HEY! This Is Important: Vol. 5
HEY! This Is Important is a (semi) weekly series in which I examine developments in the past week that impact internet culture.
How many albums did you release in 2014? If it’s less than 334, struggle rapper Viper has come out ahead of you. It would appear Viper’s approach prioritizes quantity over quality, but, um, that’s still a whole album almost EVERY SINGLE DAY and they’re all on Spotify (with beautiful DIY cover art!)
Adrian Chen turned in quite a few fantastic and nuanced pieces in 2014, revealing the unseen human faces behind some of the biggest online gathering places and trends. This was one of my favorite Chen stories – a piece in the MIT Technology Review profiling the Swedish journalists and researchers chasing down and exposing trolls. Plus, ‘Trolljägarna’ is a lot of fun to say out loud.
I love discovering clever apps that let you control a browser in unexpected way. Inspirograph is a staggeringly cool TypeScript site reminiscent of a favorite childhood toy. Have a look at #Inspirograph too, there’s some incredible user work.
If you follow any celebrity IG users, you may have noticed this week’s Instarapture – a spam-bot purge that revealed which has-beens might have been buying a fake fan base. J Wow (I forgot about her, too) saw her follower count shrink 96 percent, and Ma$e deleted his account after dropping to 100,000 followers from 1.6 million in a matter of 20 minutes.
WeWork has raised $355MM, at a valuation of $5B. The WSJ quotes WeWork’s co-founder, Adam Neumann, as saying: “We happen to need buildings just like Uber happens to need cars, just like Airbnb happens to need apartments.” I’m not convinced Airbnb and Uber are accurate comparisons to a coworking office space, but ok, I guess that’s what the internet means in 2014.
The Year in Black Erasure – a powerful discussion on how everyone in America is allowed to be black, except for actual black people. “From Elvis Presley’s dance moves to Led Zeppelin’s blues rips, to be black has always been more palatable when the skin you’re in is actually white.”