Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up

Several decades into the age of digital media, the ability to leave one’s childhood and adolescent years behind is now imperiled. Although exact numbers are hard to come by, it is evident that a majority of young people with access to mobile phones take and circulate selfies on a daily basis. There is also growing evidence that selfies are not simply a tween and teen obses­sion. Toddlers enjoy taking selfies, too, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, have even managed to put their images into circula­tion. What is the cost of this excessive documentation? More spe­cifically, what does it mean to come of age in an era when images of childhood and adolescence, and even the social networks formed during this …

Black Mirror: the five best episodes so far

Black Mirror is back. From an 80s lesbian romance to a murderous choose-your-own adventure, here are the essential dystopian stories you must watch before the new season drops next week Be Right Back Season 2, Episode 1 Starring the wickedly talented duo of Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson, Be Right Back was the first Black Mirror episode to tackle death and grief, topics that would pop up again in later instalments, and which are ripe for the kind of existential, brain-scrambling tales that Brooker and co do best. Atwell plays Martha, who resurrects her late boyfriend Ash (Gleeson) as a chatbot and then later as a seemingly realistic AI robot who shares Ashs appearance but sadly not the subtle details …

I was filled with self-loathing after losing my novel on my laptop Russell Crowe came to my rescue | Brigid Delaney

While my general level of chaos has made life hard, the Gladiator is my guardian angel You dream of a novel long before you write it. It ferments in some depthless place in your subconscious and, when its ready to pop out, it will tap on your skull like a spoon against a hardboiled egg. Once the tapping starts, the best thing you can do is just clear your desk and your diary and get to work. This magical thing was happening to me a novel was knocking around in my skull. I had a rough go at it last year. It didnt work. I threw it out on 1 January and started again. I spent most of April writing, …

How the Videogame Aesthetic Flows Into All of Culture

When the science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman, came out in 2014, WIRED called it “the best videogame you can’t play.” The film’s main character, Bill Cage, repeats the same day again and again—a day of futuristic combat with aliens. Each time he dies, Cage wakes up again on the previous day. Everything is as before, with the crucial difference that he remembers all the previous versions of that fatal next day. The repetitions are the film’s equivalent of a videogame’s replayability, and Cage’s battle skills improve, just as a player’s skills improve through replay. But Cage is not a player. He is a character in a narrative film, so the repeated days are in fact …

Ancestry.coms Racist Ad Tumbles Into a Cultural Minefield

On Thursday, the world’s largest DNA testing company, Ancestry.com, pulled a video advertisement amid a cascade of criticism on social media. The ad, titled “Inseparable” and cinematically shot to portray a gauzy, gothic moment on the streets of the antebellum South, depicted a white man offering a black woman a ring and imploring her to “escape to the North” with him. In the captions, they are referred to as “lovers.” As the video ends, a stylized Canadian marriage certificate for the two characters dated 1857 appears and the voiceover urges the viewer to “uncover the lost chapters of your family history with Ancestry.” The ad appeared online earlier this month, but as BuzzFeed first reported, it didn’t draw much attention …

Myspace’s music purge is the latest cultural scrubbing we’ll regret | Will Cox

Bob Dylans first acting role was wiped because it took up space. What might we mourn from 50m songs deleted from Myspace? Back when people still bought CDs and streaming media was a slow and frustrating experience, my teenage band recorded a number of average songs and put them out. I have copies of two of the three EPs we released. What didnt get committed to those low-print-run, landfill-fodder discs was uploaded to our MySpace and left to float in the digital forever of the internet. Two weeks ago, MySpace announced on their front page that archivist Philip Morris, the self-styled Indiana Jones of archival TV, travels the world looking for old tapes, finding Doctor Who in a Nigerian relay …

‘We’re in the Business of Programming People’s Lives’

Josh Harris may have been the first internet millionaire in New York. As founder of Jupiter Communications and New York’s first online media portal, Pseudo.com, he rode the web 1.0 dotcom boom to a fortune of $85 million. But as the 1990s ramped up, his view of what the internet would do to us darkened, and he spent his fortune on a series of lurid social experiments aiming to demonstrate what he saw. The biggest was an ambitious millennial happening called Quiet, which Andrew Smith writes about in his new book, Totally Wired. 1999 … Where to start? Seventy-one IPOs in July alone, hundreds over the year. A veteran Silicon Valley investor describes meeting a young entrepreneur who was trying …

30 Of The Best Responses To #Trashtag Challenge (New Pics)

Since our previous post a few days ago, the challenge has spread even further and gone truly global. Perhaps this is how we eventually manage to do something about climate change before it’s too late? It turns out that we can foster a community spirit, get off our butts and make positive change for our environment, we just need to be challenged to post pics of it on social media. Problem solved! #2 Our kids from the Karavia Children Village rocked the #trashtagchallenge yesterday! What a great action and exemple for the neighborhood While it may seem new, the viral trend was originally started as the ‘Trashtag Project’ back in 2015 by UCO, a company that makes outdoor gear. The initial goal …

A Beginner’s Guide to TikTok

It’s been more than three years since the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, first became popular among tweens and teens. The social network has since spread far beyond Generation Z: TikTok has been downloaded over 1 billion times, including 96 million in the United States, according to estimates from the research firm Sensor Tower. It’s also owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, now considered one of the most valuable startups in the world. The app itself revolves around sharing 15-second videoclips, which are set to music often licensed from artists and record labels. TikTok is now beloved not only by lip-syncing 14-year-olds, but also by comedians, athletes, and, yes, brands. Major corporations like Coca-Cola, Nike, ABC, and Google …