Anti-Social Media App Helps You Avoid People

anti social mediaWait for it. Yup, the newest app on the block is called Cloak, and it helps you avoid the very people you have given license to stalk you through connections on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, yadda yadda.

Actually, it’s more about you knowing where the lame cousins you attract on Facebook and total strangers you brag to on Twitter are and avoiding them in real life. Nothing wrong with that, from where I sit.

Choice quotes from this story in The Daily Beast, include:

  • The developers “posted the app to Facebook on Monday morning and since then, we’ve added over 100,000 users and hit the top 50 of the App store.”
  • “Facebook is that kind of lame cousin you hate but check in with every now and then to save face…”
  • “Cloak – an excuse for us to stop pretending we actually like interacting with other humans….”

There you have it. In a nutshell, a free app that helps you undo the last several years you’ve spent oversharing and not really caring. Now you do. You want your privacy back. The Cloak app is a first step. There will be others.

Source: The Daily Beast.

Photo by Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection via The Daily Beast.

Yelp Reviewer Chronicles Lost Love

chase-compton-1I admit, when I first started reading this story about a guy, New York and a social media app on Business Insider, I was about to gag. Call me briefly heterophobic, but its beginnings had all the pathetic drippings of the hipster-who-didn’t-get-the-girl (and for good reason, she could do better).

Call it editing a story for a primarily straight male readership. It takes five paragraphs to drop the pronoun-less mamby-pamby and identify the man who is pouring his heart out on Yelp over his ex as gay.  Which made me go back and re-read the first four paragraphs of this story and look at it with a different light. Instead of being a loser, the writer, Chase Compton, becomes a poet. Is there something much more compelling about a gay person losing a partner and taking to Yelp to document it than a straight one?

Perhaps it’s the underlying movie musical sense of happiness-is-just-around-the-corner  (Compton gives every establishment he visits 5 stars), mixed with reality bites (“It’s not the French Roast’s fault that I got dumped on Thanksgiving and ended up there”). Or, maybe it’s just a combination of my own gay pride meeting up with Compton calling himself a “literary Banksy”. For 22 reviews and counting, Compton has “hijacked” the Yelp platform to tell a story. It’s guerilla-making. And its irony is priceless. Compton’s latest review is of a place called “Happy Taco Burrito.” Imagine being heartbroken and ordering food from there!?

Read more: and Chase C.’s reviews at Yelp.

Photo by Nick Vorderman via Business Insider.

Kim Novak’s Face

Kim Novak's facePoor Kim Novak, laments the Interwebs. The once glorious golden girl of fifties era films is now 81 years old and hadn’t been before a camera in decades. All that was to be remedied on Sunday night at the 86th annual Oscars (just 5 years older than Ms. Novak, but obviously holding up extremely better), when the world got its first official glimpse of the actress in a very long time.

Those of us who expected to see a slightly faded beauty who had been living in peaceful obscurity on an Oregon horse ranch were plainly shocked and awed to see a woman looking much younger than 81. But at what cosmetic surgical price?

Novak looked more like a 54-year-old office manager with a bad marriage and problem children. Who could blame her if she dabbled a little in that Vicodin prescription she’d been given for a bum knee and occasionally had a glass or two more of that boxed wine in the ‘fridge than is considered “acceptable”.

But Novak is not 54, and her choices to try and continue looking that way (or as one blogger sadly pointed out, “sort of like someone who had admired a star so much they sought out plastic surgery to help them ‘look’ more like their idol” – even if the end result would have you demanding your money back), are as much a lesson to all of us who aspire to look a little younger, a little thinner, or just a little plain better to relax.

There have been endless blog posts and ensuing online conversations since Sunday night on the culture of Hollywood and beauty and the double standards for women vs. men – yadda, yadda. Kim Novak was far from the only one at the Dolby Theater who has tried to avoid, postpone or simply not accept aging. There were far more younger women and men in the house all going down the same path (some, sadly even further along it and with many more years ahead of them to do further damage).

But, let us not beat up on Kim Novak – rather let’s embrace her and her new look as a world-weary 54-year-old (her hair seemed a bit of DIY perm, her outfit, while I’m sure cost thousands, looked a tad like a good find at TJ Maxx) and score her a 10 on the new unfashion trend scale of “normcore”.

Normcore is about wearing what’s comfortable (baggy sweatpants, flannel shirts, sneakers and trucker hats on bad hair days). It is people (both women and men) saying no to fashion. As in, too busy to have time to care what people think, too broke to buy expensive clothes and/or too creative to conform. Its offshoots are women without makeup and men not bothering to shave. Its roots are firmly entrenched in Middle America. It is being embraced by teens and twenty-somethings in Brooklyn and beyond.

Could such a fashion backlash at the grassroots rumble its way to Hollywood’s core and lead to a facial and body image backlash, too?

Could we soon see Sandra Bullock tipping the scales at a healthy 140-lbs and still defying Gravity? Might John Travolta open his eyes again and remove a trucker hat at next year’s Oscars and scratch his well-known bald pate? Kim Novak’s face is the starting point. Let the conversation continue.

Image: “Kim x9” by KazzaDrask Media.

A-List Selfie Crashes Twitter

A-List-SelfieThe highlight of the 2014 Oscar telecast was not who won, what anyone wore or any particular musical number or tribute. In perfect early-days 21st century fashion, it was a selfie and a Twitter crash that everyone is talking about the morning after (well, that and a “How Would John Travolta Mangle Your Name” generator).

About midway through the nearly endless broadcast, host Ellen DeGeneres “spontaneously” gathered a Hollywood A-list dream team about her to snap a selfie with a Galaxy Note mini-tablet (the show’s official sponsor; according to Mashable, however, DeGeneres used her iPhone to snap other photos and deliver a few live tweets throughout the night). DeGeneres’ gag was that this particular selfie would break previous retweet records and crash Twitter.

It did indeed. Within two hours, the photo was retweeted some 2 million times. Which not only broke the previous retweet record held by no other than President Barack Obama celebrating his re-election in 2012, it also broke Twitter.

Said DeGeneres later in the show, “We got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history.”

Twitter reported a service outage about four minutes after the original tweet, which was not helped by those of us who had snapped our own photos of the moment as it took place on our big screens, and quickly posted those to Twitter, causing a virtual online 50-car pileup. Unlike a real traffic jam, however, the Twitter-jam was cleared within minutes.

Which brings up the next question on everyone’s minds. Was the actual crash of a social network in some way a great plug for the service? (If so many people are on Twitter, then why aren’t I? Twitter has been struggling with adding significant numbers of new users for some time, which of course affects its stock price.)

Oh, and yes, one other question might actually get more tweets if put to the test. Will Ellen DeGeneres be back to host the Oscars next year?

Sources: Reuters  and Mashable.

Image by KazzaDrask Media.

Conforming to Normalcy Not in the Cards

Life-Once-Removed-02Tired of being asked when she would settle down with a husband and kids, photographer and art director Suzanne Heintz got herself one of each – but settle she did not. Heintz procured two mannequins, a handsome husband and a little red-haired girl, and spent the next 14 years trekking more than 10,000 miles with her “family”, craftily staging a series of shots that are romantic, mundane and American-as-apple-pie.

If you’ve ever been questioned about your life choices, and/or just really like mannequins, check out Heintz’s photos and a short video at 22 Words.

Source:  22 Words. 

Photo by Suzanne Heintz