Depending on who you talk to, there’s never been a better time to be a content creator on the Internet. Many have described this current moment of constant content creation as a Creator Renaissance, likening this period to the shift from the Middle Ages to modernity in which there was massive social change and artistic innovation. Teenagers, when surveyed on their career aspirations, point to the digital realm — many want to be professional YouTubers, bloggers, or vloggers.

Source: YourStory

Over the last decade, the monetization of digital content creation has made these teenagers’ aspirations possible (though, harshly, not probable). Alongside the…


On June 14, a YouTube creator in the ASMR community, or “ASMRtist,” by the name of Lily Whispers ASMR posted a video called “What is going on in the ASMR community?”. In the video, Lily discussed the increase in hyper-specific video requests for creators and the rather insidious and malevolent intents that seemed to be behind some of them. According to Lily and the screenshots she provided, many of the requests to her and other women-presenting ASMRtists boarded on forced fetishes and arousal.

Source: LilyWhispersASMR

ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, predates its name and iterations on the Internet. The term describes…


On April 1, New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman published a piece in the paper titled “Enter the Age of the Vaccine Selfie,” and it was described as, “From topless politicians to designers, it’s a thing. And it’s part of a longer tradition than you might expect.” Friedman’s article explores the history of public figures getting vaccinations, and details some of the recent images we’ve seen of our current politicians and celebrities getting their COVID-19 shots. She goes on to say:

“Perhaps that does explain the dressing choice: Many of us have been hiding inside…


Note: I wasn’t able to watch the entire hearing due to a severe weather outbreak, but I did see the first two hours.

On Thursday, the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify on their platforms’ roles in the 1/6/21 Capitol insurrection. The entire hearing was a comedy of errors, and it was all too predictable. The entire hearing was a farce, and it played out exactly the same as every other time Big Tech CEOs have shown up on The Hill. The thing…


Amateur detectives have been trying to solve crimes through the Internet since its popular inception. But over the last few weeks, a few documentaries have been released that highlight the role of so-called “internet sleuths” and how their online conversations and clue-searching have material, offline implications.

Netflix’s The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel and FX and Hulu’s Framing Britney Spears focus on the complicated personal issues and tragic circumstances of two very different women, but they both have one thing in common — how Internet sleuths latch onto the stories, dissect every publicly available piece of information, and even, at…


Today, Twitter unveiled its latest attempt at curtailing misinformation and disinformation. The pithily named Birdwatch program is a forum in which users will discuss and provide context for claims they believe are false or misleading. While initially separate from Twitter, the company hopes to ultimately include notes on Tweets themselves, based on the pilot program work of 1,000 US users. …


1/6 and Popular Culture: Some Reflections

I was eleven on 9/11/2001. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning, and my mom put me on the school bus like she did every morning. But it was on that bus, sitting right behind the driver and her radio, that I heard my first inkling something had gone terribly wrong. I can’t remember what made me start paying attention to the driver’s radio, but the distinct phrases I’ll always remember was, “Everyone is running around. People are trying to get out. It’s like a scene from a movie.” …


In case you’ve been living under a rock, Joe Biden is the President-elect of the United States, and people on the Internet ~have feelings~ about pets (specifically, dogs) being back in the White House come January 20. President-elect and incoming First Lady Dr. Jill Biden have two German Shepherd dogs, Champ and Major, and while Champ has spent time in DC before, Major was adopted by the Bidens from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018, which will make him the first rescued and adopted dog to live in the White House.

The Internet immediately took to Champ and Major, as…


Last week, Twitter made a temporary change that added an extra step to the retweeting option. Now, when clicking RT, users would be automatically taken to what was the former “Quote Retweet” option, which prompts the user to add their own comments in addition to the retweet. There was a workaround, however, and users could simply click “send” without adding their own commentary, and the post would function like a normal retweet. This decision was presumably made by the social media platform ahead of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, as the site said the change would last through Election Week.


Recently, India banned 59 smartphone applications created by Chinese developers over security concerns. One of those 59 apps was TikTok, which has over 800 million active users worldwide, with 467 million downloads in India alone — meaning one-third of the video-sharing app’s downloads and users had once come from India. One week later, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. was also considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, noting concerns on compromised user data. How did the app of Old Town Road, e-girls, and viral dances become the latest nexus of cybersecurity and geopolitical…

Jessica Maddox

Professor of digital media studies and technology. Into all things internet and dogs.

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