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December 28, 2013 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Tired of Upworthy? Why not try SFFworthy? (SLtumblr) Via
posted by Mezentian (61 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
THEY HAVE A PLAN

No they don't.

WHAT IT IS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

It certainly blew some one's.
posted by dumbland at 12:25 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


THEY SAID THEY HAVE A PLAN.... BUT DID THEY LIE? THE ANSWER WILL SURPRISE YOU!

Applies to Lost and BSG.
posted by Mezentian at 12:31 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have thus far managed never to visit Upworthy, despite the inordinate amount of time I spend online.

I just spent about 25 seconds there, and yes, thank you: I am tired of Upworthy!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:22 AM on December 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I find it weird both how they so consistently misspell "ewe," and how determined they are to let us know these things' effects on sheep.
posted by JHarris at 2:26 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


My biggest problem with unworthy is one of my biggest problems with the 2013, and to a lesser extent the 2012 internet as well.

And, before i get to the meat of it, i'll preface this by saying that i feel like i'm slowly becoming not the typical internet user. I've been online since before mefi existed, which i'm starting to feel is a statistical minority in average traffic to a web 2.5 site like upworthy. I also browse mostly on a desktop at work and a laptop, and while i own an iPad and a smartphone they both get used vanishingly small percentages of the time compared to those two devices. So i feel like i'm also swimming against the current of "where the web is headed" or even kinda, where it is right now. To repurpose and modify slightly a line Gruber over at Daring Fireball likes to use, I'm not skating to where the puck is, or where it's going, but back towards my teams goal because i think that in some way the game is going to start coming back that way.

And by this i mean, i don't want to look at your fucking video to consume your content. I have no problem with videos, i just think they're the wrong medium for a lot of things. Video of something specifically happening, or some visual/multimedia art? Cool. Video documentary of a situation or about a person? fine. Stupid video of someone talking about something with a couple still photos overlaid a few times? Fuck. OFF.

There's an "idiot switch" safety step that's being skipped here. People need to be asking themselves "What would be missing from this if it was simply written out, maybe with a couple inline images?" Medium has the right idea, even if there's some really tiresome wanky stuff on there sometimes(i'm looking at you, crappy pretentious post) they at least get that a lot of this stuff shouldn't be a video.

I could go in to an equally-pretentious to said medium article rant about how this is the fault of lazy people who want to sit slack jawed and jello-brained and just have the information poured in to them ala TV, but i really place the blame on the content creators here. Text isn't dead. Yea, videos get a lot of views, but some of the biggest currently popular sites on the web like reddit or tumblr are FULL of text.

I actually don't have some awesome thesis here to tie this all up, i just hate this trend. I think unworthy is a far more sinister cancer than even buzzfeed. All the time people send me links to stuff on there and go "omg check this out". Click through at my desk at work/on the loo/etc and go "oh, video, nope". And to add insult to injury, it's not like these often contain some massive breadth or depth of information. It's like a one-maybe-two-screens-at-1080p yourlocalnewschannel2.com amount of text here. Under 1000 words, probably even closer to 800. This is pathetic. I'm being really charitable too, if i transcribed most of these videos i bet i wouldn't get north of 4 or 500 words.

You want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?(assuming i read at 5-700wpm easy, just tested 475 right now and i'm fairly fatigued).

There's a lot of pasta sandwich going on here. It's just the wrong type of content for the media.

this is cute and funny though, sorry for dumping this in here... i just really hate unworthy and what it's doing to internet content in general.
posted by emptythought at 2:27 AM on December 29, 2013 [177 favorites]


My biggest problem with unworthy is one of my biggest problems with the 2013, and to a lesser extent the 2012 internet as well. posted by emptythought

What's the opposite of eponysterical?

i don't want to look at your fucking video to consume your content.

*like*

I am actually with you in most respects.
This is a safe space.
My workmates and I use Buzzfeed too much.
posted by Mezentian at 2:37 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Best of the web.

But at least it won't trigger a factional debate.
posted by efalk at 2:46 AM on December 29, 2013


But at least it won't trigger a factional debate.

LOLCAT font versus DOIG font.
You decide.
posted by Mezentian at 2:48 AM on December 29, 2013


You want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?

Yes, that annoys me too. Video is such an inefficient medium, both in terms of production cost (compared to print) and how long it takes to get a point across.

The same thought has struck me where mainstream TV is concerned. Even the best TV documentary will take an hour to convey information I could have absorbed in a fraction of that time as prose. The fact that reading requires my active participation in a way gawping at the TV does not means the information goes in a bit deeper too, and that I'm more likely to retain it, I think.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:49 AM on December 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


you want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?

This, x1000, is my biggest pet peeve about the internet in its current state.

I wish those damned videos would get off my lawn!
posted by dotgirl at 2:52 AM on December 29, 2013 [18 favorites]


you want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?

Agreed. I have very little patience for even slightly untraditional use of video online.

I've also been online forever, but unlike a lot of other people I've spent all this time almost exclusively on a Mac, and I'm sure that's one reason.

It took so long for the technology and OS (chicken/egg) to catch up that I'm almost preconditioned to be annoyed by it, like Lucy holding RealPlayer and saying, Go ahead, watch it! It will work this time, I promise!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:25 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


You won't BELIEVE this newspaper magnate's SHOCKING LAST WORD.
posted by Behemoth at 3:53 AM on December 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


I swear that emptythought peered into my brain and wrote that. I am so tired of video links to sites like Upworthy it's almost enough to bring on an Interwebs sabbatical. Almost

The SFFWorthy page - it's well done.
posted by Ber at 4:13 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I fucking hate the way things are written in the opposite way to what traditional journalism would suggest. The headline should convey as much of the content as succinctly as possible, whereas these AND THEN YOU'LL FART RAINBOWS style of things are totally arse about. They convey next to nothing, and bury anything actually interesting at the tail end of the video. It's fucking frustrating and I refuse to participate.

*takes ball, goes home*
posted by Jilder at 4:17 AM on December 29, 2013 [31 favorites]


Metafilter: i feel like i'm slowly becoming not the typical internet user.
posted by Segundus at 4:22 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


1 cool trick.
posted by mani at 4:22 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe they will eventually give up on content altogether, and replace it 100% with assertions about the reader:

"You will sleep today, probably eat some food, and fart. You wish there were more love in your life."

No article, no content, other than a headline making assertions about its reader.

"You don't make enough money."

Maybe the generalizations won't always be so targeted - perhaps they can Slate troll us with some debatable claims.

"Your uncle Fred's dog just died, and your favorite color is red."
posted by idiopath at 5:02 AM on December 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


You want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?

I love video. I make videos. My entire blog is video. And I agree with this so, so hard.





I have vented my spleen about Upworthy (and copycat sites like Viralnova) in other threads. I detest them. Loathe. Flames...on the side of my face..
posted by louche mustachio at 5:03 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser explains their nauseatingly earnest-and-emotional-and-upbeat-and-blargh house style for titles:
Part of the reason we started the site, though, was that we've seen a *LOT* of amazing journalistic coups over the years that never actually go anywhere. Great news institutions put huge amounts of money, time, and resources into getting the scoops and crafting the prose. And then they hit publish and the piece just, like... sat there. Or it got 10,000 hits.

So our starting point, which definitely rubs a lot of folks from more traditional editorial culture the wrong way, is -- if a lot of people aren't paying attention, it really doesn't matter if you crafted the perfect story.

We also err on the side of emotional story-telling rather than rattling off facts and figures, because we think that's what usually sticks with people. (Great journalism, I think, does that too, but standard journalism often doesn't.)

In the best moments, we're able to bring all of those things together. The top thing this month may well be this piece we published yesterday: His First 4 Sentences Are Interesting. The 5th Blew My Mind. And Made Me A Little Sick.
From this interview.

It all rankles me to no end.

Tangentially: I've noticed from having browsed reddit with some regularity for the last ~4 months that it is easy to get into an almost TV-like stupor—of skimming through page after page of posts and more often than not puerile, watered-down "memes".* Though the massive userbase of reddit ensures there is always some relevant, high quality content, most of it is not particularly interesting. But there is an ever-changing deluge of new content for those seeking a quick fix. It can be dangerous.

*Strictly speaking, I suppose image of [thing] overlaid with white text in all-caps Impact with a black border qualifies as a meme, but surely not all of them individually?
As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.
Is Google Making Us Stupid? (Nicholas Carr, 2008)

While I don't agree with everything in this—by now positively ancient—article, I understand and identify with his sentiment. I have felt myself becoming more in tune with this way of quickly consuming bite-sized pieces of information, at the expense of my patience with more meandering or complex writings.

Upworthy is just another rung down on the ladder to the dystopia Idiopath joked about further up in this thread.
posted by flippant at 5:34 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Truly best of the web!
posted by efalk at 5:38 AM on December 29, 2013


I'm not sure which is more detrimental to journalism today - the video as article, or the listicle. It reminds me of how Powerpoint slides changed communication in the workplace in the 80s.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:02 AM on December 29, 2013


I had a stretch of regularly descending into clenched old man tirades on facebook about links to sites that are just a goddamned video wrapped up in upworthy.com, viralnova.com, knowyourmeme.com, heygrandmadoyourememberrotarytelephones.com, OMGYOUHAVETOCLICKTHISRIGHTNOW.com, and the recent panoply of sites aimed at panicky posthippie ninnies for whom Monsanto is the real incarnation of Satan walking on Earth and who believe that a map with red haze focused on Japan means that we're all going to die of radiation poisoning because Fukushima, and AAAAAUGH.

Mainly, if you want me and all your other online friends to watch a video, clip the URL from youtube and share the fucking thing in your facebook posting instead of delivering it to me in a wrapper that basically shunts more advertising revenue to a site that did nothing in producing the video. It's easy, it blocks some smarmy random assholes from making money from ad revenue off videos that they didn't produce, and it means I can watch the thing in my facebook news feed instead of spawning another window in my browser.

That said, I don't think this represents a great slide into Mike Judge's grumpy and not particularly prescient dystopia, because the tools that enable the memehucksters to shill their insipid prattlestorms are also the tools that allow us to research, find citations or lacks thereof, make arguments with as much access as the mucksters, and challenge. Reagan's reign of error, for instance, was the product of the pre-everything era, and that era's safely behind us now.

I do wish video would just go and die in a corner, though, because it's just such a shitty, shitty medium for most of what it tries to do.

Witness this video from Mental Floss, purporting to show us 35 facts about Fred Rogers.

We get LOTS of gimmicky postproduction work, we get hundreds of jump cuts because host John Green can't deliver several minutes of patter without having to stop, we get host John Green smirking at us as he breathlessly rambles through a listicle of "facts" about Fred Rogers which could have been read in less than a minute without the lame nerdovision selfconsciously casual rip of a rip of a rip of an old VH1 tactic that wasn't particularly fresh even back in its day, coupled with a post-Pee-Wee's-Playhouse junky set that's supposed to...umm...I dunno, maybe establish kitschy collecty geek cred or something? It's all ironic in that case, because Mister Rogers was the generally opposite of the kind of hyperkinetic eye candy Sesame Street trippy LOOK AT ME KIDS approach that this video is perpetuating. In the end, it's a video about host John Green, not Fred Rogers, which is sad.

All just fluff, and I may as well be watching TV like a dope.

That said, I make it my goal in life to not just rant, but to also practice the James Murphy dictum, the best way to complain is to make things, which is why my facebook friends tend to point out that I'm awfully wordy in that arena.
posted by sonascope at 6:07 AM on December 29, 2013 [22 favorites]


I've gotten to the point where I won't click Upworthy posts. First, I'm not going to watch a 5 minute video. But secondly, I have already seen that link, several months ago, on my Facebook feed. And I didn't want to watch the video then.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:40 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


i don't want to look at your fucking video to consume your content

If we could double-favorite a post, I'd have done that.

So often the video thing is just narcissism, really. Why simply post a couple of conceise sentences that people can share easily, when you can post a video that showcases your face, your tattoos, your voice, your bedroom, your use of particular keywords to prove that you're cool, your awkward pauses, your unprepared ad-libbing, your poor videography skills, etc.

This is really rampant in the Maschine users' community. There are a lot of wannabe producers out there who think you care what their name is and what their voice sounds like.

You could:
-- tell people "to disable plugin scan at startup, go to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Native Instruments\Maschine 2\scanplugins and rename the two executables."

-- Put together a 2:20 video and wrap it in a web-page full of self-promotional bullshit and a separate comments system. Of course, once the video exists, the laziest way for other people to answer the question when it inevitably gets asked on forums is to link to your page, driving your ad revenue and increasing the chances somebody will buy your crap.


Related: sharing images on tumblr/facebook/whatever that consist merely of text. No interesting picture, not even artistic typography... just a way to deliver a few bytes of information in a few kilobytes of pixels. Because obviously YOUR message is so much more important and deserves to be SHOUTED at people scrolling by.

Also annoying: the "people holding up signs handwritten on pieces of cardboard" meme.
posted by Foosnark at 6:42 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's a rant, but it's an awesome one sonascope, and you're right on every point.
posted by JHarris at 6:44 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's nice about this is that I can sort my friends on face book into "Has seen Twin Peaks" and "Won't get my jokes about fantastic trees" with one link. Sure, the satire's a little shaky, and the one about sparkly vampires being boring completely misses the mark, but who can deny that the world needs more images of Special Agent Dale Cooper with words written on them?
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:56 AM on December 29, 2013


I've never actually heard of the site before but browsing it just now, I recognize a lot of the headlines from posts on Facebook. But the headlines all looked so idiotic that I never actually clicked on any of those posts.
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on December 29, 2013


In the end, it's a video about host John Green

Sonascope yours is the best articulation of how I feel about the current state of video online. I'd like to make a differentiation though between the properties inherent to the medium and the way people are currently employing it - which is just to say that the majority of what's being done today is terrible, but it doesn't have to be.

But one of my biggest complaints against Upworthy is not about the format or the content or even the headlines, which are an easy target. What I think is most insidious about this site is that it preys upon our desire to have the time we spend online be meaningful and then completely perverts it - it says, by watching this heartbreaking video you've confirmed that you're a good and upstanding individual, and by sharing it you're helping enlighten your friends and family. Which is bullshit. They're playing upon this increasing narcissism I'm seeing online, which is not isolated to the younger generation if you're to believe that it's mostly mothers sharing their shit, and pushing this idea that they're all changing the world. The only thing that's changing, in my opinion, is the continuing corruption of the internet by sites like this who treat users like sheep and whose true and naked aim is traffic numbers and, ultimately, revenue. Which ironically has the opposite effect of what they want you to believe they're aiming at, because I don't think I'm the only one who's suspicious now whenever I see a positive and uplifting story.

So the increasing hegemony of video as it's currently practised online is pretty shitty, but what I see happening with Upworthy and Facebook is downright evil.
posted by onwords at 6:59 AM on December 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


You want me to watch a 4:30 video of something i could read in like 45 to 60 seconds even if it was towards the thick end of content these videos ever have?

This is the reason I never, ever, click on all those stupid TED talk videos. I tried watching one or two, and hated the pacing and inefficiency of getting information that way. And compared to the upworthy crap, the TED ones are relatively information-dense -- but still wildly slow compared to putting the same words in written form.

Call me old and out of touch, but I'm ok with letting some of this stuff flow on past me.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


What's more annoying is that our local news station (Global) has started using Upworthy/Buzzfeed like teaser lines to advertise their news casts, and even to some extent as the outro before a commercial break to make sure you stick around for the rest of the news.

When I noticed this, it blew my mind... Arrgh! No! Now I'm doing it too!
posted by Snowflake at 7:13 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


host John Green can't deliver several minutes of patter without having to stop

I think the biggest indictment of this style of jump-cut patter-creation is the fact that Ze Frank, after having revived it, has almost entirely stopped doing it. His videos these days (aside from the "true facts about animals" series, I suppose) are slow, plain-spoken, painfully honest meditations.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh, unworthy/"viral" video site venting!

My gripe is sourcing, and crediting of sources. The ultimate worst is Wimp.com, which is kind of like the less douchy/bro-tastic eBaums World, where they straight-up jack content from YouTube and re-host it, so you can't click on the YouTube icon in the embedded video and see who uploaded it. In that light, Upworthy isn't as bad, except they'll link to any version of the video they find. Case in point: Watch The First 54 Seconds. That’s All I Ask. You’ll Be Hooked After That, I Swear. OK, that tells me nothing. Here's the embedded video, posted by "jammer jhed" with no description. Thanks, thief.

Well, UpWorthy were good enough to find the original video, but instead of embedding the original video, they used someone else's upload, and they added a link back to Landfill Harmonic's Facebook page. But note the visual hierarchy: big teaser header, smaller enigmatic tagline ("Who cares what it smells like? It's what it sounds like that matters."), then the video, which is sandwiched between Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons. Below all that in small, grey text: the "credits."

Worst of all, my friends post these videos from UpWorthy to Facebook without giving any more context. Help a friend out, write a few words about what this is or why you liked it! So I'll go to UpWorthy and see if there's more context before even watching the video, because I figured if my friends liked it, there has to be something to the story, right?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:00 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's more annoying is that our local news station (Global) has started using Upworthy/Buzzfeed like teaser lines to advertise their news casts, and even to some extent as the outro before a commercial break to make sure you stick around for the rest of the news.

I don't know, Snowflake, I think the local newscasts (especially in the US) have been doing that lonnnnnnng before the Internet started making headlines.

"This miracle item could save millions - find out at 11!"

So maybe it's the local-newsification of Internet journalism? How everyone thought that would mean neighbourhood-specific sites would take off and people would talk about local things, but instead we got all the hysteria, stranger danger, miracle cures, and chipmunks-on-waterskis.

Not that I mind chipmunks on waterskis. That's totally what the internet is for.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


And with that, back to SFFworthy. Thanks to this site, I now realize that the Adam West Batman didn't only have eyebrows drawn on his hood/mask, but also a box around his nose. Yes, that makes you look like a serious hero-type. Before you clarified the location of your nose, we thought you were some kind of nose-less freak. But with a little square around the tip of your nose, that totally makes you look like a proper crime-fighter!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:18 AM on December 29, 2013


Yeah, local news in NYC is notorious for this. Things like "There's a product in your kitchen that could kill your children tonight. What is it? Find out on Fox 5 at 10."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:20 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I keep trying to find a nuanced way to point out to my friends and family that the best way to not be targeted as a sucker is to stop being a sucker, and some of that comes down to training oneself to recognize suckerbait.

On facebook, "Name one country without an E in the name" is suckerbait, and all you do when you snort at how dumb people are that they don't know about Romania, for instance, is to put your name on a list harvested by internet assholes of easy marks. In the same way, the "Like this if you remember [insert photo of a rotary telephone, a modem, a vacuum tube, et cetera]" threads fill the same role, and rely on the lust for nostalgia, which serves to list you as an easy mark...and a member of an age-related demographic cluster.

Because of my arts-adjacency, faggotry, and connection to various issues of ecotude, I have a lot of aging hippies amongst my set of friends, and while it's exhausting, I have to write back every time one of them publishes some panicky GMO-Monsanto-owns-the-government panicfuel post with a picture of some undocumented diseased rat with a root of mercola.com, because mercola.com isn't a remotely reliable source—it's a shill site for a woo quack who makes a fortunate selling woo quackery to people with legitimate concerns about the world but an inadequate bullshit filter.

Some folks will engage me, and will usually say "oh, I didn't know that," and be a little more circumspect, and some will dig in, and I can't do anything with them except shrug. As with my older relatives who don't understand why they're being dicks when they "like" pro-Chick-Fil-A posts even as they seem to like me just fine, sometimes you can only let it go and concentrate on the areas in which you can have an effect.

Mind you, it's all part of a human-history-long huckster tactic that's sold snake oil, gods, advertising attention, and more crappy crappity crap than even the most Barnumacious huckster could have ever dreamed possible. My ex has been nagging me to go to Ikea with him for their rare sales, in which there's some token item discounted for each given day, and I've given up on pointing out that no, I don't want to spend six dollars on gas for my truck to save four dollars on LED lightbulbs that are not particularly good. Even when the sale is good, like for their storage bins, I don't want to perform like a trained seal for a marketing department, and I don't want to find myself in the long line of eager bin-buyers standing around looking an annoying lot like me and my demographic because that makes me feel like a cartoon lemming.

"Suit yourself, then," he says, and heads for the store with the intention of getting champagne flutes and free coffee.

The crazy thing with the internet variation of this is that the shit sites are labeled right on the proverbial tin, and in the same way that Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Mars Attacks were horrendous insulting disappointing crap because they set out to be kitschy camp, if you're clicking on anything with "viral" or "meme" in the URL, you're just being a fool. Things going viral do so in a loose model of how viruses work, and precious few viruses in the world of biology post an overproduced video titled "Want Flu Symptoms Or Itchy Clusters Of Weeping Anal Warts? Click Here And We'll Blow Your Immune System In Just Forty-Three Astonishing Seconds!"

Everyone is a sucker sometimes, but we can learn.
posted by sonascope at 8:21 AM on December 29, 2013 [31 favorites]


Things like "There's a product in your kitchen that could kill your children tonight. What is it? Find out on Fox 5 at 10."

Spoiler: It's not just NYC.
It comes from everywhere.
posted by Mezentian at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


A big preemptive Thanks to Upworthy for the Democrats winning the Presidency+ House in 2016.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:29 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


They want to take GUNS from SCHOOLS. Here is ONE TRICK THEY don't want you to know.
posted by Mezentian at 8:45 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


A big preemptive Thanks to Upworthy for the Democrats winning the Presidency+ House in 2016.

If only.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2013


Everyone is a sucker sometimes, but we can learn.

With the exception of all of my relatives who signal-boost every "criminals are targeting you door-to-door/on the road/in the mall parking lot" urban legend without checking Snopes first. (And I am not even that much of a fan of Snopes, given that it's pop-up hell, but at least they do their homework.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:02 AM on December 29, 2013


Thank god Upworthy skews left at this point. It's bad when people I agree with send me annoying videos about stuff I agree with. I'm going to have to get off the Internet permananently when my redneck relatives start sending me "This widowed school teacher tried to make it harder to bring guns into schools...what happened next will AMAZE you."
posted by Random Person at 9:06 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Video has also been the reason I didn't finish MOOCs I registered for. Why in the world would I want to watch three hours of lectures per week when I could just read? It doesn't even have the benefit of small classes at a university, where you can ask questions; it's like the worst kind of massive freshman course, where you just sit there and doze while a self-important professor drones on.

ARGH, VIDEO.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:10 AM on December 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I feel like there's a big-ass difference between Upworthy (which is nothing more or less than this decades version of FWDs from your Aunt) and John Green, whose style might not be your thing but who is generally on the side of good.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:19 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Foosnark, I actually like the sign-holding meme (from We Are The 99% to Dog Shaming) precisely because it avoids the bloat of video interviews while retaining the personal, pointed emotion that can make even a flatly told fact or anecdote become vivid and real.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:25 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mainly, if you want me and all your other online friends to watch a video, clip the URL from youtube and share the fucking thing in your facebook posting instead of delivering it to me in a wrapper that basically shunts more advertising revenue to a site that did nothing in producing the video.

Note: this goes double for Metafilter posts.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:30 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]



I'm at my parents right now and have been cleaning up my Dad's computer while he's away. It's so full of crap. I didn't know a computer could be so full and still work. Last night I had a looong talk with him about what the heck he browses and downloads. His problem it seems is that he is too damn curious and this type of headlines are a bane to his internet existence. He's not a dumb man. He just has problems passing up not knowing the answer or seeing 'what will blow his mind' or downloading things that will 'fix the big problem your computer has that you don't know about' yadda yadda.

'Dad have you really had your mind blown? Have you ever discovered something that will make your life, computer life better?

'Well no....not really'

"Then just stop and think because really all your doing is making your computer like one of those houses on the hoarding shows. "

I've done my best to get rid of the over 8000 infections and cookies and whatever, including almost 20 crap programs that are 'supposed' to protect it from this stuff. I don't even know where half of the crap comes from or how he managed to get it on his drive.

It's unreal. This type of marketing really has pegged his type. It's awful.
posted by Jalliah at 9:55 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have to congratulate the maker of this Tumblr on their commitment to mimicry...after scrolling through about a dozen of them, the way they're framed I wouldn't want to read/watch any of these stories.
posted by psoas at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting quote from the On The Media interview posted above.
Eli [Pariser, Upworthy founder] : But I'd just so much rather be on the side of trying to make important stuff seem more fun and interesting -- and maybe be a little over the top tone-wise -- than the kind of Officially Boring headline-writing that mostly convinces people to skip over it entirely.
That part I high-lighted bugs me because I'm sure that there are really important things that are neither fun nor particularly interesting, and the discipline required to deal with important boring things needs to be practiced or it dies out. What Pariser is doing is helping to kill it off, in the guise of helping to maintain it.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I hate Upworthy too, but most of my "friends" would never have known who Elizabeth Warren is without Upworthy. So there's that...

Regards,
/user/1200
posted by humboldt32 at 10:40 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Metafilter post they don't want you to know about will BLOW YOUR MIND when you read what happens next!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:54 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's unreal. This type of marketing really has pegged his type. It's awful.

What I've noticed, because I'm not quite immune for these kinds of bait and switches, is that Adblock or a similar Firefox or Opera plugin blocks most if not all of these kind of "elsewhere on the internet" banners. Such a relief to not have to see this shit anymore.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


trying to make important stuff seem more fun and interesting

this applies to museums becoming "discovery centers"
posted by bonefish at 2:51 PM on December 29, 2013


I know that 95% of you will just go on to the next comment but please plus this one if you're with us and not one of them. Thank you.
posted by hal9k at 3:01 PM on December 29, 2013


I spend a lot of time on the Internet and I have no idea what this is about. What does SFF stand for? Why is everyone in this thread (rightfully) upset about videos, when the linked content seems to be just a bunch of images? What am I missing?
posted by sockermom at 4:02 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I envy you.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:19 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll preface this by saying that in my first post, OSX 10.9s new "wonderful" autocorrect function jacked from the iPhone changed every instance of "upworthy" but one in my post to "unworthy", awesome. No idea why i hadn't just turned that "feature" off yet(seriously, who needs autocorrect on a normal laptop keyboard? wtf mate?)

filthy light thief: Ooh, unworthy/"viral" video site venting!

looks like it bit you too! hah.

Foosnark: Related: sharing images on tumblr/facebook/whatever that consist merely of text. No interesting picture, not even artistic typography... just a way to deliver a few bytes of information in a few kilobytes of pixels. Because obviously YOUR message is so much more important and deserves to be SHOUTED at people scrolling by.

The absolutely fucked thing that makes me feel like an old man yelling from his front yard shaking his cane at the neighbors is that i hate this, but it works. Those posts get MASSIVE piles of likes and reblogs. I'm 23 freaking years old, i'm part of the "tumblr generation"(although i recognize that skews younger than me, and the average user is probably like 16). I was one of the earliest users on that damn site... and i just don't get it.

People garner TONS of views with crappy youtube videos that shouldn't be videos, and also get tons of views/likes/reblogs with SHARE IF U AGREE images like that. I don't think it's done out of narcissism or lazyness or anything primarily, but rather by social climber types who know exactly how to approach and "game the system" and get the most exposure for their content possible.

Obviously upworthy and buzzfeed and such are just leeches and middlemen, utter pilotfish. Just suckling off the scraps of pageviews and ad clicks they can from the margins... but the actual people publishing this know what they're doing. It's just that it's fucking crap. It's like "if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" Logic and a lot of people are just answering "yes".

The only people answering no are like... MeFi, medium, etc.

As i said though, i feel like i even placed too much blame on a lot of the content creators in my first post. A lot of people are just doing what works and aren't really reflecting on anything but "how can i get my content to as many eyeballs as possible?" Screw the people like the aforementioned maschine tutorial guy though, they're the cancer.

I guess what i just don't understand, and likely never will is why so many people would rather sit and watch a video instead of just read. The internet is full of people going Tl;DR PLEASE who simultaneously would spend more time watching a video. Is it the visual stimulation, or the passive receptor quality? i'm lost.
posted by emptythought at 4:30 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess what i just don't understand, and likely never will is why so many people would rather sit and watch a video instead of just read. The internet is full of people going Tl;DR PLEASE who simultaneously would spend more time watching a video. Is it the visual stimulation, or the passive receptor quality? i'm lost.


People have different ways of processing information and learning things. At it's most basic the categories are seeing, hearing and doing. Most people process and learn in some sort of combination of the categories but tend to have one that outweighs the other. When I was teaching a sport to groups we made sure that we covered all three and learned to discern what the dominent tendancy was for people in the group. In private lessons we could make our lessons even more geared to the client.

Reading is interesting because it is largely a 'seeing' thing but in practice how the brain processes it can be different in different people. Auditory learners for instance will describe things like 'hearing' the words. They tend to process info better when the hear it.

I'm a strong doer or proprioceptive learner. I process information better when I'm 'doing' something. I found out that this is one of the reasons that I doodled in school a lot. It was something I got in trouble for as it supposedly meant I wasn't paying attention. It was frustrating because it was something that just felt so natural when listening to lectures. It helped me pay attention. It was cool to have my doodling vindicated by pedegogical theory. When I'm reading, particulary something dense with information I tend to do things like tap my pen or play with something in my hand.
posted by Jalliah at 9:05 PM on December 29, 2013


Relevant xkcd
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:03 AM on December 30, 2013


sockermom: These are images from Science Fiction & Fantasy (hence SFF) stories in the style of Upworthy posts, which are almost universally in the form of videos that are vaguely titled and don't say very much. I think there's a lot of knee-jerk anti-video sentiments here, but Upworthy-style presentation is also risible and annoying.
posted by psoas at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


LITWORTHY: This Guy Didn’t Tell His New Governess About His Secret Ex-Wife In The Attic. What Happened Next Really Burned Him Up.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:45 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


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