Let’s Go Full Circuit

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… WE ARE ADDICTED TO OUR PHONES, PEOPLE. If you disagree you might as well stop reading now bc I’m right (at least for the majority of the population).

Just the other day my roommate and I were discussing some ~questionable~ snaps we took on a fun night out (bc you’re only a senior in college once, right??). Anyways… she said to me, “Isn’t it crazy that we could share these videos with our kids one day?” And that hit me HARD. Sure, my parents have some cool, retro prom pics but do they have a record of just about every night they went out all stored on one app? I don’t think so…

That’s because I am much more of a DiGitAl nAtiVe than my parents are. The scary thing is children being born now will be even MORE digital native-y than I am. Mark Prensky discusses digital nativism in his article titled, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” “Thinking patterns have changed,” he claims, because we’re so quick to hop on the internet, that we literally hold in our hands, and work our way through a problem that way instead. Need to order a pizza? Order online. Need to call a repair shop? Google the closest shops and call the one with the best reviews. We’re not looking in phone books or even asking for neighbors opinions on where to take our cars in anymore. We’re lessening human contact… so we’ve become more independent? Or maybe just more DEpendent on our phones…

Guess what being dependent (especially on an inanimate object) does to you? STRESS. ANXIETY. PANIC. Why didn’t he respond to my text? Why didn’t my photo get a lot of likes?? Why aren’t I matching with anyone on Tinder??? Just writing those questions stressed me out… 😦 Sad. Why are we like this?

Maybe because we think we know what brings us happiness when we really don’t? Laura Helmuth’s “Top Ten Myths About the Brain” states, “We routinely overestimate how happy something will make us.” So, let’s stop feeling heartbroken when our photo doesn’t get as many likes as the girl who just posted the half naked photo of herself… and start LIVING.

Thanks to WikiHow, there are steps to “Go on a Cell Phone Diet” that can jumpstart your new way of livin’. Who knows how successful it is (my b), but I’m sure a little time not staring at a screen (as I type this STARING AT A SCREEN, ugh the irony) would do everyone some good. This blog has taught me so much about how different generations interact with and even deal with social media that I never could have imagined. I’m happy that I’ve really mastered my informal, digital writing style and feel like I could type away to myself ALL. DAY.

I’ll miss you WDA blog </3

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Can You Film Me Squatting? I’m trying to go viral here…

Do you ever see a video show up on your timeline with a seemingly infinite amount of like, comments, and shares and you think to yourself… of all things, how did THIS video get so popular?? Viral videos are spreading quicker than chicken pox in a kindergarten classroom yet it seems there just might be a method to the madness.

To get started, I googled “viral” and you will not believe what I found. Merriam-Webster has the following definitions:

viral  /ˈvīrəl/  adjective

  1. of the nature of, caused by, or relating to a virus or viruses.
  2. relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information, etc., that is circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.

*insert shook face here* Do you SEE the second definition?? How long you think that’s been there? You think pictures drawn on the inside of cave walls back in the day ever went viral? Yeah, me neither.

Anyways, now that we know what ~viral~ means, let’s learn HOW to become viral ourselves. According to a New Yorker article by Maria Konnikova titled, “The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You,” the most common traits of viral videos are that they provoke an emotional response (positive response is best), they provoke some sort of arousal, they are memory-inducing, they have a social currency, they are a quality source of media, and they have practical value. If you reflect back on the videos you are most likely to share on social media, do they have many of these qualities? I know mine do…

Unlike the New Yorker article which is backed up by relevant research, there are lots and LOTS of sites teaching you “how to go viral” that might not be as credible as you think. An example is an article titled, “How to Make a Viral Fitness Video,” which recommended the following tips: keep the basics in check, consistency is key, credit yourself, and capitalize on the moment. I don’t know about you, but to me these traits don’t sound extremely provoking or emotion-inducing like we would expect. Do fitness videos differ that much from your “typical” viral video? Although a fitness video potentially has a smaller target audience, I think sticking with the previously mentioned six traits can take your lifting video to the next level instead of just posting the same thing all the other 48302jdfewjd08r5w843 “fitness bloggers” post everyday. 🙂

Another take on ~viral~ content comes from Mr. Kevin Allocca, a YouTube trends manager (he literally watches YouTube videos for a living… I think I went to the wrong school)…

According to Mr. Allocca, viral videos happen because of three things:

  1. tastemakers
  2. communities of participation
  3. unexpectedness

He brings up a good argument for why videos go viral with even BETTER examples – watch it, it’s funny. My personal favorite is the clip with the cyclist talking about how typical it is for obstructions to be in bike lanes as he continually runs into them (5:38 if you’re not going to watch the whole thing *eye-roll*). Nobody who starts watching that video with no previous knowledge of what happens would have predicted his funny and maybe painful actions. Because of this, people want to share it to share the shock they ~felt~ when first watching it.

The word ~felt~ takes us back to those things called feelings which was the number one trait of a viral video… we went full circle if ya didn’t notice. So whether you share a video because of the emotions you feel when you watch it or whether you really just want to show off that grainy, poor quality video of your new PR, keep in mind what makes something viral and you might just become as popular as this lady with her wine weights. Cheers.

FindYourLiftingLover.com

No matter who you are, what you like, or where you’re from, there is most likely a dating website just for you! Thanks to the increase in popularity in cyber relationships, the market for online dating has spread to great lengths you wouldn’t even believe… think zombies, nudists, gold diggers… do you get the picture? There’s something out there for E V E R Y O N E. It might sound bizarre or even desperate at first, but is online dating really that taboo anymore?

Image result for online dating

According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of American adults are internet users and 30% of recent daters have used their social media networks to get more information about people they are interested in dating.” That’s an extremely large number of people (& that’s just in America) that are perusing the internet for potential lovers… We’re all human and we all adapt, though. The amount of time we spend on our cell phones has wildly increased within the last decade so it’s not surprising that our relationships have transferred from real life to on screen as well. If my boyfriend is too busy on his cell phone to hang out with me then why not just bug him on the thing he’s staring at all day instead of me, right?? 🙂 To me, online dating seems like the next logical step in a world that is continually trashing real life interactions for tech ones. However ~weird~ the categories are that online dating sites have separated themselves into… to each his own.

An intriguing article just posted by Business Insider titled, “Scientists think relationships that start online may have a huge advantage over relationships that start in real life,” discussed a recent study regarding relationships started online. Although it does not prove that relationships started online are indeed stronger than those that weren’t, it does show that most relationships started online have typically better results due to the fact that both people in the relationship most likely signed up for an account with the intent of beginning a new relationship. This was about as shocking to me as the article that states sending an email is more intimate than leaving someone a voicemail. As mentioned earlier, our time spent on cell phones and computers (& basically away from human contact tbh) really is impacting our relationships because our behaviors are permanently changing. Acts as simple as reading the printed newspaper have become almost obsolete because of our increased use of technology and social MEDIA interactions.

Out with the old [likes] & in with the new [comments]

Want to know what would be cool? If you commented on this post after you’re done reading it… 🙂 Why, you ask? Personally, I like hearing how people agree/disagree with my point of view on different subjects (especially since only about 0.0000007% of the population will ever see this post anyways), but not everyone is feelin’ the same way. NPR, for example, announced their speedy removal of comments from their journalism sections in this article. They decided to “rely on social media to pick up the slack” which, to me, sounds like taking a problem and just transporting it elsewhere versus resolving it, but what do I know, right?? Anyways, their decision came from a result of many concerns such as discovering most of their comments were coming from just a handful of site users and that a lot of the comments recommended removing this privilege to comment (so ironic) because of the chaos they were causing on the web. Regardless of what pushed NPR over the edge to cut off comments altogether, let’s agree to disagree with them…

Comments… are a wonderful thing. Lots of comments make your post more interactive and therefore more popular. Lately, I have noticed more and more fitness accounts asking questions in their captions just so that viewers feel they NEED to comment on their post. Although a comment is… just a comment, I don’t think the typical instagrammer realizes how helpful those really are to the owner of the account. An ~awesome~ and extremely long infographic found here describes “the evolution of social media influencers” and just how important getting your page on as many peoples profiles as possible is. It’s worth the read because it really details how we made that transition from Hollywood celebrities being the desired advertiser to accounts with smaller reaches but more personal and interactive users following it.

Continuing on with the “we {heart} comments” theme, let’s look at another example where adding comments paid off big time for one particular artist. In an article posted here on Forbes, Richard Prince sold “works of art” AKA other peoples insta pics with new captions and comments for BIG bucks. Unsurprisingly, the people who’s pics he used are revolting, but the awkward thing is that no one really knows if it’s ~actually~ stealing or not. Weird.

Thankfully, social media is adapting to the times (does it feel like social media is always one step ahead of us??) and insta now gives you the option to toggle on and off if you want your followers to be able to comment on your pics or not. I keep comments on because I enjoy seeing people’s reaction to my posts but keep in mind when you’re commenting on other posts to keep it respectful… don’t be THAT GUY.

The More {words}, The Merrier

Thoughts on Wikipedia? I know you have some… Since I first started aimlessly clicking around on the internet years ago, I remember being warned how untrustworthy this site was. Ironically, now Wiki is typically the first site I go to if it’s available on a subject I’m researching. Anyways, in 2006, WIKIPEDIA posted an article on the reliability of WIKIPEDIA… conflict of interest? I think yes. It goes on and on about different studies that compared Wikipedia to other well-known encyclopedias and results were it ~typically~, ~sometimes~, ~most of the time?~ measured up to its competitors. Convinced Wikipedia is reliable yet? Same.

All this talk about untrustworthy posts on the internet got me thinking about the hundreds of posts I scroll through each and every day (religiously) on my Instagram app. I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept. Can we really trust what we read on there? Did Mary really lose 20 pounds by becoming a vegetarian? Did Tyler really bench more than “any NFL player ever” last week?? The world may never know but one trend may give us insight into what types of posts are more believable than others.

A study titled, “Size Matters: Word Count as a Measure of Quality on Wikipedia,” compares the word count of articles posted on Wikipedia to its quality and also its probability of becoming a featured article. They “achieved a 96.31% accuracy in the binary classification task” of separating articles that contained more than 2,000 words. Does this mean that we should trust instagrammers who post novels underneath their photos more than those who don’t? Personally, my eyes feast on short, witty captions AKA maybe I’m just not trendy enough?? Although the Instagram app itself hasn’t changed much over time, the way we use it definitely has. Think of all the workout routines posted as captions, the diet ideas, and the *inspiring* quotes we are exposed to on a daily (hourly?) basis. We’re getting more in depth with what we share on social media and experts are catching on.

Whether you’re a celebrity, a wannabe celebrity, a human, or just your average social media-loving college student, we can all agree that people are gettin’ a little wordy on the gram, right? An article titled, “Are Super-Long Instagram Captions the New Personal Blog?” dives into this idea (I smell irony in the long title about the long posts… just sayin’). It shows popular examples of posts with more words than Instagram should allow… where’s the word count, Insta?

Recent Example (I’m sure you’ve already seen this since Selena has 127 million followers):

selena gomez

A common theme, present in Selena’s post above as well, is that captions tend to get longer the more personal we get. People want to explain themselves in a way that’s not short and sweet, but long, emotional, and detailed. This brings us back to the idea of trust. Do more words and longer captions really make us trust someone more?

Just like lengthy Wiki articles, long posts get more attention. Maybe we get caught up in the idea that a longer caption means more work went into it therefore it should be rewarded more? Whether you think the length of the post matters to its credibility or not, we can all agree that #AllLengthsMatter.