Twitter

Now That Publicists Control Interviews, Let’s Thank Twitter for Revealing Which Celebrities Are Secretly Terrible

Back in 1970, Esquire ran a remarkable Lee Marvin interview, conducted by Roger Ebert. Actually, “conducted” is a bit of a strong word; as was his style in those days, he merely sat back and observed, the piece less a Q&A and more a series of impressions of the man. Marvin, who was drunk when the session began, spends the afternoon drinking more beer, listening to records, groping his girlfriend, joking about his infidelities, and talking shit. It’s a great interview — and the kind of thing you can’t imagine any star doing today. “These days the publicists only want to present the soundbite opportunity,” Ebert said of the piece years later, and he was right. We seldom get the chance to observe actors being, it seems, anything close to their actual selves. Except on Twitter. And that brings us to Jason Biggs, who (in this and many other ways) is no Lee Marvin. … Read More

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Online Harassment and the Cruel Paradox of Being a Woman on Social Media

If you haven’t read Amanda Hess’ “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet” yet, please do. The Pacific Standard piece is an essential exploration of what it’s like to be a woman online, describing Hess’ experiences with Internet harassment in chilling detail. From the moment a Palm Springs cop naïvely asks the author, “What’s Twitter?,” she builds a convincing case for women’s right to, and need for, more effective protection against people like Twitter user @headlessfemalepig, the latest of Hess’s many online harassers. … Read More

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2013: The Year the Social Media Dam Broke

I feel I have to start with a caveat, and it’s going to sound melodramatic, and it is melodramatic. But when they canceled Enlightened in March I was “done” with popular culture. The rants I could go on were epic. What got me by the throat about the end of Enlightened was that it was the best thing airing and you simply could not get people really talking about it. People get mad when I compare it to Girls, but I do because they were both low-rated shows on the same network, and to an extent were both only ever going to appeal to similar crowds: your bicoastal literary/art nerds. And I could name a single incident in Girls on Twitter and set off an avalanche of commentary, but Enlightened just had to fly solo for the entirety its brief and beautiful life. It wasn’t that the show wasn’t topical in a way that could have made it one of those nightly think piece things: it was about women and corporate greed. And it wasn’t that Enlightened didn’t provide really great personal-essay fodder, because a lot of its episodes posed giant philosophical questions about what it means to be a person in our day and age. It was a little weird and offbeat, but then a lot of more popular things — I’m back at Girls again — are, and they survive. … Read More

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(Almost) No One Is Reading Your Tweets

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What Did Our Outrage at Justine Sacco Actually Accomplish?

It’s hard to write about the Justine Sacco saga without sounding somehow self-righteous and high-handed — which is appropriate, perhaps, given that that was the prevailing mood on Friday, a day on which no one was particularly keen to do anything at work and everyone was delighted to have a good old-fashioned Twitter storm to distract them. Sacco’s bewilderingly ill-advised tweet about AIDS was, in a quintessentially 21st-century way, the big story of the weekend — no mean feat, considering the last three days have seen the ongoing saga of Vladimir Putin’s compulsory “amnesty,” the specter of civil war in South Sudan, an ongoing purge in North Korea, and the arrival of the deadline to sign up for Obamacare. But shit, that stuff is difficult. It’s much easier just to pile on some random on the Internet. … Read More

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Like, Sympathize, But Don’t Hate: How Social Media’s Enforced Positivity Is Making Us Dupes

A couple of years back, we ran a post called “The 10 Things That Are Killing Indie Music in 2011.” It discussed various ways in which the world of indie music could be better, and generated what amounted to a heap of attention for Flavorwire at the time, also stirring a healthy debate in the comments section (all of which sadly got nuked when we switched over to Facebook comments). Inter alia, several commenters took me to task for being “negative,” asking why I didn’t write something positive about the world of music instead of criticizing it. And, y’know, sure, why not? A couple of weeks later, I wrote “10 Things That We Love About Indie Music in 2011.” It generated precisely one-tenth of the traffic the first post did, proving neatly that for all people’s stated good intentions, negative pieces were a whole lot more popular on the Internet than positive ones. Or so it appeared, anyway. … Read More

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The Worst Part of the “Diane in 7A” Hoax Wasn’t the Deception

I am one of those terribly smug people who always suspected that last week’s Diane in 7A thing was fake. I should say I am usually credulous about these things. I was totally taken in by that Jimmy Kimmel twerking video, for example. But the level of detail in this guy’s tweets — I’m not using his name, let’s all forget it immediately — was a red flag in itself. I didn’t believe that 7A was an aisle seat, and I also didn’t believe anyone would answer notes passed to them on a plane by a stranger. Particularly not, I thought, hostile ones from strange men. In “Diane’s” place I would have ignored him, mostly out of reflex. My default, even after a lifetime of being known as a mouthy woman, is never to escalate. … Read More

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OK, Internet: Enough With the JFK Assassination Exploitation

“JFK blown away, what else do I have to say,” wrote the Long Island poet William Joel in his 1989 epic “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” as a sort of bridge from one era (the age of innocence) to the modern age we’re living in (“the fire,” if you will). The moment when the president was gunned down in his car on a Dallas street was, in the eyes of Joel and millions of others, the end of one era and the start of a new, scarier one. What else did anybody need to say? Well, if you walk into any Barnes and Noble, you realize that a whole lot of people have a ton of things to say, evidenced by the fact that Kennedy, his presidency, his family, and his public assassination pretty much get their own section. … Read More

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Let’s Stop Pretending Twitter Etiquette Exists

This morning, Salon ran a piece from Edward Champion about the dreaded subtweet. If you don’t know what the subtweet is — it’s quite possible you don’t, and that’s something those of us in the very insular and incestuous New York media world forget very often — it’s when you basically make fun of someone on Twitter but don’t include their name or Twitter handle. Presumably, they won’t see it. (Of course, people often do, weirdly enough.) … Read More

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