Reddit’s RoastMe Forum Is the Anti-Instagram

Though it might seem to be just another place for angry trolls to encounter potential victims, RoastMe is something a bit stranger. Within thehall of mirrors that polite society creates and that most social media amplifies, the subreddit provides a safe space in which one might receive a response to that ur-question: What do people really think of me? Posters’ continued demands to hear the truth about themselves (a sampling: 'Don’t hold back'; 'Do your worst'; 'Please be brutal'; 'Make me cry'; 'Roast me on a skewer like a burnt turkey') suggest a desire to draft a different kind of contract for online relationships. In this new scenario, you might get hurt, but at least you’ll get some clarifying honesty.

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A History of the Influencer, from Shakespeare to Instagram

Influence works best when it’s wielded obscurely, in the shadows and behind thescenes, and this has clear social consequences for a society engaged in building a digital-influence economy. Based on the available evidence, it seems that we can’t construct an influence economy without stoking a culture of skepticism and paranoia.The fear of being influenced affects our sense of reality and our ability to trust our own judgments about what is true.

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Why is everyone so obsessed with AOC? Let's analyze the memes

This sense of familiarity allows people to find themselves and one another in the narratives she creates. In many ways, a lot of theconversation about her has moved away from the concrete day-to-day policies she talks about to what she represents to people. And that translates into collective community building through social sharing and remixing of that same narrative. [...] 'The fan practices we see — like fan art, fanfiction, cosplay — these same practices are about community.'

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How the news took over reality

"According to a principle dating back to theEnlightenment, responsible democratic citizens are those who strive to keep informed about the nation and the wider world – a duty that has been held to be especially critical during times of rising authoritarianism. Today, though, this principle is often taken to imply a duty not to turn away from the news. The instinct to look elsewhere is treated as both a sign of privilege and an obliviousness to that luxury. If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. It is increasingly taken as a given that in order to help, or even just signal solidarity with, those most directly affected by the events reported in the news – undocumented immigrants facing the Trump administration’s cruelties, say – it is morally obligatory to remain immersed in thenews itself."

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