5 Words to Ruin a Date: Love Lessons from Twitter

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(#PrincessSophia) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Paramount Pictures

Dating can be hard. Dating in New York City can be even harder. Due to obsessive societal fixation on (conscious) coupling and uncoupling you may find your single self at a loss. But have no fear because social media always pulls through! Save your money and go without that millionaire matchmaker! Simply search #FiveWordsToRuinADate on Twitter and absorb the wisdom of the general public. Not exactly the advice you’d get from Steve Wilkos, but it will do. Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.46.26 PM1. This one goes without saying. Word to the wise, when picking the location for a date, opt for something soothing to the stomach on a date to ensure that these five little words never need to be said. Are you a fan of Indian food? Too bad.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.51.32 PM2. It’s always important to not look like a loser when first dating. We all love our moms, but let’s leave them out of the situation when it comes to transportation.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.47.34 PM3. Not five words, but ok. You may have stalked your date on Instagram before meeting IRL. In our modern, techy world, social media plays a huge part in the dating scene. A filter can go a long way, and if the person you’re sitting across from looks a little less Valencia than you thought, keep your mouth shut.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.56.15 PM4. Never talk about past romances on a date, especially if those relationships are borderline incestuous. Lke Karen from Mean Girls, you may have frenched your cousin, but whatever you do, keep it to yourself.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.44.29 PM5. It is very important not to comment on your date’s eating habits. Just because you don’t like mayo does not mean they don’t! The person you’re going on a date with is not expecting to go on a date with a nutritionist (even if you are one, ain’t nobody got time for that).

 

Christian Siriano Designs Clothes out of Tweets

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Christian Siriano and Verizon debuted the first-ever social imprint dresses last night at the Gilded Lily. What exactly is a social imprint dress, and why is it worth reading about? Excellent question readers.

The social imprint dress is basically a visual data graphic constructed from tweets (yes–tweets). This was done by Verizon, who monitored and categorized tweets at or including a hashtag for a Fashion Rocks artist or designer. The fabric, which consists of a modern cubic print, is actually the composite of symbols representing the different categories of social media posts. The style of fabric and final dresses were designed by the talented Christian Siriano, and will be up for auction on Charity Buzz (bid here!) until October 7 with all proceeds going to Dress for Success.

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God Hates Fred Phelps And Twitter

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Only the good die young; Fred Phelps was a very old man. Fred’s origination/cult, the Westboro Baptist Church — and their subtly named picket group God Hates Fags — maintain that God hates homosexuals above all other kinds of “sinners.” (Sounds like someone has got some issues.)

In 1989, Gramps (as he’s affectionately called by his followers), on his angry-man Don Quixote quest, began screaming, “Fag!” into the midday Topeka sun. Gramp’s first picket was against “All the fags having sex in the park.” (Gays, as you know, can only have sex in parks.) With the same commitment he instilled in his children during the ‘70s (when they reportedly were the family’s main source of income, selling candy door to door,) Gramps felt it was time to stand up against the scum and the filth. The first signs Gramps constructed (one letter at a time), simply read Gay Park and God Hates Gays. Immediately, students from the University of Kansas held counter-protests. This only enraged Gramps. As a vendetta, he came back with even larger and more elaborate signs; such gems as the plain indignant: It’s the Fags, Stupid! Needless to say, Gramps was a little homophobic. If irony would serve its just due desserts, Fred Phelps’ last words would’ve been: “I LOVE COCK! BIG BLACK COCK!”

His lifetime was a long drive down gay-hating crazy town; with Fred orchestrating family pickets the funerals of soldier’s funerals, AIDs patients, slain schoolchildren, and even the funeral of Ronnie James Dio.

But did you know that Fred’s group once picketed the offices of Twitter in San Francisco? It’s true — I was there. Apparently, God hates Twitter. (Would it help matters if Jesus turned 140 characters into 280 characters?) The Westboro Baptist Church crew, comprised of four women and one large, clunky dude, marched in front of the offices of Twitter. But San Francisco’s finest and funniest, who launched a counter-protest, were ready for them.

It was great to see San Francisco turn something into a funny circus out of the Fred Phelps, a man who brought a lot of people pain and anger.

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This man was stating the obvious. Perhaps the most controversial sign of the entire protest.

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God sure hates a lot of things these days. Does he hate ponies because gay people like to ride them? Or is it because tiny horses really tick him off?

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Google the word santorum and cringe. But in the case of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, I think it’s true.

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Now this protester is right on target with his sign. The big question is, does God hate Facebook? (We all know he hates MySpace.)

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“Twitter only gets a half-hour of hate!” a confused protester exclaimed at the WBC’s sudden departure. “I guess Twitter really isn’t that gay.”

Did You Hear…? BlackBook’s Audio Book Review of Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

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Listen in on your own: buy Hatching Twitter or get a free download here.

There is, unequivocally, no better place to listen to a book about the inception of Twitter than San Francisco. Of course, the company’s headquarters are located there, but also lining the streets of the city are the buildings in which Twitter, which we scarcely can imagine living without, was born; the concept for “Status,” its initial iteration, mused aloud in a car somewhere along Valencia in 2006.

Although I’m usually based in New York, my happy accident of pressing play while riding BART and strolling through the Mission only intensified the enjoyment of Daniel Thomas May’s audiobook performance. Listening to the story while walking the same streets the book takes place only intensified the tension. May, recognized best as The Walking Dead’s Allen, digs into the already fast-paced narrative to give it even more momentum. Because the drama in the text is omnipresent – almost Shakespearean as power changes hands so often –  May’s reading sustains the tension, bringing to life each character’s fear, frustration, anger, and disappointment. (And there is lots of it.) At one point, Twitter board member Bijan Sabet writes a panicked email with eighteen successive “fuck”s in it, and May doesn’t miss a beat. As the recording plays, May helps keep one wondering how a company with so many flaws ever got itself through each day.

Nick Bilton’s Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal recounts the sticky six-year history of the service, following Twitter’s ideological evolution, power struggles and deception between its founders, as well as the narcissism and social change that 140 characters has sparked. The book is impeccably researched, painting a comprehensive, lively picture of not only the inner workings of the company itself, but also how the subsequent Twitterverse it created has provided context for so many events and movements. As the audiobook plays, one wonders when he’ll get a breather from the tension you could cut with a tweet, as Bilton says. (The answer: Never.) There’s one moment after Jack Dorsey’s dismissal as CEO during which board member Peter Fenton says, “I feel like I just walked into the conference room and there’s blood all over the wall.”

In Bitlon’s reporting, he obtains emails and internal documents, and talks to hundreds of sources to creative a narrative, ushering the reader through Twitter from the ground up. Hatching Twitter will forever change the way you look at everything from the status box to the Fail Whale, and give you pause about the purpose with which you Tweet — something on which co-founders Evan Williams and Dorsey never could agree in the first place. Sketched most unfavorably by Bilton is Dorsey, who comes off looking both petulant and egotistical — though everyone’s guilty for cutting out Noah Glass, who was responsible for many of Twitter’s earliest features, including timestamps, and the service’s namesake. Biz Stone, who can be credited for many of Twitter’s privacy policies, gets off easiest — and seems to be the only one who doesn’t get poison slipped into his punch.

Appropriately, the final minutes of my audiobook ticked down sitting on the runway waiting for my plane to take off back to New York. As the skyline of the Bay Area faded below me, I was stung by too apropos a parallel; I was leaving the knife-in-the-back world of San Francisco start-ups, and going back real life. When I landed, however, the first thing I did? Checked Twitter. May’s reading of one particular line from Hatching Twitter rang in my head; it really is “the accidental thing that turned the world upside down.”

Listen in on your own: buy Hatching Twitter or get a free download here.

Presented by Audible

Google Buses: Gentrifying the Home of The Summer of Love

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I was visiting San Francisco this past week. The freaky people used to run the show in the City By The Bay, but now when you cross the city limits, the town feels like it has a big, shiny, corporate tech sponsor. A stroll through San Francisco feels like walking through Palo Alto North; weeknights have become strangely silent. (Sh-sh-sh! You’ll wake the tech millionaires!) Hot hipster hippie girls have been replaced by those who know a lot about html. San Francisco has become a city filled with people who’d think riding a razor scooter around the office is the craziest thing you can ever do. 

Obviously, tech-titans like Twitter have moved to town, trumpeting the Bataan death march of low rent and the city’s artistic community.

A big symbol of the sea of gentrification and change are the regular Silicon Valley private buses that whisk people in the city to their high-paying tech jobs at giant companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. Much like an extension of junior high, each morning tech workers wait at designated bus stops so large metallic buses can provide them with the morning commute to billion-dollar Silicon Valley corporations. (Of course the buses are equipped with Wi-Fi to squeeze an extra few hours of work out of everyone.)

Yesterday, though, crunchy was added to the smooth:

A group of protesters surrounded and blocked a Google employee commuter bus for more than a half hour Monday morning at a Muni bus stop at 24th and Valencia streets in San Francisco’s Mission District. The buses have, for some, become a symbol of tech-fueled gentrification, economic inequality and soaring housing prices in the city.

The bus, which was headed to Google’s Mountain View campus, had riders on board. A dozen protesters stood around the bus with signs saying “Public $$$$, Private Gains,” “Stop Displacement Now,” “Fine $271, Total Fine $1 Billion,” and “Warning: Two-Tier System.”

San Francisco is currently going through a major eviction crisis; droves of artists are being driven from the town that fostered the Summer of Love, The Dead Kennedys, and The Beatnik Movement. Adding insult to injury, the Google buses have become a symbol of economic disparity and class warfare, slapping the city’s predominantly Latino neighborhood. (Though, in pure San Francisco irony, the buses do cut down in CO2 emissions.)

The revolution won’t be televised, but it will be live-streamed on your iPhone.

Newscaster Compares Shooting to Breaking Bad: Great Moments in Twitter Idiocracy

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The season finale of Breaking Bad is still fresh on everyone’s minds. If you look on Buzzfeed and Reddit, you’ll see that a zillion people on the InterWeb who have rehashed posts tied to the series that made Heisenberg a household name. Why? Because any mention of Breaking Bad is going to grab web attention; some for the benefit of good, and some for the benefit of bad. (Do we really need YET another fanboy post about 10 alternative endings to the series finale?) 

One person who used Breaking Bad for the benefit of bad was Philadelphia Fox anchor Joyce Evans. To generate viewership for her newscast, the TV presenter took to Twitter and compared a deadly mass shooting of six people to the blood bath finale of the AMC TV show. She noted that the shooter involved in the "real life" crime was “breakin’ bad. (A 23-year-old man was killed and six others were wounded.)  Her Twitter news tease read:

 

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Aaaaaaaah! Why is that sometimes I hate humanity!? Why don’t people think these things all the way through – before putting it out there into the world; especially if you’re a media figure hired to deliver real, "actual" news – and not fiction. Conversely, is our culture so immuned to violence that even a newscaster doesn’t know the difference? Naturally (and thank god) there was a large Twitter backlash to her inane statement (this was after anchorwoman Evans tried to backpeddle on her Tweet:

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Breaking Bad is a TV show. Hank and Walter are fictional characters. The guy who played Gus is already working on other acting roles. 

 

GREAT MOMENTS IN IDIOTIC NEWSCASTERS:

–A Hunstville, Alabama reporter was fired for writing on her blog: “I’ve gone bra-less during a live broadcast and no one was the wiser;” “I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I’m talking about;” “My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me,” and “I’m frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside."

-FOX News asked scholar/PHD,  Reza Aslan, why a Muslim would write a book on Jesus. She compared such a feat to a Democrat writing about Ronald Reagan. Oh Jesus! 

-A rookie news anchor from Bismarck, North Dakota was fired on his very first newscast for blurting out,"fucking shit" – a mere one second into his newscast. Give this man a raise! 

-Bay Area news anchor Tori Campbell was reporting on an Asiana Airlines flight. She falsely identified the pilots as, "Capt. Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk." and "Bang Ding Ow." Where the hell are the fact checkers? 

Could Instagram Video Provoke A Social Media Civil War?

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Of course not—that’s just a sensational, irresponsible headline. It is rather fun, however, to see people wring their hands about what it means that an app added a feature. “But will it be better than Vine?” some want to know. Look, you’ve had Vine for all of, like, two weeks. Okay? Relax.

Anyway, with Instagram owned by Facebook and Vine a Twitter development, it’s only natural to want this to be the beginning of an apocalyptic war of attrition between both social media platforms: the ultimate struggle for the attentions of people bored at work. Instagram has filters and will let you record up to fifteen seconds of video, but Vine loops your footage into a hypnotizing GIF of sorts. Clearly one is superior, but which?
 
Eventually humans will be divided into two camps: the Zuckerbergians, and the…wait, who invented Twitter again? Never mind, don’t care. The point I’m trying to make is that a time is coming when all of us will have to choose sides. Or just use both platforms. Or wait for one to buy the other for $5.8 billion shortly before going obsolete and bankrupt. The future can be hard to predict that way.
 
Photo via The Pie Shops

Brace Yourself: Bret Easton Ellis Is On Reddit This Afternoon

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It’s a rite of passage for president and poseur alike: an extended AMA (Ask Me Anything) session over on the landfill of pop culture called Reddit, perhaps more commonly known as the place BuzzFeed steals all its crappiest ideas from. Twitter genius Bret Easton Ellis touches down this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST, according to the author himself. Below, some ideas about what to ask him.

First off, don’t make the mistake of trying to engage him on the GLAAD rant in Out magazine yesterday and all that LGBT stuff—this is exactly what he’s expecting! Why else would he schedule the two things this way? Forget Lindsay Lohan and The Canyons, too, that’s just free publicity for him. Ditch everything Gawker would be curious about. Instead you should really try to get under his skin about the one thing Bret never seems to really discuss: his wildly uneven books.
 
Oh, and not even American Psycho. Instead you should ask him to “explain” all the Hamlet allusions in Lunar Park. “I was confused about why the family lives on Elsinore Lane? And shops at Ophelia Mall? Am I missing something?” Ask him why the vampires from The Informers are immune to sunlight! Or ask why Imperial Bedrooms is even called that instead of Less Than Zero 2, which would have been so much cooler. Finally, ask whether it’s a printing error that makes your copy of The Rules of Attraction start and end in mid-sentence. That should really get him going.

Amanda Bynes Tweets Topless Photos, Insults Jenny McCarthy, Shows Off Very Shiny Gold Watch

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Since Tuesday, actress Amanda Bynes has been tweeting her own topless photo album from her bathroom to her 850,000+ followers, an assortment of The Amanda Show fans and OK! Magazine subscribers. Though she poses topless in the photos – clutching her enhanced breasts, smooching for the camera, and wearing tattered stockings – of most interest is the very shiny gold watch she wears in every photo. Oreo-sized, gold-linked, and of a first-place trophy-colored variety, the watch is a sight to see, and nearly distracts from the fact that Amanda Bynes is nearly naked and sitting on a bathroom sink. 

Since the debut of her topless photos, Amanda has also made time to tell Jenny McCarthy via Twitter that she is "ugly," "an old lady," "looks 80" compared to her, and should "shut the fuck up!" 

But of course, of most interest is that shiny gold watch. It is very shiny. 

Follow Amanda Bynes & Bonnie on Twitter here.