The Captionfluencers

Excerpt from this article:

Famous or possibly hoping to be, they are members of a chorus, voices resonating in supersize captions, some as long as 300 words, published not on Facebook or Tumblr, as you may suspect, but on their Instagram feeds.

Champions of the long-form post, they are confounding expectations.

Instagram, after all, was conceived as a photography app, a place to post the contents of a fancy meal, catch the play of light on a tousled bed, celebrate a professional coup, show off a bikini body or a family trip to the beach.

It’s flourishing now as one of the web’s most compelling storytelling platforms, a repository for uplifting confessions, compressed screeds, some with candidly political overtones, self-help digests, mini essays and speculative musings and, perhaps most compellingly, serialized memoirs in sound-bite form.

No question, the long-form caption is trending…

Two Strangers Met on a Plane—and the Internet Ruined It

Excerpt from this article (and see also this one with a similar take, showing how the woman who was tweeted about without her consent “has been subjected to harassment and shamed, leading to her reportedly deleting her social media accounts” and then this one covering the apology)

They began observing the interaction playing out in the row before them. And also: documenting it, via pictures and videos and words and, eventually, a series of tweets. Helen and Euan thus went from strangers on a plane to participants—via the dedicated attentions of the two people behind them, watching them through the space between the seats—in a cheekily epic drama.

“Last night on a flight home,” Blair’s vicarious saga began, “my boyfriend and I asked a woman to switch seats with me so we could sit together. We made a joke that maybe her new seat partner would be the love of her life and well, now I present you with this thread.”

…It took the flimsy and serendipitous delights of their initial meeting and turned them, with the ruthlessness of media churn, into a money-making proposition. As Blair and Holden made their appearances on the morning shows—as they cheerfully sold their story and also themselves—they served as reminders: Even whimsy, these days, will be commodified.

…There was one person, notably, who resisted those inertias: Helen herself… And yet: Even despite her resistance, Helen was pulled into the story. She, too, was meme-ified. She, too, was flattened. She, too, was used.

Modern Family’s New Episode on a Laptop Hints at TV’s Future


Excerpt from this article:

If you watch [this] week’s episode of Modern Family online, things will get a little weird. You see, the entire episode takes place on Claire’s MacBook Pro, so watching its constantly popping FaceTimes and iMessages on your laptop might make it all feel a little too real. (And if mom tries to Skype in while you’re watching, it might feel like the singularity is near.)

…It’s easy to giggle while thinking how these shows will look in 20 years—imagine watching Abbi and Ilana FaceTime on Broad City in 2035 and thinking it looks as antiquated as Zack Morris’ brick of a cell phone on Saved by the Bell looks today. But these changes in storytelling have to happen, even if it’s all going to look terribly dated before long, because otherwise our favorite shows will seem ridiculous and anachronistic.

…These shifts present some challenges, though. For one, it means showrunners and filmmakers must keep up with ever-changing tech.

…And getting other shows to experiment with format is highly necessary. TV and films have been following many of the same traditions for decades. A reboot is long overdue. Nearly all modern families spend most of their time looking at other screens while watching TV. It’s about time the Modern Family does too.

See also these examples of similar approaches of the action unfolding on the computer screen: