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Articles on this Page
- 04/15/13--07:00: _Latino community fi...
- 04/15/13--16:00: _Boston residents of...
- 04/15/13--16:23: _Patton Oswalt offer...
- 04/16/13--04:00: _The softer side of ...
- 04/16/13--07:15: _"Suggested friends"...
- 04/16/13--08:15: _"Porn identificatio...
- 04/16/13--10:01: _Fund your online da...
- 04/16/13--10:47: _Is feminist interse...
- 04/16/13--11:16: _Football coach recr...
- 04/16/13--16:57: _Alex Jones claims Y...
- 04/17/13--07:30: _Whiskas Liberation ...
- 04/17/13--08:16: _Boston's loneliest ...
- 04/17/13--12:32: _Dove's "Real Beauty...
- 04/17/13--13:35: _Twitter users mock ...
- 04/17/13--15:00: _Internet covers med...
- 04/18/13--06:00: _100 Percent Men: A ...
- 04/18/13--08:37: _Politician's Facebo...
- 04/18/13--10:53: _A student's fight a...
- 04/18/13--11:39: _Behind 1 man's tire...
- 04/18/13--11:40: _Is Facebook turning...
- 04/15/13--07:00: Latino community finds fashion—and one another—on Tumblr
- 04/15/13--16:00: Boston residents offer victims shelter via Google doc
- 04/15/13--16:23: Patton Oswalt offers inspiring insight to Boston Marathon tragedy
- 04/16/13--04:00: The softer side of the darknet
- 04/16/13--07:15: "Suggested friends" Facebook feature gets man arrested for bigamy
- 04/16/13--08:15: "Porn identification officer" in China gets paid to watch porn
- 04/16/13--10:01: Fund your online dating with an untraceable currency
- 04/16/13--10:47: Is feminist intersectionality just an excuse for bullying?
- 04/16/13--11:16: Football coach recruits players with creepy Joker tweets
- 04/16/13--16:57: Alex Jones claims YouTube censored his "Family Guy" theory
- 04/17/13--07:30: Whiskas Liberation Front fights for cat justice and comfort
- 04/17/13--08:16: Boston's loneliest look to sexually capitalize on Marathon bombing
- 04/17/13--12:32: Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign masks real racism
- 04/17/13--13:35: Twitter users mock CNN's Boston bombing coverage
- 04/17/13--15:00: Internet covers medical bills and more for wounded Boston family
- 04/18/13--06:00: 100 Percent Men: A glaring portrait of gender inequality
- 04/18/13--08:37: Politician's Facebook page and campaign site feature porn link
- 04/18/13--10:53: A student's fight against abstinence education goes viral
- 04/18/13--11:39: Behind 1 man's tireless campaign to aid West, Texas
- 04/18/13--11:40: Is Facebook turning into Twitter—or is it the other way around?
Adriana Gaspar has a passion for style. But the young Latina long quickly noticed that many of her favorite fashion blogs were missing something: people like her.
In response, she started Style Latino, a street-style Tumblr dedicated exclusively to spotlighting fashionable people of Hispanic descent.
What Gaspar didn’t realize is that she’s part of a movement. Tumblr blogs that explore Latino heritage, culture, and identity are increasingly visible on the platform. In fact, a recent study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that more Hispanic people use Tumblr than any other ethnic group.
“Maybe it’s because Tumblr is a platform that really gives Latinos a voice and the opportunity to express themselves,” Gasper reasoned.
Years before Pew highlighted Tumblr’s Hispanic appeal, Lee Vann, the CEO of online advertising agency Captura Group, penned “Why you should use Tumblr to reach online Hispanics,” a marketing overview that praised the site’s support of Spanish and its ease of use.
Vann cited Latinos’ early adoption of new technologies and saturation of the smartphone market as a possible reason for Pew’s finding that young, urban Hispanic youths were using Tumblr at a more rapid pace than anyone else.
“If you look at Tumblr’s Hispanic audience, you see a group of young, bilingual, bicultural people,” he said. “At home, they’re probably speaking Spanish and watching novelas with their parents, at school they’re hanging out with friends speaking English. They’re not Mexican; they’re not American. They’re this new thing.”
While Vann has a hard time convincing his conservative clients to adopt a Tumblr presence, Univision News, the Spanish-language news network, has found more than 42,000 fans on the site.
Photo of Adriana Gaspar by Hector Diaz
According to Univision spokesperson Nuria Net, the goal with starting Univision’s English language Tumblr was to go to where its audience already was. Until the network developed a freestanding blog last year, Tumblr was its main publishing platform.
“It was the best decision we could've ever made, because we were engaging directly with millennial Hispanics, our target audience,” she said. “Users' reaction was always one of pleasant surprise, such as ‘Wow! Univision is on Tumblr, and in English! I used to watch Univision at home with my parents/grandparents.’
“The fact that we were another user on Tumblr, speaking their language—in this case, English—and publishing relevant stories on that platform, won us many loyal fans.”
Content created by and for Latino users is also highly visible, like the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge, which serves as an annual discussion of users’ ethnicity. From humorous posts and cosplay photo projects to food porn to social activism, Tumblr’s Hispanic heritage runs deep.
Photo of August Marron by Adriana Gaspar
Perhaps nowhere is Latinos’ bilingual Tumblr presence more noticeable than in ever-popular Spanish language visual memes. “Ola K Ase” is the Spanish language version of a LOLcat going “O hai,” in which an animal (usually an alpaca) clumsily asks the viewer what’s up. “Ay Si Ay Si,” is another visual gag, which relies on a sarcastic Neil deGrasse Tyson drawing to deliver its punchline.
Of course, this isn’t to say that all, or even most, of Tumblr’s Latino users speak Spanish—or that Latino users purely discuss Latino things. While it’s easy to find blogs dedicated to Hispanic issues, that’s only scratching the surface of a diverse group of Tumblrs, only a fraction of which have anything to do with ethnicity.
Andrea Lopez, marketer and Tumblr evangelist, says it’s important to remember that “not every moment of Latino existence on Tumblr is a musing on being Latino.”
“Tumblr can seem hard to define from the outside, and it’s easy to paint it with broad brush strokes,” she said. “David Karp has a great quote: ‘It’s easy to generalize Tumblr. With 43 billion posts, whatever you find, you’ll find a lot of it.’”
Still, the fact that Tumblr’s Hispanic users can’t be easily grouped or defined is a strong indicator of the community’s vastness, and a stumbling block to marketers like Vann’s attempts to reach them.
“They’ve elusive,” he said. “Even if you spend a lot of of time searching for Hispanics on Tumblr, you might not find them. They’re busy talking about music, fashion, and other interests instead.
“Do you use Spanish or English to reach them? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. They’re bicultural, experimenting with their identities. And to many users, that’s the appeal of Tumblr.”
Photo of Adriana Gaspar by Ashley Barillas
Sometimes disasters bring out the best in people. In the case of Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon, that means people offering up their homes to those displaced by the tragedy.
And they're doing so simply through a Google doc.
Hundreds of people in and around Boston have filled out the plain form, allowing them to offer strangers space if they need it. "we have a one pull out couch and space for about 2-4 others," wrote one man in Brookline, a suburb just to the west of the city.
"Space for one person on a pull-out couch. Will cook you a nice meal too! Call or email me!" offered a woman who lives in Fenway-Kenmore, the neighborhood of the Red Sox's famous baseball stadium.
Visitors can also fill out form if they're looking for a place to stay—noting how many they're travelling with, and if they have special needs—to help match them with a kind soul who'll offer them lodging.
There's a wide swath of amenities available. Users offer Internet access, rides, and free meals. Those in need can sleep on a futon, couch, or queen-size bed—or with dogs, cats, and in one case, a rabbit.
"[I've] run the marathon and want to help," wrote one man. "Have room for two or a family."
As with any online-only exchange, users should express caution and use their best judgment. But here’s hoping these surprising acts of kindness are another silver lining to a tragic afternoon.
Photo by Randy Son Of Robert/Flickr
Comedian Patton Oswalt may be known for his bawdy, bold, and bizarre feats of wordplay during his standup comedy routines. But in the wake of the tragic explosions at the Boston Marathon earlier today, he put his verbal skills to better use on his Facebook account.
In a post that's gone viral with over 30,000 shares in just over an hour, Oswalt, who's a noted atheist, asserts his optimism and faith in the human race. Echoing the words of Fred Rogers, Oswalt notes that many members of the audience at the marathon immediately ran towards the explosion in the few seconds after the blast. "[T]he vast majority stands against that darkness...like white blood cells attacking a virus," he wrote.
The full text of Oswalt's post is below.
Boston. Fucking horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."
But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will.
Photo via About.com
A few years ago Gawker published a revealing report on Silk Road, a website on the Tor network that we've all come to know and love, which they claimed was nothing more than a hive for scum, villainy, and of course lots of counterfeit money, drugs, weapons, and other things that make our religious idols weep.
It wasn't long before bloggers and reporters were screaming bloody murder because they had ordered and received two grams of decent quality Afghan hashish in their snail mail. Those brave souls who clicked some more and Googled some Tor addresses also bumped into websites of people claiming to be contract killers ("Solutions to common problems! No fish too big, no job too small!"), a bunch of Rule 34-affirming terrible porn (welcome to the ZooNecro-chan!) and of course a reasonably safe haven for kiddy fiddlers. Since then the Tor network has of course also been in the news for its great role in the workings of Wikileaks, Anonymous, and even the enabling power its anonymity brought rebels in the Arab Spring.
But all this paints a picture that I feel is a little bit unfair. Even on the Tor network, not everything is hard-edged crime, drug deals, and cyber fugitives. Even there, hidden amongst the piles of shit, war, and filth of the human kind (I really didn't need to know the kiddy porn wiki has a category named 'hurtcore'), under the mud of human mental and social excrement lie gems of fluffy adorableness waiting to shine their light into the darkest corners of the darknet. Yes, even here the human desire for creativity and expression manifests itself! Therefore I present to you: some of the softer sides of the darknet.
Consider, for example, Silk Road merchant ChristineBeckley11. Self-described as a laid-back student trying to scrape some bitcoins together (at the time of writing, bitcoin probably wasn't the cut-throat bubble business it is now) so she can buy some magic mushrooms. And what services might she offer? Does she sell her urine to fetishists? Extreme camgirl shows? Lord no. For ฿0.55 she'll send you a beautiful, touching custom-made poem within 48 hours. Her only review even praises its artistic merit.
ChristineBeckley11's assortment also offers fortune cookies (฿0.06) which, as it would seem, are pretty popular among folks who usually buy party packs of angel dust.
A merchant named BodyInAction sells everything the average Lance Armstrong could wish for, from growth hormones to EPO, all of course for the higher goal of self-improvement. The fact that BodyInAction's ethical standards differ from the average lifestyle consultant doesn't stop him from offering quality olive oil. After all, even the beefcake lifter lifestyle deserves the joys of a proper and tasteful frying pan lubricant.
Appearance: Clear greenish golden yellow
Smell: A good fruity smell of olives, no vinegar or metal
Taste: Very clean and smooth olive taste, not pungent or bitter
Texture: Slightly thick and smooth
This is a very good oil, and I can only recommend it. On a scale of 10, I would give this oil a 9, but only because I prefer slightly pungent oils myself.
Would absolutely buy again.
Read the full story on Motherboard.
By Benjamin van Gaalen | Illustration by Sjef van Gaalen
A man in Tacoma, Wash., will likely be changing his relationship status from "Married" to "It's Complicated."
Alan O'Neill's day went to hell in a handbasket last
month year when his wife of 12 years logged onto Facebook to find that her husband had spent the past two years married to another woman.
The realization came when Facebook suggested that Wife No. 1, who split with O'Neill, 41, but never actually went through with any divorcing paperwork, befriend Wife No. 2 via the robust social network's "People You May Know" feature.
Wife No. 1 looked at the profile photo in the "People You May Know" feature and saw a familiar face cutting a wedding cake with the suggested friend: her estranged husband, whom she'd left in 2009.
The woman called O'Neill's mother and learned that O'Neill, who legally changed his name from Fulk shortly after his split, had remarried another woman.
Wife No. 1 confronted Fulk and asked if the two were properly divorced. According to court records, the defendant said, "No, we are still married."
Those same court records show that O'Neill allegedly told Wife No. 1 not to tell anybody about his dual marriages, that he would correct the issue and file the proper paperwork, but Wife No. 1 went ahead and alerted authorities.
Now, O'Neill is out of his job—he'd worked as a correction officer in Pierce County until Thursday, when he was taken into custody—and facing up to a year in prison on charges of bigamy.
O'Neill has since been released from custody but has a date in court next month.
That he's currently free is no surprise. As Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist put it, "About the only danger he would pose is marrying a third woman."
Photo via Big Love/Facebook
What is porn? You may believe you hold some expertise in the matter, but are you a professional? Can you separate the phony porn from pure stuff? If so, whip out that résumé. The Chinese need you.
A non-governmental Chinese organization called simply "Safety Alliance" is on the lookout for a “Chief Pornography Identification Officer.” According to ChinaSmack, the group describes itself as a "neutral and impartial third-party organization, establishing industry standards for internet safety, improving China’s internet usage environment, protecting netizens’ internet rights and interests."
The group posted the ad to its Sina Weibo account, China's hugely popular Twitter and Facebook equivalent, on April 10. That post generated more than 120,000 shares and 20,000 comments, as well as some some predictable Chinese netizen reactions: "God has opened a door for me…" wrote one.
But is a serious position. They're not paying you 200,000 RMB (about $32,000) a year to protect the Internet, not get your jollies on.
You'll have to spend hours every day watching porn so that you can "formulate criteria for determining obscenity," which you'll then use to create educational courses on the matter. You'll also be required to rate various pornographic resources, like BitTorrent seeds and various online video sites. For instance: How would you compare PornHub to SpankWire to RedTube in a really meaningful way? You probably have no idea, because you're not a professional.
Chinasmack has the full translation of the job description. We've reproduced some of the most salient parts here: If you believe you've got what it takes, send your resume to the Safety Alliance's HR department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Research and study pornographic videos and images, formulate criteria for determining obscenity.
2. Deploy courseware on the standards of obscenity determination, and study materials such as educational videos on pornography.
3. Manage and rate pornographic resources (including BT seeds, images, and online videos).
1. Familiarity with the different standards of determination of pornographic content of different countries;
2. Familiarity with the standards of determination and express regulations concerning pornography in China’s law;
3. Familiarity with the standards of pornography identification used by CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) and various major internet providers;
4. A bachelor’s degree or above; age between 20-35; all genders;
5. Possesses good teamwork skills, and a strong sense of responsibility.
Here's a rough visual approximation of what your future job will looi like on a day-to-day basis:
And here's the full ad, in Chinese:
Photo via hansol/Flickr
Good news for people who want to take care of nearly every transaction and interaction right there on the Internet: As of today, you can use your Internet money to find yourself an Internet boyfriend or girlfriend.
Coinbase, one of the most prominent distributors of Bitcoin, that massively controversial and entirely unregulated online currency whose value has spent the past month fluctuating like Rodney Dangerfield's heartbeat during a cocaine bender, announced Tuesday that you can now use the currency to make purchases and transactions on OKCupid, an Internet dating site that's home to more than 7 million people.
"This is one more step forward for bringing Bitcoin to the masses—one at a time," the company wrote, attaching a picture of an OKCupid transaction for a six-month upgrade.
Bitcoin has been a major media talking point since its value eclipsed a $30 USD exchange rate in February. That value's mostly gone up in the past two months, breaking $100 USD April 1 before topping out April 10 at a value of $265.
According to bitcoincharts.com, a bitcoin exchange tracking website, the currency is currently valued at $73.27 USD per every one bitcoin.
Such fluctuations hardly make investing in the somewhat-shady currency a safe revenue strategy, but OKCupid's prepared.
"Our plan is to liquidate our holdings daily and turn them into US dollars,' OKCupid cofounder Sam Yagan told Ars Technica on Monday. "There's an open question as to how much liquidity there is. I think there's going to be a tremendous amount of volatility. One of the reasons why we want to be early in the mix is so we can learn."
He added that, while he has purchased a few bitcoins, he's not quite gung-ho on the online currency's validity or stability quite yet.
"I'm not doing it as an investment," he said. "I have enough in there to settle wagers and buy stuff. I'm not crazy enough to hold bitcoin as an investment strategy."
Yeah, but can it help you find a girlfriend?
Photo via OKCupid/Facebook
New Statesman writer Helen Lewis had a sizable Twitter following of nearly 30,000 people, right up until the she decided she'd had enough of online politics this weekend and deleted her account. Now, Lewis's detractors are being called bullies for driving her offline, as her departure briefly trended on Monday and ignited a Twitter conversation about who bullied whom.
It's a rabbit hole burrowing beneath a community that's struggling to define itself around new arguments for greater inclusivity and diversity—and struggling to act with integrity on the Internet.
Lewis, a deputy editor for the British news magazine, was once dubbed one of the 100 worst people on Twitter for her perceived inconsistent stance on feminist issues. She ran into trouble when she simultaneously wrote a Tumblr post about the need for nuanced conversation on Twitter, and republished a months-old Storify account of an online kerfuffle, titled "How 'privilege-checking' hurts discussion."
The Storify collected accounts of a call-out attempt gone wrong back in January, when a feminist blogger named Sam Ambreen first accused another blogger of racism, then realized she was mistaken and apologized. The blogger accepted her apology; no harm, no foul. But then Lewis, a bystander to the incident, storified it in a way that some readers felt left out crucial parts of the discussion and made light of Ambreen's eventual apology. After Ambreen and others took her to task for the lack of context, Lewis reportedly decided to unpublish the Storify.
But then in March, Ambreen wrote a blog post that reportedly caused Lewis to change her mind.
To understand this debate, we need to back up. For months, queer, disabled, transgendered, and POC (people of color) feminists have been locked in an ongoing debate over a group of popular white feminists with large public platforms. The debate centers around the concept of "intersectionality," an argument that to be an effective activist for your particular community, you can't leave other marginalized people out of your work.
Lately, a growing credo within the community is "My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit." But the growing demand for inclusion and awareness of all the other marginalized groups in any given conversation has caused a backlash among some white feminists, who feel that intersectionality can often devolve into a semantic argument about who is more oppressed that can ultimately detract from the conversation.
The argument has been intensifying for a while now. Last fall, amid an ongoing swell of criticism surrounding white feminists like Lena Dunham and Naomi Wolf, the wildly popular Caitlin Moran drew huge amounts of backlash after she landed in a maelstrom of accusations of transphobia and racistremarks by many, many, manyoffendedfeminists.
In December, Helen Lewis defended Moran by analyzing and excusing most of the major incidents Moran was being criticized for, much to the chagrin of several readers. Around the same time, she argued in the New Statesman that "privilege" was destroying the progress of feminism. The concept of "privilege" as it applies to human rights has been around since the late '80s, most famously embodied in the 1990 essay "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." In latter years, as academic theories have wended their way into online discourse, conversations about how to understand and dismantle one's own layers of socioeconomic privilege—called "checking your privilege"—have become a crucial part of the discourse around intersectionality.
But Lewis argues that the emphasis on privilege-checking impedes communication and the feminist agenda:
Why does this matter, you ask? The answer is simple: it matters because privilege-checking has thoroughly infected progressive thought. While large swathes of the left are obsessively pouncing on verbal slips on Twitter, the right are acting: systematically deconstructing not just the welfare state, but the state itself.
Privilege-checking plays into the dangerous postmodern fallacy that we can only understand things we have direct experience of. In place of concepts like empathy and imagination, which help us recognise our shared humanity, it atomises us into a series of ever-smaller taxonomical groups: working class transsexual, disabled black woman, heteronormative male.
Fast forward to Ambreen's March post. In it, she argues that intersectionality is an essential part of feminism. "If I’m mean or angry, couldn’t you at least try to understand why?" she asks. "Nobody would choose an existence where you are overlooked/beaten/murdered for the colour of your skin, or choose to be disabled or *trans."
Lewis is one of the feminists alarmed by the way intersectionality is changing the tone of feminist language. Her Storify of Ambreen's misjudged callout of "racism" attempts to illustrate her point by arguing that intersectionality was the factor that obscured Ambreen's judgment when she made her original unwarranted accusation of racism.
On April 13, Twitter user staavers noticed that Lewis had republished the Storify, still without any of the additional context, but with a note that since it was originally public, Lewis had decided it should stay up. Many Twitter users were unhappy with the decision, and asked Lewis to take it down. She briefly discussed the issue with Staavers before deleting her own tweets earlier this morning, along with her entire Twitter account.
Perhaps all of this would be little more than Internet drama; but several things make Lewis's position untenable to many of her detractors—primarily that while Ambreen is a WOC (a woman of color), while Lewis is white, straight, and cisgendered, the top of the feminist food chain in terms of intersectionality. Ambreen accused Lewis of leaving out crucial context and acting with the intent to silence her as a less privileged member of the feminist community:
The published set of tweets look they’re from somebody deranged (and yes, I’ve totally been there) and because of who she is, she can now undermine ANYTHING I have to say about feminism. I made one mistake that didn’t even fucking concern her and she can now use it against me. ... Just because you’re having a hard time accepting your immense fucking privileges, how can you then use them to shit on someone far less privileged like me?
Another New Statesman editor reportedly claimed that Lewis's Twitter deletion was just a temporary hiatus. But as her Tumblr post, in which she roundly criticizes the use of obscure terminology within the community, makes the rounds, Lewis’s followers are horrified that she was "bullied" off Twitter.
Most of them seem to be assuming that criticism over the post, rather than backlash over the Storify, was the main cause. In it, Lewis echoed her previous arguments by calling out specific terminology that the feminist community has developed to malign its own good intentions: "Then last week I was accused of fiat privilege (I eventually worked out that this referred to having lots of cash on hand, rather than something to do with having a small Italian car)."
But while her followers are praising her common sense and commitment to plain speaking about the harsh realities of sexism and the gender divide, others continue to argue that resistance to intersectionality is privilege rearing its ugly head and trying to maintain its proper position further up the sociocultural pyramid. As great-work-begins on Tumblr argues, if you're not for intersectionality, then you're maintaining a racist status quo:
Here’s the thing about being a white feminist—we’ve got it way easier than we like to believe we do. Of course we’re often subjected to cruel and offensive insults, misogyny and our opinions being shut down by mansplaining and mockery, nobody is denying that. However, when the mainstream looks at feminism, we’re what they see. ... The exclusion of non-white people from the narrative, be it fictional or otherwise, deliberately or accidentally, is something inherently rooted in racism.
On Twitter, Ambreen described the debate as the "same old shit" occurring between advocates for intersectionality and advocates for a narrower definition of feminism. But as the online social justice movement continues to grow, and more and more people call for change, Lewis' voice may be a welcome voice advocating for calmer, clearer online dialogue—even though, for today at least, that voice has gone offline.
Photo via Twitter / Google webcache
To quote the University of Florida's head football recruiter, "The message is CLEAR."
He wants to scare the ever-loving daylights out of potential players on Twitter.
For some reason, Coach Joker Phillips's Twitter account is now spewing terrifying, terrible art that puns on his first name. Specifically, he seems to want players to associate him with the Joker from Batman comics—you know, the chaotic, psychopathic archvillain.
In Phillips's most recently tweeted picture, the evil Joker hangs out in the background. Four clown heads surround the villain. They're meant to represent the Florida wide receivers tagged in the tweet; each has one of those players' numbers etched on his forehead. It's unclear what, exactly, Phillips hopes to convey with the image; at least two of those clowns are ones killed robbing a bank in the opening scene of The Dark Knight.
It's not the only time Phillips has tweeted utterly unenticing Joker art. On April 8, he tweeted"As everyone in GatorNation awoke. The Joker awaits everyone on the field to come out & play," accompanied by a photo of Jack Nicholson's Joker sporting Florida garb.
And back in March, Phillips did the same thing with Heath Ledger's Joker, coupled with the line "IT'S TIME TO COME PLAY WR FOR THE JOKER!"
It's entirely possible a grad student tweets these marriages between text and image, but the account does promise it's the "OFFICIAL twitter" of Phillips.
Unlike the fictional Joker, at least the football one is unintentionally funny.
Photo via @jokerphillips/Twitter
Whether intentionally or not, YouTube has given radio host Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory cohorts more ammunition for their latest claim.
On Tuesday morning, Jones wrote on his Facebook page that a month-old Family Guy episode foretold the tragic events that transpired during Monday's Boston Marathon. His post also included a YouTube video that showed the supposed link between the two.
The clip was originally uploaded to Prison Planet Live, an account belonging to a site owned and operated by Jones, but was eventually taken down from the video sharing site and replaced with the following notice:
Photo via YouTube
Jones has only been emboldened by the takedown of the video, accusing YouTube of censorship on Twitter.
Also backing the dubious censorship claim is Paul Joseph Watson, writer and editor for Jones' InfoWars and Prison Planet.
"YouTube has now censored a commentary video which merely pointed out that a recently broadcast episode of Family Guy contained scenes eerily similar to those that unfolded during the Boston Marathon attack," he wrote in an update to a post he penned for InfoWars earlier today. "YouTube deleted the video claiming it contained, 'spam,' 'scams' or 'commercially deceptive content,' when it contained none of these things. YouTube has also placed a strike against the host channel and threatened to delete it."
Watson also admitted that two separate clips from Family Guy had been edited together—in the actual episode, the bombs in question don’t detonate at the marathon—but said that this didn't make his and Jones's assertions false.
He concludes his note in true InfoWars fashion, by alleging that this is yet another attempt to silence those who speak the truth.
"This underscores the fact that if they will censor a cartoon in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, they will censor anything—including your right to merely talk about it."
In addition to updating his post on InfoWars, Watson uploaded a follow-up video to YouTube:
YouTube hasn't exactly made it easier for the conspiracy trolls to go away. Instead of stating that the video was in violation of someone else's copyright—Fox owns the rights to Family Guy—the company used a different notice, one that contained two words—"scams" and "commercially deceptive content"—that do not appear anywhere on YouTube's community guidelines.
Also not helping is the fact that Fox announced that they were pulling "Turban Cowboy," the episode in question, from Fox.com and Hulu.com.
YouTube has yet to respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment.
Photo via Alex Jones/Facebook
If you've ever suspected cats are quietly plotting to take over the world, you were right.
The leaderless collective of cats (or, perhaps, humans claiming to be cats) known as the Whiskas Liberation Front, or WLF, seeks an end to cat oppression. They care not for cheap, low-grade snacks, nor stiff nap cushions. They use the Internet and mainly Twitter (under the hashtag #WLF) to fight injustice, especially when it's related to their own comfort cause.
We spoke with WLF comrade Widu, who gave us a rundown: The collective was founded in May 2010; its members, located all over the world, are likely "well into the thousands." And while the original goal of the "Central Catmittee" was obtaining "posh food," it's a little more ambitious now.
Every Wednesday evening, the collective congregates at 9pm BST to take out frustrations on a "politician or organization that the collective deems unacceptable," according to Widu. The WLF evokes its displeasure at said target by metaphorically "widdling" (read: peeing) on him, her, or it. Cat power, indeed.
When former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher passed away, WLF members angry with her policies celebrated with a "yowl," a collective cry on Twitter. One reason why WLF members might be more angry with her than most: she ended free milk for schoolkids before taking the U.K.'s top office.
However, not all of the members were on board. Some found the jubilant mood around a person's death distasteful.
This is no mere roleplaying. All the comrades are real cats, Widu assured us, and many have thousands of Twitter followers. Many of the cats have passed away (or "joined the 10th Battalion," to give the WLF euphemism). Widu herself joined that battalion in January last year. Members mark the transfer of a comrade to the 10th Battalion with a yowl, this time celebratory in tone.
The WLF does not simply look out for its own interests, however. It has run fundraisers to help feed stray cats and for St. Francis Hospice for Cats. Members also raised money in aid of Daisy, an honorary WLF comrade who was abused.
To become a WLF member, one must abide by the code and code of conduct to keep conversation respectful, safe, and fun. Prospective cadets need to engage in the #wlf conversation on Twitter and follow existing comrades. Become involved enough with the members and the cause. Wannabe recruits might just received a beret for their service, which they can adorn on their Twitter avatars.
Widu (a.k.a. @BigWidu) is a founding member of the WLF, along with @RowleyWaycat, @MrGingerCat, @tiddlesfry, and @NyxTheNightCat. Comrades are privy to an anthem and training videos, are invited to take part in marching songs, and can adorn a uniform—a T-shirt for their humans to wear. There are also comrades of a canine heritage, who stand fast with their feline friends. Among such sympathizers is Buddy, a male golden retriever in Canada.
Members occasionally get together to hold a "Catference." in May, comrades will meet to discuss policy, cadet training, and issues regarding staff (i.e. the cats' human companions). In a post on Eldrid Elephant's blog, one of the main hubs for WLF activity, members have offered suggestions for the agenda. They include animal testing, animal cruelty and a discussion about refocusing the WLF towards its"socialist campaigning roots."
The WLF has received some attention beyond the Internet. Among its most notable advocates is Cerys Matthews, a singer and BBC 6 Music radio host who has mentioned the collective on air. They made her an honorary member.
The movement has had a profound impact on some of its members, honorary or otherwise. For Widu, the WLF comrades "have been an inspiration to me and have always been there for me during difficult times."
Never leave a good cat behind.
First comes the shock, then comes the shame, then comes the sex. In Boston, the tragedy surrounding Monday's Marathon quickly swayed full swing.
By Monday night, opportunistic men and women had turned to Craigslist to find that special someone that they could shake away the sadness with.
A brief run through the online marketplace's Personals section reveals that there's a wild community out there that just wants to shake off the devastation surrounding Monday's marathon bombing and climb into bed with someone who wants some company.
Celebrate life with some sad, sad sex.
We'd show you the header for this post, but then you'd have to see a dick pic. Nobody needs that.
Life is short, and so's your stamina.
"Brighten your night" with this creepy guy who wants a woman 15 years his senior.
Safe to say this woman and her sensuous sheets will not be involved in any part of this arrangement.
This guy hopes they find "the persons who did this." In the meantime, y'all should Yahoo! IM each other until he asks you for some creepy sex.
This person should find that person.
Some tasteless joke about someone finishing early…
"Marathon." Got your attention? Cool, let's have some creepy, casual sex.
H/T Salon | Photo via Craigslist
In the three days since Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" video went online, it's received over 3 million views and prompted discussion about inner beauty and self-esteem issues for women. Many viewers have called it "beautiful" and "eye-opening."
"You are more beautiful than you think," the video attests.
But if Dove's entire point seems borrowed from One Direction; the viral video, in which a forensic artist illustrates the way women downplay their own appearances, is cloaking something more serious than the idea that women don't know-oh-oh what makes them beautiful.
In the video, the forensic artist, who can't see the women he's drawing, asks them to describe their physical appearances. The adjectives the women use to describe themselves are pejorative: big, freckled. When they describe each other, however, the words change from negatives to positives: "protruding chin" becomes "nice thin chin." Bystanders comment on how "nice" and "pretty" the women's eyes are. One woman, looking at the two portraits of herself, comments that the self-described portrait is "closed off and fatter...sadder, too." The other one is "more open, friendly, happy."
After they see the two photos, the women stop describing themselves in purely physical terms. One of them states that her "natural beauty" impacts everything else in her life, from her profession to how she treats her children. "It couldn't be more critical to your happiness."
Some viewers, however, aren't convinced that what Dove is offering up as "natural beauty" in this instance is what they should be buying. On Tumblr, jazzylittledrops has eloquently argued for a different reading of the video, as less a deconstruction of healthy self-esteem and more an insidious reminder that even when being told they are beautiful, women are still being valued by their physical attributes above all else—and that those attributes have alarmingly racist connotations.
She begins by pointing out that most of the participants are blonde and blue-eyed:
When it comes to the diversity of the main participants: all four are caucasian, three are blonde with blue eyes, all are thin, and all are young (the oldest is 40). ... We see in the video that at least three black women were in fact drawn for the project. Two are briefly shown describing themselves in a negative light (one says she has a fat, round face, and one says she’s getting freckles as she ages). Both women are lighter skinned. A black man is shown as one of the people describing someone else, and he comments that she has “pretty blue eyes”....Out of 6:36 minutes of footage, people of color are onscreen for less than 10 seconds.
Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign has been going strong since 2004. In the past it has used "real women" to attempt to celebrate beauty in many forms. ("Wrinkles? Wonderful.") But this isn't the first time it's received criticism in the past for its emphasis on physical appearance in the guise of promoting self-esteem, such as a 2007 video in which it depicted a brown-skinned, brown-haired girl who "wishes she were blonde."
Photo via Simply Dovely
Skin whitening is an extremely popular practice in parts of Africa and Asia; in Nigeria alone eight out of 10 women are reported as users of skin bleach and other lightening products. In 2007, India forced Unilever to pull television ads for Fair and Lovely, perhaps because of the messages they sent that women with dark skin were unattractive; yet in 2009, they were back with another disturbing ad, in which a young girl is considered dowdy until she has a Fair and Lovely makeover:
In this context, the Dove Real Beauty video's focus on blonde, blue-eyed women and images of women with light skin takes on a different racial overtone, as well as a markedly negative one towards women who don't fit the thin Aryan beauty model. Jazzylittledrops points out that words like "fat, rounder face, freckles, fatter, 40— starting to get crows feet, moles, scars," are all given negative connotations in the video, while words like "thin," "cute," and "nice blue eyes" are all positives. The blog Simply Dovely, devoted to pointing out all the contradictions in Dove's beauty campaign, asks: "Is the Dove campaign marketing and even exploiting the fears women have of not meeting these beauty expectations?"
At the close of her rant, which is rapidly gaining attention on Tumblr, jazzylittledrops reminds women that physical beauty is not the sum of their identities:
Brave, strong, smart? Not enough. You have to be beautiful. And “beautiful” means something very specific, and very physical....This is a lie.
Go out for jobs that you want, that you’re passionate about. Don’t let how good looking you feel like you are affect the way way that you treat your children. … Don’t let your happiness be dependent on something so fickle and cruel and trivial. You should feel beautiful, and Dove was right about one thing: you are more beautiful than you know. But please, please hear me: you are so, so much more than beautiful.
Photo via YouTube
CNN has done it again.
Shortly after reporting a suspect was arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing case, CNN followed other networks in confirming its source was incorrect and that no arrest had been made.
This video compiled by Talking Points Memo shows the dramatic retraction as it happened on air:
It's another flub for CNN after the network wrongly reported last June that the Supreme Court had struck down President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
As is often the case when a corporate entity screws up in a very visible fashion, Twitter's comedians slapped down CNN with caustic wit. And they’re back at it after today’s retracted report about the Boston investigation.
After yet another embarrassing incident, one has to wonder if Anderson Cooper will be on the phone to his agent tonight, demanding to get the Today hosting gig and move far away from CNN's clutches.
Here are Twitter’s funniest digs at CNN today:
Photo via @CNNsources/Twitter
Monday was going to be a day about family for Sydney Corcoran and her mother. Patriots Day in Boston: the Red Sox, the Marathon, the revelry, the community.
The two had arranged to meet Sydney's father at the race's finish line to cheer on her aunt as she completed the 26-mile race. They were standing just a few feet from a backpack when a bomb packed inside the bag exploded and shook the pulse of the entire country.
Shrapnel from the bomb sliced into both the women's legs, leaving the two wounded and stranded on the Boston street, bleeding profusely and in need of medical attention.
The two were transported to Boston Medical Center and entered into the emergency room. Sydney, 18, had deep injuries and a massive amount of blood loss, but Celeste's injuries were dire: She'd need her legs amputated.
The news was altogether terrible; what made it worse was the way it would affect their lives. Sydney, a high school senior, was prepping for her first year at Middlesex Commmunity College in the fall. Celeste, a hairdresser married to a delivery driver, quite literally worked on her feet all day. Without legs, she couldn't perform any aspect of her job.
Family members decided that they'd find a way to help. They got in their cars and cruised up and down I-95 to drive through New England to meet them in Boston.
Alyssa Carter, a cousin, had come up with another idea: She went on to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe and set up a Celeste & Sydney Recovery Fund, a campaign that Carter initially hoped would raise $20,000.
Carter originally shared it with a Corcoran-focused group on Facebook, but the news started to spread beyond the family. Before long, she told Mashable, even E!'s Chelsea Handler threw a contribution to the two embattled women, donating $15,000 to help with their recovery.
Opened Tuesday, the campaign has currently raised more than $215,000. On Wednesday, Carter upped the listed goal to $300,000 "as to not discourage anyone from donating since we were quickly approaching our initial goal."
The two Corcoran women are set for another round of surgeries this week. Carter says that the nurses were able to get the two into the same room and push their beds together so they can hold hands.
"Celeste has been incredibly positive and Sydney has been able to crack a few smiles despite the ordeal," she wrote. "The family has been amazed by the flow of donations and is elated, which truly speaks to the amazing power of love and generosity.
"They have a challenging journey but you all have truly helped to ease the pain."
The rush to help the two Corcoran women is just one in a series of countless examples of Bostonians and fellow Americans coming to the aid of injured and displaced victims of the bombing. Facebook users have flooded marathon pages with condolences and well-wishes. Redditors have sent pizza and offered frequent flyer miles to help families get to their loved ones. Locals set up a Google doc shortly after the bombing took place to help offer shelter to victims.
"We owe them unspeakable gratitude," Carter said. She was speaking specifically of the first responders who came to the Corcoran women's aid, but she could have meant it for nearly everyone else involved.
Photo via Alyssa Carter/GoFundMe
The genius of 100 Percent Men is that it offers almost no commentary on the images it posts to Tumblr. It doesn't have to. The photos speak for themselves.
The recently launched Tumblr displays pictures of groups, businesses, gatherings, and social organizations that are comprised entirely of men. No institution is safe: billion dollar corporations, media outlets, politicians, entertainers, and the U.S presidency have all been targeted so far by the blog.
The effect of the posts, which are generally screencaps of websites and images found around the Web, is to starkly visualize the fact that gender and power are closely related. So are power and race. While the Tumblr doesn't limit itself regarding race, it doesn't have to, either: Nearly all of the all-male boards and memberships and organizations listed on the site so far are predominantly white.
The papal conclave
Depressing, hilarious, or both? Some lists, like the list of every The Tonight Show host, may seem trivial, especially when compared with all the U.N. secretaries, all the heads of the World Trade Organization, and threeoilcompanies. But by giving you the small things (Groupon's management) along with the big (all the Joint Chiefs), we see how pervasive and complete the issue of gender inequality is.
"It just bears repeating."
Inspired by 100 Percent Men, I decided to see how easy it was to find things that were 100 percent men. I started with what seemed a foolproof gambit: an image search for "board of directors." Sureenough, 100 percentmale, mostly whiteboards of directorswereininstantabundance. Even more striking to me were the largenumbersofboardsthathadonlyonewomaneach.
Photo via Wake Christian Academy
While it may be unfair to judge the merit of an institution or project based solely upon a gender quota, increased representation of women at higher levels of society is crucial to overturning a society-wide power imbalance. The root issues that have ensured a male dean throughout history for five of America's top business schools are the same issues contributing to huge wage gaps between men and women—especially black women, who make 36 percent less than the average white American male.
Photos via 100percentmen/Tumblr
A politician was left red-faced after her Facebook page linked to a porn site rather than to her personal website.
The campaign site and Facebook page of Linda Reid, deputy speaker in British Columbia's legislative assembly, linked to lindareid.com rather than lindareid.ca. The former (which is definitely not safe for work), bears the title “Teen Flesh” and shows a number of young women engaging in sex acts.
The mixup would seem to be a typo, though Reid suggested something more nefarious was afoot.
"We will certainly get to the bottom of it," Reid told CBC News. "There's no way in the world we'd want to give anyone any notoriety for hacking into websites."
Her Facebook page appeared to have been deleted as of Thursday morning.
It's not quite clear who owns the porn site, or why they'd use Reid's name in the URL—a search for adult film actresses working under the name “Linda Reid” turned up no results. According to data from domain registrar GoDaddy, Lindareid.com was registered by its anonymous current owner in January 2010.
The errant link isn't Reid's only problem when it comes to her campaign site as she gears up for the provincial election on May 14.
Elections B.C. said the site doesn’t include authorization from a financial agent. That violates the province's Election Act. Reid told CBC she wasn't aware of any issues.
Who knows, maybe the issues are linked and the porn site is paying Reid for linking to it. Probably not, though it'd be a darn sight less embarrassing than making a typo and pinning the blame on hackers.
Photo via CBC
When a high school sex-ed instructor told students, "If your mom gives you birth control, she probably hates you," student body vice president Katelyn Campbell didn't hesitate to inform the ACLU. And when Campbell's principal threatened to report her "bad behavior" to her chosen college, Wellesley, the teen filed an injunction against him.
Campbell and her principal, George Aulenbacher, are now the unwitting subject of an online controversy in her town of Charleston, West Virginia. They've made headlines on the Web, and news even reached Wellesley, which let her know (via tweet) that they're more than excited to have her.
George Washington High School's guest was conservative speaker Pam Stenzel, an abstinence educator known for bombastic fear-mongering in her sessions. She explained to Katelyn's peers (video segment below) that condoms are not safe and that every sexual contact leads to a sexually transmitted infection.
Campbell, a senior, refused to attend the assembly, but listened to a recording of the event. She said that Stenzel's talk amounted to “slut-shaming” and it made many students uncomfortable.
School principal George Aulenbacher disagreed. "The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence. Sometimes, that can be a touchy topic, but I was not offended by [Stenzel]," he told the West Virginia Gazette.
According to Campbell, Aulenbacher was not content to leave it as a difference of opinion after she spoke to the press about her concerns. She claimed he told her, "How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?" Campbell alleges he threatened her and her future to "put forth his own personal agenda and make teachers and students feel they can't speak up because of fear of retaliation."
She hopes to protect her freedom of speech through the injunction, and she wishes to continue advocating for sexual health resources for youths in West Virginia. She claimed sex education and birth control information were "suppressed" at her school and that the nurse is barred from telling students how to get free birth control in Charleston.
Campbell wrote on Facebook that she condones abstinence but does not want girls to be shamed for having sex. "I think it’s the only way to be 100% safe," she said, "but not 100% of GW’s students will abstain. For that reason, our school should give them the tools to be safe."
Campbell is not alone in her fight. Some of her classmates plan to bring up the issue at a local Board of Education meeting Thursday evening.
"Hosting a religious group in a public school is a violation of the students' first amendment protections," wrote Gregory Lane. "Your actions are illegal, and your disregard for the highest law of the land is despicable."
Other Facebook users—but far fewer—leapt to the principal's defense.
"Keep standing up for what is right, George!" offered Julie DeTemple.
"We need more principals like him!" Tammy Trump wrote. "You are in our prayers."
Whatever happens between Campbell and her principal, she is assured of her place at Wellesley. The college, a liberal arts institution known for shaping women leaders, tweeted this message of support:
Wellesley students and alumni also applauded Campbell for standing up for her beliefs. More than 800 people signed a Change.org petition in support of her actions.
Meanwhile, the saga took a fresh twist Wednesday: Police investigated a shooting threat against Aulenbacher on a Facebook page for his supporters.
Photo via Katelyn Campbell/Facebook
The Internet showed up to save those hurt and affected by the terroristic bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday. Thursday, as the tiny town of West, Texas (pop. 2,674; not to be confused with West Texas), copes with an anhydrous ammonia explosion at the West Fertilizer Company plant that killed up to 15 people and left roughly 160 injured, one solitary man has stepped up with an Internet-ready relief effort.
Eric Vaughan is a Texan, a native of nearby McKinney, a suburb of Dallas about 1:45 north of West. Struck by the news that a the fertilizer plant had exploded and brought grave damage to a town he held dear, he took to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to create a disaster relief effort, something that could raise a little money to help those West natives in need.
"After feeling so helpless Monday after the Boston tragedy, this tragedy hitting really close to home inspired me to get something started for the people and city of West," he wrote on the campaign homepage. "I went to college just south of West and frequently stopped in town on my trips back to Dallas for food and to chat with a friend who owned a store in town. West has a special place in my heart and I felt like I needed to step up and help.
"We're hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in the city's honor."
So far, the campaign's off to a slow start—Vaughan has only raised $75—but he hopes to raise $10,000 by the time it's all said and done.
Vaughan doesn't have a clear idea about where the money's set to go quite yet, but he wrote on the campaign's homepage that "the best suggestion has been the Red Cross."
"I am hoping to find somewhere that we can directly infuse donations to," he added. "I am sure that there will be word in the coming days on where donations are needed. I am in contact with people with direct connections to West and will be working with them to find the answer to this question asap and will be updating the page as these answers come in."
Unclear, but likely secure. GoFundMe vice president of operations Greg Smith told the Daily Dot that the site uses a number of verification methods—Facebook accounts, direct contact information, "and a whole slew of other things"—to ensure that those creating accounts are held responsible for their proper donations.
"We have a lot of experience with this, as I'm sure you're well aware," he wrote. "This week in particular with the Boston Marathon. We'll be reaching out to the page creator and doing all we can to ensure that the page is legitimate. If we do not get a response we like, we refund donations and terminate the account."
He added that those refunds would come through the page creator's WePay account should they need to be enforced.
Hopefully none of that needs to happen. More than 75 homes are damaged. More than 160 are injured. Up to 15 people may be dead. West, Texas, needs some help—help that the Internet knows how to offer.
Photo via AndyBartee/Instagram
Let's try something. Close your eyes and imagine what Facebook looked like when you first joined. Now try to go back and imagine what Twitter used to look like. Assuming both these memories are pulled from sometime in the previous decade, chances are you're having a pretty tough time with this.
That's because both Facebook and Twitter from way back when looked remarkably different from their present forms. Though they launched with two diametrically opposed social media philosophies (one closed, the other open), the world's two leading social media sites have morphed into near perfect mirror images of one another.
Twitter debuted as the breakout star of South By Southwest Interactive in 2007, little more than a year after Facebook instituted the then-controversial "Newsfeed." And since that moment, the two leaders of the social media revolution have been continually influencing each other's development in a dual evolutionary process.
The most recent example of this can be seen in Facebook’s redesign. At a press conference announcing layout changes earlier this year, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his intention to make Facebook the replacement for the daily newspaper.
We believe that the best personalized newspaper should have a broad diversity of content. It should have high-quality public content from world-renowned sources, and it should also have socially and locally relevant updates from family, friends, and the people around you.
This stark language marks a turning point away from what Facebook has traditionally been about—connecting users with people they already know—and moving the company into a position to challenge Twitter's dominance as the social network for disseminating news. Along with the introduction of Facebook's "Subscribe" feature two years ago, which allowed users to follow people they weren't friends with (a la Twitter), Facebook's latest changes aim to take the information they already have and tailor a Twitter style feed for individual users.
The result is a hybrid of what Facebook and Twitter both do well. The aesthetics and the sheer volume of information are similar to Twitter, but the mechanics behind it are still uniquely Facebook, with its penchant for using its vast stores of data to intuitively target content at users.
That's not the only way Facebook has come to look more like Twitter. Statuses have changed from the rigid "So-and-so is..." format, to an open-ended forum for communication. And the site is rumored to soon introduce hashtags, the tool Twitter users have long used to highlight topics and keywords. Reuters said it's unclear if Facebook hashtags would allow for the same breadth of cataloging as Twitter, but along with recently introduced Graph Search, hashtags would allow Facebook users the enjoy the similar search capabilities already utilized by those on Twitter.
By making their network easier to search by topic, Facebook is trying to capitalize on one of the most pervasive aspects of Twitter: trending topics. The concept of trending on Twitter has a social cache that goes beyond the network's users. Trending on Twitter has become a quantifiable way of measuring the zeitgeist. Terms that trend on Twitter often find their way into mainstream news stories, and it could be argued that trending is just as important to an pop star's career as traditional music charts—just ask Justin Bieber.
But this social media cross pollination of ideas is not a one-way street. Twitter has also taken on several key attributes of Facebook over the years, that have made the site more personal and easy to navigate.
Twitter started out as a free-for-all firehose of information. It was a constant stream of Tweets that had to to be managed manually, by scrolling through your feed to read the content you wanted.
But as the site grew, things need to change in order in order to make the information manageable. It wasn't until after Twitter's SXSW debut that the site added an @replies column, trending topics, suggested users, lists and an enhanced multi-column format.They’re all signs of how Twitter up to what Facebook has always understood about social media, that users want these services to neatly organize their social lives.
Twitter has also adapted to make it easier to share the kinds of content most popular on Facebook. The first Twitter photo sharing service launched in 2009, and Vine, Twitter's six-second video sharing service, rolled-out earlier this year. A network founded on the idea of sharing a limited number of text characters is making it easier to share the kind of multimedia content that is most popular on Facebook.
That's not to say the two sites are one in the same. These networks are converging from very different origins, and they’re not entirely forgetting their roots. Twitter still features a faster, real-time flow of content. Facebook is still more focused on creating a catered experience based on what it thinks you want to see. But these core differences are being rapidly overtaken by changing external features.
Both sites are still less than a decade old, but already they've drastically moved away from their initial incarnations. Where once we had options, the landscape of social media seems to be narrowing. Soon enough, the identities of Facebook and Twitter may even begin to blur in peoples minds. In 10 years' time, the hard part may not be remembering what these sites used to look like. The hard part may be remembering that they are two separate sites at all.
Images by Jason Reed