”—a designation that’s put it in the same lofty category as cheese, the beach, and Game of Thrones.

Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma is the one that goes before “and” (or “or”) in a list of three or more things: “The American flag is red, white, and blue.” Fans of the Oxford comma think it prevents ambiguity.

Recently, the Oxford comma has found a spot on the Bingo card of online-dating profiles, alongside mainstays like “no hookups,” “no drama,” and “420 friendly.” Whether you’re mindlessly grazing on Tinder or Bumble, OkCupid or Match.com, you’re now as likely to learn someone’s thoughts on the Oxford comma as you are their job title or their penchant for tacos. On the Tinder subreddit, which has 1.8 million subscribers, one user lamented that the Oxford comma features in “like a quarter of bios ’round my parts.” Another said, “It’s everywhere.”

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The curse of the Twitter reply guy

Steve has struck again.

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On Twitter, a place where a lot of bad things happen, there’s a mostly harmless but decidedly annoying phenomenon. A lot of people, mostly women, have noticed that one or two men always, no matter what, reply to their tweets.

These men are colloquially known as “reply guys.” While no reply guy is the same — each reply guy is annoying in his own way — there are a few common qualities to watch out for. In general, reply guys tend to have few followers. Their responses are overly familiar, as if they know the person they’re targeting, though they usually don’t. They also tend to reply to only women; the most prolific reply guys fill the role for dozens of women trying to tweet in peace.

When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online

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For several months, Cara has been working up the courage to approach her mom about what she saw on Instagram. Not long ago, the 11-year-old—who, like all the other kids in this story, is referred to by a pseudonym—discovered that her mom had been posting photos of her, without prior approval, for much of her life. “I’ve wanted to bring it up. It’s weird seeing myself up there, and sometimes there’s pics I don’t like of myself,” she said.

But it’s not just overzealous mommy bloggers who construct a child’s online identity; plenty of average parents do the same. There’s even a portmanteau for it: sharenting. Almost a quarter of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal sonogram scans to the internet, according to a study conducted by the internet-security firm AVG. The study also found that 92 percent of toddlers under the age of 2 already have their own unique digital identity.

When Ellen, an 11-year-old, finally decided to Google herself, she didn’t expect to find anything, because she doesn’t yet have her own social-media accounts. She was stunned when she found years of swim scores and sports statistics on the web. A personal story she wrote in third grade was also published on a class website with her name attached. “I didn’t think I would be out there like this on the internet,” she told me.

Ellen said that while she didn’t find anything too sensitive or personal, she was frustrated that all the information about herself had been posted seemingly without her consent.

Instagram Influencers Are All Starting To Look The Same. Here’s Why.

Instagram Influencers Are All Starting To Look The Same. Here's

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Social media influencers these days are starting to look like beauty clones. You know the look: a full pout, perfectly arched eyebrows, maybe some expertly applied eyeliner, topped off with a healthy dose of highlighter and cheek contouring. With a few makeup brushes, a contour palette and some matte lip color, you can be well on your way to looking like everyone else.

Thanks to the internet, Weingarten said, people no longer have to travel to see beauty trends from all over the world, nor do we need to wait for them to make their way to us. Because of that, we learn about trends that are popular in other parts of the world more quickly than we ever would have in the past, and we can participate in them. (Just think about Korean beauty and how quickly it exploded in the U.S. You can even buy specialty products at CVS and Walgreens.)

The Couples Who Use Location Sharing to Track Each Other 24/7

GPS_Couple

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Two years in, Mike Mancini and his girlfriend agreed it was time to take their relationship to the next level. The couple had just moved to a new city, and it was only natural that they solidified their partnership and made a lasting commitment to each other.

They opened their iPhones and turned on location sharing — indefinitely.

“It’s not about trust or making sure that we’re not cheating or anything,” he says. “It’s more of a useful thing for times where we’re meeting up and I want to see how close she is to the destination, or checking to see if she’s still at work without asking her. One time I even helped her get her phone back when she left it on the train, because I could see its location still.”

I’m Deleting All My Old Tweets Because Nothing Matters

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In fact, over the past few months, many of the journalists I follow have casually mentioned that they have timers on their accounts set to delete their old tweets. “Why wouldn’t you delete them?” tweeted one, in a tweet I can no longer find because it has since been deleted.

At first, I was aghast. If something happens on Twitter but then gets deleted, did it even happen? Deleting it is an affront to history! Isn’t Twitter a sacred record of our [checks notes] … inane thoughts and bad jokes? Oh wait, maybe I do get it.

There are practical reasons to delete your tweets. Increasingly, old tweets are being used as ammunition to get their owners fired or ruin their reputation by people with an ax to grind.

The Soothing Promise of Our Own Artisanal Internet

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In September, for instance, Nicole Wong, a veteran of Google and Twitter, said it might be time for a “slow food movement for the internet,” reminiscing about the early 2000s, when algorithms focused on showing users useful information rather than whatever keeps people on the platform. Behavioral advertising is to blame for “this crazy environment that we’re in now,” she told Recode.

For consumers, this means forgoing convenience to control your ingredients: Read newsletters instead of News Feeds. Fall back to private group chats. Put the person back in personalization. Revert to reverse chron. Avoid virality. Buy your own server. Start a blog. Embrace anonymity. Own your own domain. Spend time on federated social networks rather than centralized ones. And when a big story breaks, consider saving your appetite for the slow-cooked, room-temp take.

“I don’t know what the Michael Pollan version would be: Eat independent sites, mostly not Facebook?” says Glitch CEO Anil Dash…