I Was Internet-Famous

Excerpt from this article that offers a sometimes cautionary, sometimes optimistic “Where are they now?” update on some Internet Famous viral favourites (Chocolate Rain, Leave Britney Alone, Miss South Carolina Teen, and more):

Harry [Charlie bit him in the viral video]: [Without the video] I probably wouldn’t be going to the school I go to.

Howard (their dad): All four boys go to a nice school, which we pay for. What the video has done for us is redefine normal. Coming home from school and having an interview on Skype is normal.

Harry: We go to America sometimes; we go to London.

Howard: We view everything with YouTube as a hobby. Life comes first, but one weekend we might be filming a commercial. People know about you when you meet them —

Charlie: That’s scary.

Howard: So if someone who’s seen one of those comes up and says, “I saw you skiing,” that must feel a little strange.

Charlie: Yeah. It feels like they’re spying.

Howard: Ha — is that really what you mean? They’re intruding on your life?

Charlie: Yeah.

Howard: Okay. We’ve never had this discussion before. You know, there’s a set of people who take it as a badge of honor to get bitten by Charlie.

Charlie: And then they scream!

Howard: We have an unwritten rule. If someone asks to be bitten, Charlie gets to bite however hard he wants to.

Dear Facebook, stop our smug posts – not the drunken ones

Young women drinking

Excerpt from this article:

Facebook wants to stop this misuse of its apparently dignified network, which is why it is now developing an algorithm to act as your very own “Facebook chaperone”. This system will detect your levels of uninhibited idiocy through certain words and behaviours, and then come up with some sort of warning message, along the lines of, “Are you sure you want your boss and mum to see this?”, before you post. It will guide you through the social media experience smoothly, making sure you don’t shatter the illusion you’ve so carefully created.

But where exactly is the fun in this? Everyone knows that the only genuinely readable parts of Facebook are the inappropriate status changes, the poor judgment played out in cyberspace. Publicised over-shares in front of hundreds of your friends provide a service. They make everybody feel less alone, and remind us all that no one has the life they say they do online.

…Without the inadvisable slip-ups, all we’d have is that obnoxious, self-celebratory optimism, again and again for all eternity – which is why I have to take a firm moral stance against the development of any sort of algorithm that will attempt to prevent people from making these sorts of errors. There are things Facebook should lean over and tap on your shoulder about, but they’re not the drunken indelicacies. They’re the inspirational quotes written across a sunset scene, urging everyone to “find the very core of your self today”… That one would certainly warrant a firm shoulder tap from the overbearing smugness algorithm.