Statigram

Statigram

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday !

It seems like there is a different hashtag floating around social media for every day of the week… and that’s because there is. There’s #ManCandyMonday

#TransformationTuesday

#WomanCrushWednesday

#ThrowbackThursday

#FlashbackFriday

and #SelfieSaturday or #SelfieSunday

There are different variations of these, but these are the ones I see popping up in my news feed most often. You can check out Statigram to browse all the different Instagram photos with one of those tags and find statistics about your own Instagram account’s growth history… if you really care that much.

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Oxford Dictionary dubs “selfie” Word of the Year

Oxford Dictionary dubs “selfie” Word of the Year

Selfies are the physical manifestation of the pandemic of narcissism that social media has created. You can’t peruse any Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even Pinterest feed nowadays without coming across at least a couple of selfies. Hell, I’ve even posted a selfie or two.

There is no way to reason that posting a selfie is anything but narcissistic. You wouldn’t post a photo of yourself online for anyone to see if you didn’t think your hair was totally on point that day, or that your eyes look amazing.

The unfortunate thing about social media is that it creates this illusion that our every thought is of the utmost importance. Looking through my own Twitter feed, right now I see tweets about Anna’s crazy dream last night, Beth is so excited that there are smoothie samples on campus, and Ashley can’t wait for a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving. None of these thoughts are groundbreaking, earth-shattering epiphanies. So why do we make them public?

Same reason why we take photos of ourselves in the bathroom mirror.

Terrifyingly distasteful Halloween costumes

It’s almost Halloween, my favorite time of year… and before I’ve even started the seasonal festivities, I’m already brought down by some… disappointing (to put it lightly) costume choices. People are (rightfully) fuming. Trust me, it’s all over my Twitter feed.

Let’s start first with Julianne Hough’s costume no-no. The actress dressed up as Crazy Eyes from the popular show, “Orange is the New Black” for a Halloween party last Friday. That costume idea alone wouldn’t have been so bad, if it weren’t for the fact that Hough went so far as to wear blackface as part of her costume, which made social media users respond via Twitter rants and Facebook bashings. Hough has since apologized for her serious lack of judgment.

Julianne Hough has since apologized for dressing up as Crazy Eyes from 'Orange is the New Black' on Friday.

The character in the show is played by an African American woman, Uzo Aduba.

Next, and more disturbing, are the photos circulating the Internet of (white) people dressing up as Trayvon Martin. There have been a few different photos going through the social media vine, but almost all of them look the same. White men dressed in hoodies with Skittles and iced tea in their hands and a bloodstain on their chest. Oh, and they’re wearing blackface too. Aside from the shockingly casual use of blackface we’ve seen here, do I really need to explain what else is wrong with this costume?

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February of last year.

Blackface was used in the 19th Century as entertainment for working-class white Americans. Minstrel performers would paint their faces black and sing songs, and these performances grew more and more racist over time.

Just because almost 200 years have passed since these racist shows were used for entertainment does not make it acceptable to bring them back. The history of blackface makes it impossible to be thought of as a joke, no matter how much time has passed.

Roxanne Gay’s article in the Opinion section of the L.A. Times hit the nail on the head:

“I choose to believe the[se people] don’t know how blackface was used to create offensive, degrading caricatures of black people — the exaggerated features, the buffoonery, the shuck and jive. The imagery from the 20th century was emblazoned across advertising and children’s toys. Time and again, black people in this country were told: ‘This is how we see you. This is what we think of you.’ Very little has changed.

Racist Halloween costumes are nothing new. Each year, people try to push the envelope. They think they’re being funny, but really, they’re using the freedom of Halloween, the pass we all get to indulge our secret selves, to say, to people of color: ‘This is how we see you. This is how we think of you.'”

I’m glad we live in a society in which people who do things like this can and will be called out for their actions. Our constant connectedness creates a sort of communal accountability; if you post something online that’s controversial, people will voice their opinions to you. The people donning these costumes probably had no inclination that the whole world would be talking about them. Well, they’re infamous now. Their photographs are being spread through almost any social networking site you can think of. Thanks to social media.

Timeflies Tuesday

YouTube has made it easy for just about anyone with a webcam and microphone to take a shot at impressing the world with the power of music. One group in particular has made a household name for itself on the video sharing platform in what seems like an instant.

Timeflies Tuesday is a music group that can attribute a great deal of its popularity to YouTube. I remember first catching on to Cal and Rez, the hip hop/rap/electro/pop/dubstep duo in fall of 2010, soon after they first began posting videos of covers to popular songs (every Tuesday) online. The first video I viewed was a hip hop remix of “Under the Sea,” a song from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” The originality and authenticity of the beats and accompanying music created by Rez paired with Cal’s dreamy vocal cords and creative freestyle rapping changed the way I’d think of this Disney song forever — in a good way.

And, after four years, over 160 thousand Twitter followers, and a Timeflies Music App for smartphones, I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Yes, you heard correctly. I said a smartphone app dedicated to the group, the music, the concerts, and even access to exclusive content.

Timeflies isn’t the only group who owes YouTube a lifetime of gratitude. Mashable pointed out that other contemporary musicians first found fame on the site, including Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson.

The “spreadability” of YouTube’s platform facilitates this instant stardom. As Jenkins, Ford and Green put it in their book, Spreadable Media, media content is most likely to spread if it can belong in each of these categories: available when and where audiences want it, portable, easily reusable, relevant to multiple audiences, and part of a steady stream of material.

Well, I’d say that’s YouTube. The authors of the book even touched on the video sharing site, rehashing Susan Boyle’s popularity after her performance on Britain’s Got Talent. (Even as I’m sharing the link to this video in this very post, I’m relieved at how simple it is to do so. Simple click “share” and copy the link, or click the icons to post the video to your Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Reddit… need I say more?)