The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner

Lee Chang-hyun

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How do you fancy eating your dinner at home in front of a webcam and letting thousands of people watch? If they like the way you eat, they will pay you money – maybe a few hundred dollars a night… a good salary for doing what you would do anyway. This is happening now in South Korea.

It’s often said that if you want to see the future look at how technology is emerging in perhaps the most connected country on the planet. The food phenomenon is called mukbang – a combination of the Korean word for eating (muk-ja) and broadcasting (bang-song).

…Some 10,000 people watch him eating per day, he says. They send a constant stream of messages to his computer and he responds verbally (by talking) and orally (by eating, very visibly and noisily).

If the audience like the performance, they allocate him what are called “star balloons” and each of these means a payment to him and to the internet television channel on which he performs.

The Rise Of The Screenshort

View image on Twitter

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What’s a Screenshort? Essentially, it’s a chunk of text, screen-shotted, and embedded in a tweet. It’s become an extremely popular way to share a passage from a story. You could call it a Tweetcap, maybe. But I’m going with Screenshort.

Embedding a text block means that people will read the thing you want them to read without having to follow a link. It, genuinely, saves a click (without being condescending!).

It’s also an effective way to highlight a passage. There have been all kinds of attempts by different websites to make individual passages and paragraphs linkable, but nothing has caught on. A Screenshort goes right where you want it to.

How to Manage Media in Families

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Parents have a love-hate relationship with firsts… But few firsts generate more ambivalence than the first cellphone.

On one hand, many parents welcome this milestone. Now they can keep track of their children when they’re out and notify the children if they’re running late. Also, parents gain leverage. One mother told me, “I’ve found the phone has given me newfound power as a parent, because I can take it away!”

On the other hand, children tend to disappear through the looking glass when they get their first phone. They become vulnerable to the dark side of the Internet, and once comfortable routines get upended. “We used to be a family before they got phones,” one father complained. “Now we’re never together.”

…How should parents handle this transition? Some discuss freedom and responsibility, hand over the device, then respond as situations arise. But others try to do more, laying down a set of rules.

…The Internet is bursting with dozens of multi-plank contracts for parents to execute with their children. As the father of tweens, I like this idea, but I’m also realistic enough to know that a three-page contract will be swiftly ignored and even it can’t keep up with the last parent-avoiding app. What I craved was a handful of overarching rules that could guide our interactions.

See also this related article, Rules for Teen and Tween Cellphone Use: Unspoken, or Printed and Signed?

The “broad overarching rules” that many families use to guide cellphone use described in Bruce’s article are useful (and the specific examples he found make great conversation starters). We’ve had many, many talks about the public nature of every exchange, and about the way you might trust your friend not to forward a text or email or screenshot a Snapchat, but can you really trust his older sister if she happens to pick up his phone? Anyone dragged into the public pillory by an unexpected video, or a tweet or text, becomes fodder for what could be described as our family’s personal ongoing crash course in the perils of modern living.

We probably haven’t spent enough time on the “grammar of texting” in that particular version of homeschooling. The advice the GeekDad Ken Diamond told Bruce that offered his teenage sons is advice I’ll share, too: Read it twice before you press “send,” and add some smiley faces.

The Most Important Thing on the Internet Is the Screenshot

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Ivelina’s boyfriend stopped responding to her texts. No small trauma. She was a high school senior; they’d been together a year, and then—two weeks of nothing. Eventually he sent her a rambling excuse via SMS: He’d been longboarding, he said, and broke his phone. “u want me to send you a picture of it?” he offered.

Hmm, thought Ivelina. Pretty lame. To reality-check her reaction, she applied a relatively new tool: She took a screenshot of her boyfriend’s text and forwarded it to her close friends. They agreed: lame. Ivelina dumped him.

Screenshots never used to be that powerful… But now people routinely take screenshots of funny/outrageous comments on social media to share with friends. Twitter users post grabs of things they’re reading.

…The same thing happened with cameraphones a decade ago, when we suddenly began capturing evanescent moments from our physical lives. Today some of our most intense experiences are online, so screenshots serve the same function. It’s photography for life on the screen—“how you share point-of-view…”

Screenshots can also be almost forensic, a way to prove to others that you’re really seeing the crazy stuff you’re seeing. The first viral hit of the screenshot age was the often-filthy autocorrect errors in SMS. Now screenshots hold people accountable for their terrible online words.

…“It’s like a scrapbook, or a fossil record in digital silt,” King says. A lifetime of scraps, glimpsed through the screen.

On Social Media, Everything Happens All the Time

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Chinua Achebe, the celebrated Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart, died at the age of 82 in 2013. But to social media, he only passed away this weekend. People began tweeting condolences (or re-condolences) Sunday night, writing “RIP” and “another one gone” and sharing the New York Times obituary from two years ago.

The re-mourning of Achebe spread far enough online to eventually reach high-profile users like the White House national-security advisor Susan Rice, who chimed in Monday morning with her own tweets…

It wasn’t just Rice who missed the fine print—the “news” duped plenty of people. So what happened? As Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton pointed out, someone likely posted a remembrance of Achebe’s death and recirculated the New York Times obit. Others, seeing the headline and not the timestamp, believed Achebe to have just died, so they fell victim to “reflex sharing” …It wasn’t a hoax, just an Internet-assisted ripple effect.

And that ripple effect happened because social media is, Benton wrote, “unstuck in time,” where old material can be recycled digitally to seem new, where what’s trending no longer means what’s most recent.

…Readers don’t always look at the date and the time of a story, because there’s no association between the story and the time they see it. When in the past, people physically picked up newspapers from their doorsteps at a certain hour during the day (or tuned into TV networks for nightly news), today, the same information is presented to them online not as headlines, but as topics, transformed into key words transformed further into hashtags. The notion of timestamps associated with individual stories can seem, well, outdated.

Social Peacocking and the Shadow

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I’ve long spoken of the idea that much social media has turned into “social peacocking” — showing yourself in a favorable light online, presenting only the happy moments, a “highlights reel” of your life, so to speak, and how this leads to FOMO in others. Look at me: here I am doing cool things, in interesting places, with beautiful people.

…It occurred to me that the real problem was not the showing off. The eminence grise that was Carl Jung showed us what can happen to those who stay on the sunny side, and only on the sunny side of life. Jung posited the idea of The Shadow, the dark side of one’s character. The Shadow is not only what is evil, but what is petty, selfish, childish, annoying, and usually unconscious. The more a person acknowledges his shadow, and brings it into consciousness, the healthier and more whole the person will be. But if driven underground and sent into hiding, The Shadow will take on a life of its own, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

…Social peacocking is life on the internet without the shadow. It is an incomplete representation of a life, a half of a person, a fraction of the wholeness of a human being. It’s the lonely crowd, the network and society, and not the community… We have to bring The Shadow back into our technology if we are to live there and find our humanity reflected back to us. In our strivings to be better, we must not forget to be whole.

Airline passenger almost forgets to check into business class lounge on social media

Excerpt from this article, which is meant to be a humourous spoof:

DUBAI: An airline passenger yesterday narrowly avoided missing out on informing her friends and followers on social media that she was in a business class lounge, according to shocking reports.

…“It looked really touch and go for a minute,” said Lindsay Washington, who was also in the business class lounge but posted details on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regarding her location immediately upon entering.

…Later reports confirmed that the passenger did manage to ‘check into’ the lounge on Facebook without missing her flight, but didn’t have enough time to add her usual comment such as ‘Here we are again’ or ‘Jet set, moi?’

BuzzFeed’s latest traffic trick: The ‘social URL’

delete buzzfeed

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…BuzzFeed has even tapped the humble URL to work harder. The social publisher has discovered that writing original, made-for-sharing URLs can act like a rocket booster for a post.

BuzzFeed stumbled on what it calls the “social URL” by accident. The URL was once created automatically using the first few words of the headline. Several months ago, the publisher created a field in the CMS to allow editorial staffers to tweak the URL in case a word in the URL was cut off, or if they wanted to alter the URL in case the headline changed drastically. It wasn’t long before edit staff started to notice they could play around with the URL, to good traffic effect.

 “It has a bit of an Easter egg quality,” said Jack Shepherd, BuzzFeed’s editorial director. “It’s not something people immediately notice. It’s more fun for the reader, it’s more fun for the writer, and it can often make the post more shareable.”

…There are no guidelines at BuzzFeed for writing social URLs, but there are a few common uses:

Instructional social URL:
Actual headline: 1 Chart That Explains Why People Are Wrong About Venn Diagrams
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomphillips/also-its-pronounced-oiler

The clever-wordplay social URL:
Actual headline: 28 Snapchats From Harry Potter
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/snapechat

The tabloid headline-style social URL:
Actual headline: This Boston Marathon Survivor Wrote A Breakup Letter To Her Leg Before Amputating It
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/adios-leg

Map: What we’re thankful for, according to our Facebook posts

facebook

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We don’t just tell our family what we’re thankful for at the Thanksgiving table anymore. We post our thanks on Facebook, too — and that gives the data analysts at Facebook a trove of data to analyze about what, exactly, we’re grateful for.

Facebook scraped user updates for status updates containing the words “grateful” and “thankful” this past summer, when a few challenges circulated asking users to post about the things they cherished in their lives. And they found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Facebook users are most thankful for their friends and families.

Now we’re all in danger of being caught up in the new culture wars, 24/7

Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill suffered rape threats on Twitter after saying she wanted her name removed from one of Sheffield United’s stands if the club allowed convicted rapist Ched Evans to play for it again.

Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill suffered rape threats on Twitter after saying she wanted her name removed from one of Sheffield United’s stands if the club allowed convicted rapist Ched Evans to play for it again. Photograph: Graham Hughes/Observer

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Everyone seems to have strong opinions about everything – and everywhere people want to take offence. One slip – or even a perfectly innocent remark – can mean public vilification

…Social scientists call this “context collapse” – the idea that everything we say on Facebook or Twitter is potentially addressed to everybody, ever. The fact that for the vast majority of the time, no one outside your mum and your friends will read it makes it all the more disorienting if your musings are wrenched out of their original context and held up for public discussion.