Of the Icebox

Words about stuff and sometimes things

The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles — August 28, 2019

The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles

As you should all know, I’m not a social media trend-setter. While I’ve worked in marketing for years and managed many corporate social media accounts and strategies, I’ve never really been interested or invested in any social media platform for my own personal purposes. I recently opened a Twitter account against my better judgment and even that feels like too much work (or too close to work, as the case might be).

What you might not know is that while I’m not a social media trend-setter, I am a social media trend-spotter. I see patterns and analyze social media data like no body’s business. I’ve done it professionally for years. And through my years of painstaking labor, I’ve birthed something for your enjoyment. (You’re welcome & I’m sorry for the birthing metaphor. At least I didn’t make you eat the placenta.)

Kardashian jokes aside, I’d like to present to you The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles (hereafter, colloquially known as, TUTOS MPLC).

I was inspired to post this after watching a documentary on Hulu called Jawline. (Hulu=consolation prize for living in the US during the Trump era.) It’s about young people trying to become social media stars and it made me feel simultaneously old and worried for today’s youth despite being only 29 myself.

The thing that didn’t surprise me at all about Jawline was that the kids documented were popular on social media sites that I’d never heard of, and that these sites were being used as a measure of their success. Anyone heard of YouNow? Cause the young people in your life probably have. And you’ll probably have an account in 5 years. Why? It’s all in the unified theory. So without further ado, I present to you…

TUTOS MPLC

If you’re a kid/teen then TUTOS MPLC will be intuitive to you. You just don’t yet have the verbal reasoning skills to express it. Allow me to help.

But first, for those of you that are not verbal learners (how the heck did you end up on my blog?), a visual aide to help you along.

TUTOS MPLC visual aide.

TUTOS MPLC written theory.

TUTOS MPLC dictates that a social media platform is born when, first, the kids ‘discover’ it. Then companies/brands sign up for accounts trying to market to kids and prove their continued relevance. The only reason companies discover these sites before parents is because social media marketing teams are run almost exclusively by millennials and millennial marketers can sniff out a teen trend like they’re Edward Cullen in a biology lab. Please pause for Twilight tribute.

And, for a split second, kids and millennials and marketing vampires are all hanging out in a hip and edgy ‘cool kids’ club that no ones parents are monitoring. This was Instagram 8 years ago.

But then some parent started asking where you, the kid, have been spending all your time because you haven’t been posting on Facebook lately even though your phone is permanently glued to your palm. You send out an emergency alert to all your friends, warning them that the ‘rents are sniffing around and reminding everyone to shut their big, beautiful, invisaligned mouths but there’s always that one kid that snitches, usually a mama’s-boy named Chuck, and suddenly all the parents flock to the site to see what you and 200,000 of your vampiric friends have been up to.

Then one of the parents writes some investigative piece of ‘journalism’ about where the youth of today have been spending all of their time and it ends up in The Atlantic and a spin-off of that article is adapted for a story on 60 Minutes and a spin-off of that story becomes an integral plot element in a true crime documentary.

The next thing you know, Grandma and Grandpa are calling up your parents, asking if they’ve heard about this dangerous, new social media site or app or whatever that kids are into. Your grandparents are genuinely concerned because they heard that kids are being sexploited and pressured into all kinds of peer activities.

Your parents make some sarcastic joke about how paranoid your grandparents are because everyone has an account on this platform, even them, and for a split second, your parents feel cooler than their parents again. But then your Grandpa pulls a fast one on your mom and calls you up to ask you to help him and Grandma set up an account. And there you are, Chuck, fucking us all again.

At the exact same time that your Grandparents are opening an account, campaign managers from politicians offices across the country are watching reruns of 60 minutes and realizing there are millions of voters now frequenting this one website and there are almost no politicians currently using it because they’re all still on Twitter. It’s their opportunity to bring their message to the ‘youth’. But let’s be honest. All of the ‘youth’ vanished from that platform in search of the next parent-free zone shortly after Chuck snitched the first time. And so the cycle continues.

TUTOS MLPC Numerical Aide

If you’re more of a numbers person, you haven’t been left out. Please feast your eyes on the Quantified Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles:

And so I leave you with my unified theory that I expect will one day lead to a prestigious award and much notoriety.

Are you a hipster? Find out with this 10 question quiz. — August 21, 2019

Are you a hipster? Find out with this 10 question quiz.

I suppose you might suspect that this is an elaborate plot, utilizing my marketing knowledge that people are a sucker for a silly quizzes and labels, to get you to interact with my blog. And let’s face it, I might be doing that to collect your precious, personal data for my own nefarious purposes. But no matter how much data I collect from you during this quiz, you can rest assured that it’s not as much as Facebook is collecting.

Data Disclosure: To confirm, I’m collecting no (0) data from this quiz other than raw numbers from your answers. I have no interest in your data and have no buyers for it (sad but true). I can’t track the answers back to the responder and don’t want to. It was created purely for the sake of giving you 5 minutes of mindless, harmless internet fun. It was created using Google Forms. The form will ask to take you to a 3rd party website after completions to view your results. This 3rd party website is Google Forms.

The moment of truth. Your results indicate…

21-30 Points: You’re a Hipster

You’re a hipster through and through. What trend will you be supporting next year? Will you be chewing on whole honeycomb straight from the hive? Will you start a movement in support of mismatched socks? Will you decide that big box stores are more socially responsible than Amazon and become an unexpected advocate of Wal-Mart? Are you going to make crossword puzzles cool again? Pray tell, I’m looking to invest.

11-20 Points: You’re a Hippie

You’re a good old-fashioned hippie. Too bad they cancelled Woodstock this year. I know you resoled your Birkenstock’s in preparation. At least there’s always burning man to look forward to. You live in a state where Mary-Jane is legal for recreational use.

1-10 Points: You’re a Yuppie

You live by the rules of society but you live well. You enjoy life and luxury and fine food and if your grandparents were just starting out, they’d be living just like you. You dream of taking risks but rarely take them. You dream of making the world a better place but you’re not going to sacrifice your children or your straws or your pumpkin spiced lattes to get there.

0 Points: Grand(ma/pa)? Is that you?

Let’s face it. You’re probably over 60. You’ve never been cool. You’ve never wanted to be. You’re comfortable just as you are. You’re mild-moderately paranoid about becoming the victim of identity theft or a serial killer, you’re socially and politically conservative, and you don’t like to explore things that are outside of your comfort zone. You play one hell of an accordion and have a number of other talents under-valued by society.

On really wanting to be a psychic. And failing. — August 14, 2019

On really wanting to be a psychic. And failing.

When I was a younger youngster than I am now and psychics were a regular feature of daytime TV and commercials , I wanted to be a psychic. As a typical millennial, a belief that I could do whatever I put my mind to was fed to me daily at breakfast. So I ate my Froot Loops and put my mind to it. And so would begin my decade long journey towards repeated failure and disillusionment.

I didn’t go into this quest blind and dumb. No, friends. I knew I’d have to do more research than watch Sylvia Browne on Montel twice a week. I went to Barnes & Noble and Borders and browsed several books on the topic for several hours each. When one book suggested I try squinting and crossing my eyes until I saw auras forming around other people, I stood right in the middle of Barnes & Noble and did my darnedest to summon some auras. And, honest to G-d, it worked for a couple hours.

This convinced me that I might have the gift after all and would keep me on my wayward path for way too long. Eventually, one of the bookshop employees told me I needed to buy the book or get a library card because I was wearing out the spines and they promise people new books, not lovingly used books. I settled on a deck of tarot cards from Amazon and a library card which explains why America is where it’s at today–Borderless and B&N-less (that’s buns & nuts).

Anyway, after my aura experience, I was so convinced that I had the gift that I even talked to my PCP about it when he asked me what my goals were in life. I told him about my quest to psychic-dom and the auras I had summoned at B&N and he told me that seeing auras were a symptom of my migraines. My faith was shaken, friends, but not stirred.

So I told my PCP that I read a numerology book that had my moderately unusual name listed in it (what are the odds?) and it said that I was going to grow up to spend all my money on books and wine and that I wouldn’t settle in love until I met my soulmate and we were going to be passionate and loyal lovers.

He had nothing to say about this except that it sounded like a good life and he wished me luck but to remember that alcoholism runs in my family so I should take it easy on the wine. Small town PCP’s are the best. But I digress.  

When I failed to accurately predict anything in the lives of anyone I knew for the 1000th time, I was forced (via intervention by all my loved ones) to concede that I might not have the gift of foresight. I didn’t even have the 50% accuracy rate that would be expected by random chance. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t look backwards and summon up some dead people. I just had to change course.

So I spent the next several months trying really hard to see dead people. I even went to a metaphysical shop in Old Colorado City and the retail clerk suggested I wasn’t seeing them because my 3rd eye was blocked. I didn’t even know I had a 3rd eye which explains a lot. Anyway, after she opened it for me (like, bam!) and I told her I still wasn’t seeing them, she insinuated that I didn’t believe enough. But not to worry, she had a product that could clear away my doubt and transform me into a channel for the spirits. That’s when she presented to me a small vile of fairy dust hidden behind the counter that she had somehow come into possession of. She assured me it was by cruelty-free methods. No fairies lost their wings in the making of this dust.

She suggested I let myself be sprinkled in fairy dust to clear out the bad energy my doubt had created around me. ‘You don’t want to see bad spirits, honey,’ she said, ‘trust me.’ And I did trust her. Even though the fairy dust looked like purple glitter, I didn’t outwardly doubt her.

In my defense, let me just say that she was 19 and cool and I was 15-ish and wanted to be cool like her. Peer pressure is real. How do I know this? Because I let her sprinkle me with fairy dust and I walked around with purple glitter on my scalp for 4 days. Absolutely nothing in my life changed but if I were to go back, I’d let her do it again. That’s how I know peer pressure is real, unlike psychics or mediums or ghosts which I have yet to find proof of.

The moral of this story is that even though I tried my hardest for an amount of time that can only be categorized as abnormal, I never developed psychic or medium abilities.

That is, until this week.

This week I had a dream that I can only describe as prophetic. So, picture this. I’m in my dream, holding my phone, looking at the weather app and it says that here in Florida it’s going to be 113*F on one day and 115*F the next day. Naturally, when I woke up, the first thing I did was open my weather app to see if I was subconsciously replaying weather forecasts I’d previously looked up. But none of the highs even got close.

I have interpreted this to mean that I was dreaming of a future time in which temperatures in Florida will rise so high that they’ll reach 113* & 115* respectively in these parts that currently rarely exceed 93*. Given what I know about climate change, I think this is not too far off and I might have finally been visited by the spirits and bequeathed the gift of foresight that I’ve been asking Santa to grant me for over a decade now.

So, I consulted my deeply skeptical and staunchly logical and ever patient husband who just so happens to be a scientist (opposites attract, go figure) and guess what he said? He said if climate change models are right, this part of Florida is going to be under water in 30 years which means that even if it reaches 113* or 115* by then, no one’s going to be reporting about it on a weather app because there’s not going to be a city here. Then he told me I should probably stop eating ice cream before bed.

And so the dream dies again and, with it, my spirit animal is crushed.

Numbered lists for numbed out people — or — 9 Reasons Your Dentist Hates You More Than They Hate Themselves — July 25, 2019

Numbered lists for numbed out people — or — 9 Reasons Your Dentist Hates You More Than They Hate Themselves

Do you remember a time before the internet was over-saturated with numbered list articles (also known as list posts and listicles)?

Ever since HuffPo started feeding me daily doses of listicles such as, ’10 Legit Reasons to Stop Eating Nuts’ and ‘7 Ways to Get Healthy this Summer’ I’ve been unable to escape. We are collectively being driven by our curious clicks and Google’s a-curious algorithm towards a world in which no content exists without a numbered list attached.

I’m not the first to notice. If you pay to look behind the paywall of the New York Times, you might have even read an article justifying the existence of the listicle. Or if you’re like me and don’t believe that high-quality journalism deserves to be rewarded, you search for free opinions on the matter and have found this blog.

Maybe it’s easier to consume information in lists. Can we make this stop? Do we want to? I, for one, do but first I’ve gotta get busy on delivering the promise of this blog or my google ratings will drop from ‘invisible’ to ‘actively discouraged’.

I actually have a number of listicles that I’ve been wanting to write just to do my part and contribute to the blizzard-apocolypse of listicle doom (hereafter known as the blitzticle) that we’re all actively contributing to but I’ll just start with everyone’s favorite topic: dentists!

9 reasons your dentist hates you more than they hate themselves

  1. Floss.
    No matter how many times they’ve told you, no matter how many products they’ve invented to help with the situation, you still refuse to floss. They’ve tried everything: the floss pick, the water pick, the gosh-dang 360 Sonic Brush. You just refuse to do it.
  2. The fluoride wars of 2003.
    Remember that time you Googled ‘is fluoride safe?’ and then started stock-piling Tom’s fluoride-free toothpaste because you were afraid that every dentist in America was a part of a big conspiracy to poison Americans 1 teaspoon of fluoride at a time? Yeah. Dentists hate you for that.
  3. You’ve been a bad friend.
    Because even when you found out that all dentists wanted to kill themselves, you didn’t call your dentist to make sure they were okay. You just thought, ‘That makes sense. I’ve totally met a dentist like that before.’
  4. You never took his advice to heart.
    When you were 13 and your dentist told you on the same day that he removed your braces that you’d have to wear your retainer every night for the rest of your life, you laughed in his face.
  5. You assumed all dentists were men.
    Just because a woman walks in the room, that doesn’t mean she’s your hygienist. How about you tell your biases to Dr. Sheri Doniger who was told that by being in dental school, she was taking the place of a man. Dental schools haven’t been actively discriminating against women applicants since at least April 2018.
  6. You’re totally aggro in their chair.
    Really, a total aggressive jerk. And a wimp. Doctors have relocated shoulders without administering a drop of pain medicine, soldiers have amputated limbs with little more than a leather belt and a bottle of bourbon and yet you feel a pinch against your gums and you’re whining like a toddler? There’s a reason your dentist lets you drool all over yourself.
  7. You forgot to brush.
    That’s right. I’m calling you out for that time you figured, ‘What’s the use? They’re going to clean them for me anyway. Isn’t that what I’m paying them for?’ Just gross, dude. Would you decide not to wipe your butt before going to the gastroenterologist because you’re pretty sure they’ll want a sample?
  8. The collective ugh.
    They can hear the collective groans of everyone around you when you show up to work, or the breakfast table, or your friends bat mitzvah and say, ‘I have to go to the dentist today.’ Dentists are humans too. And I’m pretty sure they have emotion-like feelings.
  9. Treat yo-self culture.
    They get it. You’ve been a good, grown-a$s boy by going to the dentist today. That doesn’t mean you get to treat yourself with an ice-cream from DQ on the way back to work. At least let the fluoride set.

Unlike respectable journalists and writers, I’ll never use this blog to charge you for my witty insights and humorous truths. Even though you totally paid that homeless dude outside the local Aldi $0.50 for his poems. But if you ever want to feel like as good of a person while you’re surfing the internet as you do while you’re walking around your neighborhood, I support your journey to moral superiority and will gladly send you real life proof of your moral superiority for you to show all of your friends.

Alternatively, if you want to keep exploiting wordsmiths without dropping a cent, you can follow me on Twitter @oftheicebox where I dispense witticisms and more for free on a regular basis.

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