The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over

A pink wall

Excerpt from this article:

Matt Klein, a cultural strategist at the consultancy Sparks & Honey, also says he’s seen a gradual shift away from the rainbow-colored preplanned photos that dominated the platform in late 2017. “We all know the jig is up,” he says. “We’ve all participated in those staged photos. We all know the stress and anxiety it takes. And we can see through it. Culture is a pendulum, and the pendulum is swaying. That’s not to say everyone is going to stop posting perfect photos. But the energy is shifting.”

“Everyone is trying to be more authentic,” says Lexie Carbone, a content marketer at Later Media, a social-media marketing firm. “People are writing longer captions. They are sharing how much money they make … I think it all goes back to, you don’t want to see a girl standing in front of a wall that you’ve seen thousands of times. We need something new.”

Yelp Reviewers’ Authenticity Fetish Is White Supremacy in Action

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When reviewers picture authenticity in ethnic food, they mentally reference all the experiences they’ve had before with that cuisine and the people who make it — and most of the time, reviewers view those experiences, whether from personal interaction or from interacting with media, as not positive. Reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world; people’s biases come into play.

According to my data, the average Yelp reviewer connotes “authentic” with characteristics such as dirt floors, plastic stools, and other patrons who are non-white when reviewing non-European restaurants. This happens approximately 85 percent of the time. But when talking about cuisines from Europe, the word “authentic” instead gets associated with more positive characteristics. This quote from a reviewer commenting on popular Korean barbecue restaurant Jongro illustrates the bias: “we went for this authentic spot with its kitschy hut decor much like those found in Korea”

Beme wants to be the app for social media ‘authenticity.’ Too bad there’s no such thing.

Excerpt from this article (one more from Paul, thanks again!):

You’ve heard this complaint before, of course. It’s the chief existential unease of a generation aging into adulthood with social media, noting (with ever-growing alarm) the discrepancies between their experienced reality and the photos in their social feeds. Just last week, Neistat himself released a highly-hyped app called Beme, promising to free us all from social media chicanery; Neistat swears that Beme is the first app in this wealfie-sending, humblebragging world to capture and share life authentically.

“Authenticity is a weird concept,” laughs Jenny Davis, a sociologist at James Madison University. “It’s socially constructed. It’s not a real thing.”

As Davis explains it, an “authentic” person would be someone who never plays a role, which is simply impossible. Whenever a person is in a social situation — even with an intimate, like a family member or a friend — she’s inherently performing a character, a slightly more palatable version of herself. (Sociologists have accepted this theory as law since the late 1950s, though Shakespeare was arguably on it before anybody else.)

Think about it: You act differently with your mother than you do with your boss, and you follow rules and norms and fashions with which you might not strictly agree. You act nice towards neighbors you hate. You say you’re doing “pretty good” when you feel like crying. It’s the toll you pay, in short, to live in a polite and functional human society.

No one is ever truly “authentic”: and that’s an unequivocally positive, prosocial thing.

Still, it’s uncomfortable to realize that everyone around us is performing a role, exactly as we’re performing. It means we never necessarily know the whole “truth,” or understand our loved ones in their entirety. Studies have shown, for instance, that while virtually everyone polishes their own Facebook profile, they disdain anyone else who does the same.

The selfies, the filters, the thirsty status updates: Each of these breaks the cardinal rule of a very ancient social game. You can and must “fake” your identity, just to survive, but no one’s supposed to see you play.


What makes a tweet believable?

Generic picture of person texting

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At times of natural disasters, terror attacks or unrest, Twitter lights up with first-hand experiences, emotion, rumours and speculation. The bigger the news, the more sensational a story, the more noise there is, the further information travels and the harder it becomes to detect the truth. Yet this is when it is also most important to sort out fact from fiction from the frenzied maelstrom of social media.

That’s when swearing comes in. Cussing is one of the clues to figuring out whether a tweet is coming from someone caught up in a major news event rather than a fraud. Letting off a string of expletives seems a natural reaction to a life-or-death scenario.

The f-word turns out to be one of the ingredients in the magic formula sought by scientists studying how to automatically rank the credibility of individual messages. At times of stressful events, such as a plane crash or natural disaster, swear words tend to suggest a message comes from someone in the middle of it all.

Scientists trying to detect the language of truth are less concerned about the actual content of a message. For them, the clues to truth lie in the wording and punctuation of a message.

Beme is a Social Media App that Wants to Engineer Authenticity

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Authenticity is in short supply online, says video maker Casey Neistat, with social media forcing us to present over-stylized and over-perfect versions of ourselves to world. Neistat thinks he has the answer, though: he’s built a new social media network named Beme (pronounced “beam”) where users communicate with self-destructing videos recorded by placing their phones on their hearts.

…Removing the smartphone from its traditional location between you and the real world allows for a more authentic experience, claims Neistat. In the same vein, he says, Beme offers no chance to review or edit videos: they’re just sent straight to users’ feeds, which are themselves minimalist lists of recent uploads. Users click and hold on a video to watch it, and once it’s been seen it’s “gone forever.” They can, however, give feedback by tapping the screen mid-video to send a selfie from their front-facing camera. “Getting reactions is my favorite part of the app,” says Neistat. “There’s just something so satisfying about being able to see people actually watching what you share.”