The Content MinesFeb 24, 2022
The Most Online War Of All Time Until The Next One
This week, we're talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Obviously, this is a fast-moving situation. We recorded this mid-day on Thursday, February 24, 2022. We're looking at the torrent of content around the invasion and trying to wrap our heads around whether or not, when the boots hit the ground, if memes or online content matters at all.
Facebook Is Doomed If It Can't Track You
This week we are, once again, talking about another real bad week for Facebook, a company that appears to be having more bad weeks at a higher frequency than ever before. We also peer into the metaverse which is even dumber than we ever could have imagined. Is being a "metamate" the future?
Why Is Netflix Launching A News Site?
Netflix is the biggest streamer in the whole world. They are, effectively, the streaming entertainment standard. So why are they launching a news site and poaching journalists from places like Condé Nast? In 2022, why would you want to run a digital media website? We speculate wildly about why that might be!
The Joe Rogan Dilemma
This week we're journeying into the dark heart of American masculinity... again. We're talking about Joe Rogan. Why do people like him? Should Spotify keep disturbing his show? Does it even matter? Should we smoke DMT and meet the techno elves that run our Earth simulation? These are all questions we may or may not address this week!
West Elm Caleb And The TikTok Stampede
We're diving deep into the philosophical issues at the core of TikTok, namely, why users on the app keep threatening to kill each other. What is it about TikTok's algorithm and user incentives that causes so many moral panics that end in networked abuse. Is it human nature or is it something the app is actively doing to us? Warning: this episode contains a lot of metaphors.
The Weird Kinda Dark Truth About "Primitive Living" YouTube Videos
We went down the rabbit hole on the "primitive living" YouTube genre. We haven't solved every question we had but we did learn a few things. A Bunch of the pages seem to be run by the same person, a bunch more are sharing each other's videos, many of them are running their Facebook pages out of Thailand or Singapore, and based on some drone footage we came across it seems like they're all filming in the same section of the Cambodian wilderness. This episode is real dense this week!
These Sketchy Sports NFT Companies Might Not Exist
This week we dig into the weird possibly entirely fictitious companies that sports teams around the world are partnering with to build NFT and metaverse products. Fake CEOs, weird non-office storefronts, shady international rights management services, and bizarre Chinese masterclass education platforms — this episode's got it all!
The Rise And Fall Of @PoliticsForAlI
This week we're talking about one of the UK's buzziest Twitter accounts, @PoliticsForALI, which was suspended by the platform this week. It was run by a 19-year-old college student and it was kind of a mess, but also totally useful, sort of. A creature born from all of Twitter's best and worst features. Also, this week, Ryan learns some shocking information about Tintin.
Our Biggest Predictions For 2022
It's (probably) our last episode of the year! We're talking about what we think will be the big trends of next year. Basically, we think every company will operate like a Gamestop pump and TikTok will cause a diplomatic incident that kicks off WW3. It's all very optimistic stuff! Also, Luke and Ryan compare notes on what country is the worst to get an antigen test in (it's Portugal). See you next year (probably).
Inside The Biggest Tumblr Trends Of 2021
We're digging deep into Tumblr's 201 Year In Review. We're looking at the top trends, ships, aesthetics, memes, and communities. What does it all mean? How is Minecraft YouTube so big? Why are teens into emo again? Do people really just want to be little goblins living in a small house in some kind of bog? We have a lot of questions!
Masculinity Is A Pyramid Scheme
This week we're talking about the noxious vortex of international bodybuilders, pick up artists, and cryptocurrency evangelists. The dream of all bad internet seems to be some kind of money laundering scheme based in Dubai. Also, we go super long this week on Twitter Spaces.
Inside Thinkarete Lifestyle, The Most Viral Page On Facebook
In Facebook's Q3 content report, they revealed that a page called Thinkarete Lifestyle was responsible for some of the most viral content on the platform last summer. But the question is... who or what is Thinkarete Lifestyle? Well, after some pretty hardcore investigating, we think we've figured it out.
LIVE FROM LONDON: Play Your NFTs Right
This week we're live from London! Thank you all who came out for our live show this week. Live on stage we made Guardian reporter Alex Hern guess the prices of various NFTs and, wow, things did not go the way we expected... Considering I (Ryan) recorded all of this via a simple line out and we were doing powerpoint slides I'd say this doesn't sound half bad! Even if it doesn't sound good, this is our first attempt a live show and we did it all ourselves in a basement, please be nice.
The Central Problem Here Is That Facebook Sucks
Ryan recorded this crouched in the corner at Web Summit. It was deeply mortifying for him. Luke recorded this from the comfort of his own home. We're talking the Facebook whistleblower, the metaverse, and Ryan finally saw the movie "Old," about the beach that makes you get old.
Why Don't Netflix Audience Numbers Make Any Sense?
This week we're diving into the very confusing metrics that streaming services like Netflix use. How many people watched Squid Game? A lot? Maybe? Less than you think? Probably! We also spend some time having a prolonged therapy session about the Facebook papers.
We're Not Ready For TikTok To Be This Popular
We're going deep on TikTok this week. We're talking about Alabama rush week, Couch Guy, LamboGate, and the Puncher Of W 4th Street. If you don't know what any of that means, don't worry, we'll walk you through it all. Our central thesis is this: TikTok is on track to become the biggest social media platform in America and as it gets bigger, things are going to start spinning out of control very fast.
A Facebook Page About Cats Is Outperforming Ben Shapiro
Our dive into the murky waters of Facebook gets even weirder and stranger this week. Right now, there are a handful of seemingly random, most-likely automated Facebook pages about animals that are outperforming some of the biggest publishers on the platform. But the big question is… why?
What If We Can't Break Up Facebook?
This week was a very bad week for Facebook. In fact, it was so bad that at one point it just simply didn't even exist anymore. It seems like the whole world right is wondering how to deal with the site. And now, thanks to a trove of leaked documents, we have the best picture we've ever had at how rotten the company is on the inside. But here's a troubling question: What if we've already missed our chance to untangle ourselves from the platform?
We Went Through Years Of OZY's Social Analytics And It Was Weirder Than We Could Have Ever Imagined
This week's episode is a trip down a very strange rabbit hole. OZY is a wildly sketchy media company that is now being accused of fraud. So Luke and Ryan sat down and went through five years worth of the company's social analytics, across Comscore, CrowdTangle, and SocialBlade. What they discovered was stranger and more confusing than they ever imagined. But they also came very close to getting a full picture of what OZY appears to have been doing for the last few years and why.
The Algorithmic Feedback Loop Of The Gabby Petito Disappearance
This week's big story is about the disappearance of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old who went missing last month and whose remains were found earlier this week. Her boyfriend is currently missing, after returning from vacation without her. And her social accounts have exploded in activity, becoming one of the biggest trending topics in the country. We're examining the parasocial dimensions to True Crime and how algorithms seize on this kind of content, pushing it to uncomfortable and grim extremes. It's a heavy episode, but it's a good one.
We Went Through Seven Years Worth Of Facebook Analytics
Today we have an extra big episode. It's a project that Luke has been wanting to dive into for a long time. We went through seven years worth of blog posts from the social analytics website Newswhip, which rank the top publishers and content on Facebook. What we discovered was actually far darker than we expected. This is the story of how the modern internet was created and it doesn't have a happy ending. Head over to our Patreon for a full list of the Newswhip blog posts referenced in this episode.
I Think The Horse Pill Stuff Has Broken Me
How Do We Build A Better Internet For Sex Workers?
First, sorry for the sound issues in this week's episode. We both recorded this amid some pretty hardcore heat waves and our computers were not happy! This week we're talking about CIA conspiracy theories, weird Facebook videos, and, most importantly, the absolute shit show that happened at OnlyFans last week. We're trying to figure out how to build a better internet for NSFW content and sex work. It turns out it's seriously complicated!
The Hyper-Reality Of The Fall Of Afghanistan
Not going to lie, this week is a little heavy. We're talking about Afghanistan and the strange and uncomfortable feeling of watching via Twitter as the Taliban took back the country. We talk about the visual aesthetics of the War on Terror and Ryan grapples with 9/11's legacy on how we consume information now. But it's not all serious this week. We also go deep on the TikTok bone drama, as well as Facebook's very dumb content report.
What If The Metaverse Looked Like The Minecraft YouTuber Fandom?
We've got a lot of big topics in this week's show: the metaverse, Web3, the Penis SMP, ARGs. It's all very complicated! And Luke really doesn't like most of it — or at least thinks it's dumb as hell. But we're trying to imagine a non-corporate internet that is as immersive as a video game. That's basically what we're talking about. Also, we spend A WHILE this week talking about the impending death of an alpaca in England.
The Origins Of The "No Bed Frame Guy"
This week we're talking about bed frames and also talking about what we're talking about when we talk about bed frames. Confused? Yeah, us to. We're looking at one of the longer-running jokes on the internet: that men in their 30s don't know how to buy a bed frame. Luke thinks the whole things smacks of class, Ryan thinks it's legit because all men are maniacs. We also talk about the Olympics!
Outside Only Exists To Stage My Viral Content In
We're looking at prank videos. Specifically, we're talking about how it feels weird to be outside now and it feels like irl is now just one big arena to make viral content in. Ryan also is grouchy about the Olympics and Luke explains how people find and read websites in 2021.
The Future Of Everything Is Automated Landlordism
We've entered the age of the hustle bro. Whether it's a bunch of horrible guys on Clubhouse or the current president of El Salvador, the world's financial structures are warping under the weight of the internet and things are getting real strange. Yes, this is another episode where we agonize over how the internet can be used to make money without being trapped inside some kind of pyramid scheme. Also, we have some NSFW updates for you!
Our Impending NSFW Content Apocalypse
Luke and Ryan both think that something bad is coming. There's been a lot of evidence that something very NSFW is going to trend in a big way. Manic COVID energy, the popularity of short form video apps, failing trending topic algorithms, and a desperate and extremely online need for cringe — there is a very good chance that we are looking at another US Airways plane tweet very soon. Also, Luke gets sort of emotional about football, which is fine, but let's make sure he doesn't make a habit of it.
What If Everyone Online Is Actually Earnest?
This week we have a revolutionary idea to float your way: What if everyone on the internet actually means what they're saying? What if all those insane columns and bad takes that float past your feed aren't actually bait, but genuine opinions being expressed by people who legitimately believe them. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but hear us out. Also, we have a rousing discussion about cauliflower and British Halloween.
Facebook Bulletin Proves No One Knows What Facebook Is Anymore, Including Facebook
This week we're talking about Facebook's weird blog/newsletter thing. It's hilariously bad and very confusing and, honestly, speaks to a weirder bigger issue with Facebook which is that no one really seems to know what it is anymore. Also, we talk about how Luke doesn't like how Gen Z dresses anymore and, yes, we touch on the Oli London thing. It's a big episode!
The Critical Race Theory Katamari Of Online Rage
WARNING: In the first segment of this episode, we do discuss the some details about John McAfee's reported suicide. Skip to 13:00 if you have trouble listening to that kind of content.
American Republicans have a new favorite phase for everything they don't like: Critical race theory. This week, we're digging into where the term comes from, what it actually means, and why banning it is a ridiculous and insane idea that is almost impossible. We also talk about John McAfee's whale tweets and Luke talks about football (soccer).
The Passive Income Grifters Of TikTok
This week we're talking about a bunch of different stuff. We go over the recent Chrissy Teigen drama. We talk about hustle culture. We check out some truly evil TikToks from British landlords. And Luke ranks The Avengers on how well they are at giving oral sex. A truly jam-packed episode.
Also a note: During the recording and editing of this episode, we were unaware that Courtney Stodden had come out as non-binary and now uses they/them pronouns. Ryan made the same mistake in his newsletter this week. There are two quick instances in this episode where Stodden is misgendered and it is absolutely not on purpose. It's our fault for not catching it during recording and we apologize for the error.
Every Internet Video Now Is Just An Impression Of Someone Saying Stuff
One more summer grab bag episode! We're talking about COVID-19 timelines, an incredibly cursed food video, the Yashar profile, and how every video on the internet now is basically just someone imagining a person and then saying stuff that they think they would say. You know what I mean? Is that confusing? Also, more broadly, we're talking about the differences between Twitter videos and TikTok videos.
Is There Actually Any Benefit To Being Yourself Online?
This week we're talking about a bunch of stuff — Trump's blog, Instagram stan accounts, crypto stuff, and how identity works online. This makes this episode sound kind of serious, but actually this week is a bit of a fun run. Summer's here, both Luke and Ryan are vaxxed. We're letting loose and having a chill hang this week.
"Geriatric Millennials" And The Digital Media Content Toilet
Does it feel like suddenly there's one story splashed across every feed? Do these stories sort of make you angry for no particular reason? Is it hard to tell which news outlets are writing about it? Does it just create this weird inescapable exhaustion? Welcome to the Digital Media Content Toilet. It's where we all live now. We pick apart how "Geriatric Millennials" became a thing and what it says about how the internet works now.
The Algorithm Craves Mall Goths
This week we're talking about something that Ryan has been dying to go long on for a while: Why Myspace-style Hot Topic culture is so popular with TikTokers. What if it wasn't totally driven by nostalgia, but that were was some kind of larger algorithmic reason for its resurgence? Also, we talk about teen finance TikTok.
There's One Magician Responsible For Most Of The Gross Viral Food Videos On Facebook
This week we're talking about a big story that Ryan's been working on for the last few weeks. Every so often a video goes viral featuring a white lady making something truly unholy in her kitchen. Turns out most of these videos are made by the same network of Facebook creators. Even stranger, the network is run by a Vegas magician. This episode also answers a bunch of questions Ryan and Luke had a few months ago during our Facebook Watch episode. Also, we talk about the movie Tenet.
Generation Z's Post-Post-Irony TikTok Occultism
It's time for our first Gen Z Quarterly Review! We haven't checked in on zoomers in a while and it seems like now's as good a time as any. We're talking about TikTok magic, Wojack memes, post-radicalized irony poisoning, and DIY one-man clickbait farms. It's a brave new world, folks, and it's cheugy as hell. Also, we talk about a very very cursed photo of a house for a while.
Everyone's Mad About Things That Aren't Happening
It's called "cancel culture" but that's not quite right. What's happening, instead, is a large-scale weaponization of outrage bait. It's happening predominantly on the right, but also can happen on the left! As Luke in this episode sums it up: "Everyone's mad about things that aren't happening." We're focusing on the Kamala Harris book story, the Biden banning meat thing, and one shocking development that happened on TikTok last week. What's even crazier, though, is that just because a lot of this stuff is not happening doesn't mean it doesn't matter. Also, we talk about the Oscars!
The Hypercapitalist Influencer Nightmare Monopoly Of Professional Soccer
We're talking about sports this week! Specifically, the rise and fall of the European Super League — a disastrous attempt to at a football monopoly. Luke promises this isn't ACTUALLY about football, but actually a larger metaphor for the internet at large. We'll see! Also, we talk about the London mayoral election and old dudes who are good at rapping.
How Do We Fix Online Advertising?
We've made it this far into the show without talking about ads. But this week we're finally diving in. Luke explains this week why online advertising is bad and how we can fix it. TL;DR — ending targeted ads. Also, we talk a lot about Prince Philip. Also also, Ryan has a lovely story about Pokémon. But, mainly, we're talking about ads.
Yahoo! Answers And The Legacy We Leave Behind Online
This week's episode is DENSE. And it takes some TURNS. What we're talking about is the end of Yahoo! Answers. And yes, we do just read a bunch of good ones. But also, we're talking about what the internet means over time. What happens when a company just deletes the things we've posted? Do we lose something? But also, don't we save the best stuff just by screenshotting it? Also, how was babby formed? Also also, Luke debuts his new theory of content. Like I said, big episode!
Lil Nas X And The Suez Canal Theory Of Total Internet
Look, we're aware that title sounds like a whole bunch of nonsense, but trust us. It will make sense. This week we're talking about Lil Nas X, but we're also talking about Facebook's new algorithmic attitude, but we're also talking about fights about who is the sexiest bald man in the world, but we're also talking about the Suez Canal. It's all connected!
The Snyder Cut And The Grimdark Stupid-Fun Mega-Long Future Of Content
We did it. We're here. We've watched the Snyder Cut and we're ready to talk about it. We liked it! It was stupid. It was long. But it's also a piece of content that sits somewhere between a traditional blockbuster film and a bingeable TV series. The online fandom surrounding the film is out of control. Oh, also, we talk about The Tweet.
We're Living In The Girlboss-Gatekeep-Gaslight Era Now
This week is all about the very weird "new normal" of life under the Biden Administration. Some weirdo is running a Twitter account for his dogs. Reporters are writing stories about the official amount of days he's been in office. People are posting Love, Actually memes again. It's a mess! Also, Luke saw the new Adam Curtis documentary and his brain is literal mush.
The Royal Family Is WWE For Rich Old White People, But With Very Real Consequences
This week we have BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall on the show. She's an incredible reporter and understands the world of British tabloids and the double speak and warped point of view of the royal press better than anyone. We talk about how royal news cycles work and what the papers are really saying when they're breathlessly covering Meghan and Harry. We also explore why, this week, that all blew up. It's a big episode!
How Your Fave Is Problematic Changed The Internet Forever
We're finally doing it, folks. We're talking about Your Fave Is Problematic, one of the most important Tumblr blogs of our time. That means we're going to be talking about John Green and Tumblr drama and cancel culture and all the other stuff that, honestly, we should have just left in 2013. We also talk about WandaVision and agonize over skinny jeans. It's a big episode.
Unfortunately, We're Going To Talk About Blockchain Now
We're talking bout crypto this week. Sorry! There's a lot going on in that world right now and Luke and Ryan have finally decided to jump in. This episode is a little technical, but don't worry, we also spend a lot of time talking about Spider-Man so it evens out. Basically, we're trying to answer a fairly simple question — is crypto good or bad? Also, we talk about pubs a bunch.