Spring has sprung! In celebration, we have gathered some fresh and juicy news-shoots for you to nibble on, on your way to the Great Outdoors (it’s that green bit; there may be birdsong – you remember.)
Yesterday was Thursday/ Today it is Friday
First up, the tower of online inches devoted to Rebecca Black, the 13-year-old whose pretty-grim-but-definitely-not-the-worst-we’ve-heard jinglet ‘Friday’ has racked up about a gazillion YouTube hits, and taken pride of place in the Haterz Top Ten. There is plenty to be said about this peculiarly ‘11 phenomenon, so naturally, plenty has.
Yes, there is something a leetle unsavoury about Ark, the company set up by two grown men (one of whom performs a questionable rap-turn in the song) to take $2K from the over-proud parents of over-indulged tweens (though frankly, a couple of thou’ seems – how do I put this – a not unrealistic sum for their efforts. And her parents seem like pretty nice people all in all – they’re vets, you know).
But yes, the whole episode amply illustrates the fact that the internet can be a cruel, Christians-and-lions sort of a place, and that to negotiate it safely teens and tweens require a better-informed adult guide than the poor girl seems to have had access to. And for sure, it’s all way axiomatic of the fact that there’s no good or bad out there in internet land – just big, or not-big. But enough, now.
Frankly, when I was thirteen there was nothing, literally nothing, I would have rather done than star in my own pop video, in a convertible, my braces-wearing backing-singers swaying in unison as a giant blue-screen facsimile of the LA freeway jerked unconvincingly in the background. Alas, my stardust dreams went no further than lip-synching to Pepsi and Shirley in my bedroom, with a hairbrush for a mike. Everyone did it. It was normal.
And that, in essence, is the crux of Rebecca’s misfortune: not, in fact, the web 2.0 truism that a bedroom/hairbrush/mirror routine can become, in a matter of moments, a global viral phenomenon – but that we’ve yet, either as individuals or as a culture, to learn the core competence of ‘keeping-things-in-perspective’. We’re still so startled by our own cleverness that we have developed only two responses – gurning spite, or doom-laden commentary. But soon, I firmly believe, we will catch up with ourselves: either teens will stop offering up their foolhardy experiments to a global audience, or we’ll stop noticing them, or both.
As for the song: it’s a harmless little madeleine of a thing, a Proustian souvenir of a time when every teeny thought which popped into our brains pinged right out into the world – untroubled by logic, unfiltered by self-consciousness, uninflected by irony. It provides welcome evidence that some 13-year-olds face no more onerous a decision than where, in a car chock-full of seating options, to sit; that the more pornified aspects of pop-culture are not yet all-pervasive; that adolescence needn’t be a drag if you have sparkly lip-gloss and some respectful dudes to hang with. Any person over the age of 25 who isn’t cheered by that fact is a jaded curmudgeon, in my book.
OED Gets New Words
The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary includes the not-actually-all-that-neo-logisms OMG, LOL and the OED site, “the intention is usually to signal an informal, gossipy mode of expression, and perhaps parody the level of unreflective enthusiasm or overstatement that can sometimes appear in online discourse, while at the same time marking oneself as an ‘insider’ au fait with the forms of expression associated with the latest technology.” Right-o. If the mere presence of these words in the OED weren’t sufficient indication that their time is well and truly up, we can kill them clean to death with our Frasier-laser.
Royal Wedding 2.0
Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced they will be releasing their wedding vows on iTunes.
A spokesperson for Decca, the label charged with cracking the downloads charts despite being more readily-associated in the public mind with EPs and mop-tops, was sweetly enthusiastic: “If enough people start to download their favourite parts of the service then the royal couple could find themselves at the top of the singles charts as well as reaching number one in the album charts. That would be unprecedented, but it’s worth watching out for.” The GSW gently suggests that the word to focus on in that sentence is ‘unprecedented’. But bless.
In related news, Alcatel have launched a version of their One Touch mobile phone which discreetly celebrates the happy couple’s troth-plighting. The front of the handset features the Union flag and Will-and-Kate wallpaper; on the back, the couple’s initials are scribed in that curly gold writing which invariably indicates a truly class product. So what if it costs £14.94 more than the standard 1p-with-contract One Touch handset – you can’t put a price on quality.
“Gay Cure” iPhone App Yanked From the App Store
Apple has seen sense and blocked a ‘gay cure’ app, after more than 146,000 people signed an online petition demanding its removal from the App Store. The app was produced by the pretty-obnoxious Exodus International and purported to “provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality.” Two things to note in this story: firstly, that the power of tech is just as easily harnessed by those with unpleasant agendas as by the rest of us. Secondly, that this same broadly-democratic quality means that, by and large, the right outcome is generally reached.
Camera Does Makeovers
Psst. Want to look like your own waxwork dummy? Then you SO need to invest in the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP7 camera, whose built-in Beauty-O-Lator applies a tasteful layer of maquillage to all your pics. Now I’ll acknowledge that there may be a small percentage of women concerned not to disrupt their online brand with a photo revealing a less-than-flawless complexion; but the rest of us have got something really good for that, and it’s called ‘make-up’. On which note, is it now not allowed to be anything less than ‘the best we can be’?
Finally, some linkage to those bits and bobs you may have missed, while you were doing all that stuff you do:
Sex websites to get .xxx web addresses
Google accuses China of blocking Gmail
Majority of FTSE 100 ‘fail’ at social media
Facebook policy chief admits site needs to improve deletion tools for a minority of users
U.S. Military Developing False Online Personalities to Counter “Enemy Propaganda”
Amazingly, MySpace’s Decline Is Accelerating
Apple cuts UK iPad 2 prices to £399 and up
LinkedIn Hits 100 Million Users
Coca-Cola Cuts Ad Spend by 6.6% and Invests More in Social Media
iCorrect: the website where celebrities are righting the wrongs
Apple cuts UK iPad 2 prices to £399 and up
Why AT&T Bought T-Mobile
A bientôt, mes amis!
For more social media snippets, follow @emodkate – or for general twittery, @KateVWilliams.