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Twitter should cash in on adult content

2023-03-19 06:10:09

Twitter should cash in on adult content

Twitter and Elon Musk have a revenue problem. They also may have a revenue solution: porn.

Twitter should cash in on adult content(图1)

Amidst hesitant advertisers, widespread layoffs, mass resignations, and Donald Trump’s recent reinstatement, many are understandably panicking at the possibility of Twitter’s demise. Long before Elon Musk became the Chief Twit, unknown writers parlayed dedicated followings into book deals. Marginalized identities found each other and formed cultural communities around hashtags. Small businesses and indie media outlets drove traffic to their sites and products. Many are concerned about what will happen to their livelihoods if Twitter (and $44 billion) goes "poof."

To sex workers, this is nothing new. They’ve been on this ride before. With ever-changing community guidelines and targeted legislation, the adult entertainment industry is regularly booted from social media sites with little-to-no explanation, frequently building accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers before starting back at zero.

Twitter is one of two major social media sites (the other being Reddit) that still allows porn. A recent internal report(Opens in a new tab) estimates that 13 percent of Twitter’s content is NSFW. Many of those accounts monetize their followings by sending fans to other sites. OnlyFans reported $932 million in revenue for 2021 with creators getting paid out billions. That’s a lot of money not going to the Big Blue Bird.

Twitter’s Red Team

A "Red Team(Opens in a new tab)" of in-house researchers had been developing a way to cut in on that market share since at least early 2021. "Twitter loses a lot of revenue to OnlyFans," says Dr. Olivia Snow(Opens in a new tab), a dominatrix and research fellow for the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. She consulted with Twitter employees earlier this year on an Adult Content Monetization product. "So this was going to be a way to cash in on that."

The idea was tabled back in May — a few weeks after Musk’s too-good-to-be-true offer to buy the site. But earlier this month, The Washington Post reported internal communications about a yet-to-be-announced "Paywalled Video" product(Opens in a new tab) that sounded a lot like OnlyFans: videos uploaded directly to a tweet with a blurred preview that arrives in your timeline with a pre-set price to unlock. The ability for creators to sell to their fans directly on the platform — and for Twitter to take a cut — has monstrous revenue possibilities for the struggling social media giant.


Ginger Banks(Opens in a new tab), who has been in the adult entertainment industry for 13 years, would be excited for paywalled video on Twitter. "I have 300,000 people following me," she told Mashable. "It’s usually 1-2 percent that end up paying or subscribing [to my content]. It could be really big depending on how they roll it out!"

Porn stars already know a lot of great marketing ploys to get people excited to spend money on them: games, rankings, limited purchases, raffles, cross-promotional "battles." With a payment method stored on the platform, fans could seamlessly spend with a click or two. No more #LinkInBio or subversive threading strategies to boost impressions for offsite URLs. If Twitter has skin in the game by taking a cut of sales, the company would have an incentive to give those tweets an algorithmic boost.

SEE ALSO: How selling nudes on OnlyFans helped my body image issues

"I have more faith in Twitter and Reddit being able to monetize adult content," Banks continues. "They have adult content and they’re in the fucking App Store. So, clearly, they have some sort of pull that these other websites don’t have." Apple typically does not allow apps where pornography is freely available. (It’s why OnlyFans does not have a proper app.)

When the world shut down in 2020, waves of newly unemployed people tried their hands (and other body parts) at porn. "A lot of people now know they can turn to [porn] during a period of non-work," says Lotus Lain(Opens in a new tab), who serves as Industry Relations Advocate for the Free Speech Coalition(Opens in a new tab), the adult industry’s trade organization. Lain suggests if Twitter implemented the Paywalled Video product — and allowed adult creators to use it — newbies "wouldn’t even have to start an OnlyFans. It might be easier" to get your sexy side hustle up and running.

Everyone in porn I talk to says the same thing: The more places they can monetize their content, the better. "The thing that I’m cautious about is the lack of security at Twitter," Lain told me a week after trust and safety head Yoel Roth resigned citing the new CEO’s "lack of legitimacy(Opens in a new tab)." Lain continued, "I trusted whoever was in power before because it was a mixed group of executives. But now it’s one guy—one unhinged, megalomaniac guy. That is what I don’t trust."

Elon Musk has made Twitter drastically worse, according to porn star Kendra Sunderland. Credit: Ian Moore / Mashable

'Elon Musk is obviously an idiot.'

Elon Musk dumped $44 billion into a pet project some suggest(Opens in a new tab) he never truly wanted in the first place. And he promised(Opens in a new tab) investors a return on their investment. Ninety percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. Musk wants to change that. But the ideas he has publicly floated have been all over the place from charging government accounts(Opens in a new tab) to bringing back Vine(Opens in a new tab) to launching an edit function for Twitter Blue subscribers (which is actually a good idea). His rushed rollout of selling verified badges for $8/month backfired so badly that it was shut down after two days.

Paywalled Video, if done correctly, could be a win for Musk, but an internal review deemed the feature as high risk due to concerns around copyrighted content, user trust issues, and legal compliance. Copyright concerns already abound since the CEO slashed his content moderation team last week. 

"Elon is obviously an idiot," says Snow. "He doesn’t understand what normal human concerns are in any way, shape, or form. Every time I press a button on Twitter, I hear a ‘boing’ sound and a spring pops out. Little things are falling apart."

Snow has serious concerns about Twitter’s OnlyFans-esque product under Musk. "I think it’s super dangerous. I could see him going full steam ahead and launching a product that doesn’t have any content moderation built in — or even the staff to do that. I can’t imagine him being able to get the nuances of adult content or the privacy around it or the infrastructure necessary to make that work at all because he’s an incompetent sociopath."

The nuances of adult content are many. Musk, a champion of artificial intelligence, probably won’t appreciate the creative complexities of porn that often trip up AI moderation programs. I myself had a video auto-removed from Instagram(Opens in a new tab) of me unzipping my fly and pulling out…a microphone. When I "appealed" the decision, it was quickly rejected and threatened with a ban. Since SESTA/FOSTA legislation(Opens in a new tab) put platforms on notice in 2018, social media platforms have cracked down on arbitrarily anything suggestive from sex educators to doulas to eggplant emojis(Opens in a new tab).

Porn stars use these sites to build followings to funnel to monetized platforms, but they are routinely banned — even without sharing prohibited content. "The discrimination against sex work and porn is so institutionalized," Banks offers. "There are so many walls, but all it does is force us to innovate."

Of course, none of this matters if there are no users left to buy your porn. In the wake of Musk’s decisions about hate speech and reinstating Donald Trump, people have been fleeing Twitter for alternatives — newly-nude-again Tumblr, conservative Twitter clone Truth Social, or the allegedly "civil" new player Post(Opens in a new tab). "I’ve seen what happens when new websites rush to fill a void," offers Lain. "You get a lot of wack-ass shit that spreads everybody out. Mastodon is not real!"

Porn star Kendra Sunderland(Opens in a new tab) thinks Musk has made the site drastically worse. And with nearly one million followers, Sunderland, a nine-year industry veteran, feels stuck. "There’s nothing you can really do about [the changes he’s making]. You have to just get over it." Her Twitter is the only social media account that has not been shut down throughout her career. "I can’t just leave Twitter. I have to use it for my work for as long as I continue in this industry."

Sunderland added, "We’re all in a raft going down a river, and Elon is our guide."

Wary allies to porn

Paywalled video could make a lot of creative people a lot of money, not just the naked ones. Behind-the-scenes content, exclusive video podcast episodes, woodworking tutorials, stand-up comedy specials. And yes, pictures of your favorite porn star’s titties. The product won’t solve the $44 billion pickle Elon Musk finds himself in, but it would begin making Twitter less reliant on advertisers.

SEE ALSO: Porn, and porn sites, bolster racist tropes by design

Private conversations between Mistress Snow and one Twitter department head — in screenshots obtained by Mashable — suggest that the company does want to cash in on those OnlyFans fortunes. Even if sex workers have trouble believing it. "Because we don’t defend adult creators publicly, we are seen as wary allies who could switch teams any moment," writes the employee. Snow requested anonymity for this employee so they could speak freely. 

It doesn’t seem like Twitter will abandon adult content entirely. Its free speech fetishist owner would have a hard time explaining why the N-word is allowed in your mentions but cumshots are forbidden. But will porn be invited to the potential gold rush?

"My instinct is that they’re going to create [a way to monetize content] and we’re not going to be able to use it," predicts Banks. "But I’d love to be proven wrong."

UPDATE: Dec. 29, 2022, 6:18 p.m. CET Previous statements regarding Laila Mickelwait posting CSAM were removed because they could not be substantiated.

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    Paint-by-numbers in action. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

    The directions that come with each DIY kit will break the paint-by-numbers process down for you, but essentially, your job is extremely simple: You fill in the areas of white space on the page with paint. You'll be able to determine exactly which color goes where by matching the numbers on the top of each paint container with the corresponding numbers on the paper. Depending on the difficulty of your project you might be asked to mix some paints together to form new colors, or occasionally wash some brushes, but otherwise the activity is mostly straightforward and mindless.

    SEE ALSO: 10 ways to make your work from home desk less depressing

    For several minutes or hours you can give your brain a rest from worrying about the world and take solace in thinking solely about which paint color goes where. You can train your eyes to scan the canvas in front of you for numbers like "5" or "29," and let yourself feel a small sense of accomplishment as the once bleak page before you transforms into an eye-catching masterpiece.

    Doesn't that sound nice? And one of the best things about paint-by-numbers is that they help even the least artistic people to create professional-looking depictions.

    A perfect quarantine craft

    Completing paint-by numbers, especially more complex ones, often requires some time. Which is why the guided painting projects are a perfect quarantine craft.

    If you're looking for a way to keep your hands and mind busy while staying at home, something to fill your empty social schedule, or a delightful distraction from social media, consider investing in a paint by numbers kit. And if you have old paint-by-numbers that you haven't yet used, now's the perfect time to dig them out.

    People of all ages are falling in love with paint-by-numbers in quarantine, and since you end up with a nice picture to show for your time, it's truly becoming a self-care hobby worth sharing with the internet.

    Where to find paint-by-numbers kits

    If you're looking to get into this very low stakes hobby, there are a bunch of places to shop for kits online. Try Etsy(Opens in a new tab), JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores(Opens in a new tab), Michael's(Opens in a new tab), Herrschners(Opens in a new tab), and Artsool(Opens in a new tab), among others. You can also transform your own photographs into a paint-by-number activities, too.

    Here are a few of the many paint-by-numbers templates that are just waiting to be filled in.

    Mountain Spring River(Opens in a new tab)

    A gorgeous mountain and  river scene. Credit: OurPaintAddictions / etsy

    Price: $27 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Pink Vespa Roses(Opens in a new tab)

    If you wish you were traveling. Credit: paintathomestore / etsy

    Price: $30 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Houseplant Set(Opens in a new tab)

    Wall plants! Credit: NotablyPaperCompany / etsy

    Price: from $10.00 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    If there's a specific subject you'd like to paint, such as animals, plants, scenery, or food, be sure to include it in your search terms. And when you're seeking out your perfect paint-by-numbers template, keep in mind the level of difficulty you want to take on. Consider starting with a more basic version and then see if you want to move on to more intricate ones.

    If paper and paint isn't your style, have no fear. You can always download a paint-by-numbers app — like Paint By Number(Opens in a new tab), Happy Color(Opens in a new tab), or Colors by Number – No.Draw(Opens in a new tab)— on your phone or tablet for a soothing virtual experience.

    Whichever method you use, we're sure paint-by-numbers will add some serious variety and color to your daily unwinding routine.

  • Germany to launch coronavirus tracing app this week

    Germany to launch coronavirus tracing app this week

    Germany is about to launch its smartphone app to trace coronavirus infections.


    Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday that the app is coming "this week," according to Reuters(Opens in a new tab).

    The app, which has been created with the help of Deutsche Telekom and SAP, uses Bluetooth tech to detect people who are at risk of infection by coronavirus. The German government hopes the app will help in curbing the second wave of coronavirus infections.

    According to The Local(Opens in a new tab), the app, which requires Bluetooth to be turned on at all times, will measure the distance between phone owners. Once it detects two users have been within 1.5 meters of each other for longer than 15 minutes, the devices will exchange user IDs. And if a person tests positive for coronavirus, the app will notify everyone who came into contact with them in this manner. The app doesn't rely on a centralized database, does not communicate a user's location info, and does not access a user's personal information.

    SEE ALSO: Google Maps launches features for traveling during coronavirus pandemic

    The app was slated for an earlier release but was delayed to improve its reliability. Spahn would not confirm media reports that the app is coming on Tuesday, but he did confirm the launch will happen this week.

    Numerous(Opens in a new tab) other European countries have proposed a similar solution, and France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Norway have already launched their own versions of the app.

    There have been more than 186,000 coronavirus infections in Germany so far, and 8,787 deaths, according to the WHO(Opens in a new tab). The number of daily new cases has declined significantly in the past two months, but the country has been bracing(Opens in a new tab) for a second wave(Opens in a new tab) of the pandemic.

  • Essential tips, tricks, and apps to help you learn a language

    Essential tips, tricks, and apps to help you learn a language

    Fait intéressant: Seulement 17% des Américains parlent plus d'une langue. Yep, according to a survey cited by Forbes(Opens in a new tab), less than one fifth of Americans know a second language. And yet there are countless benefits to being bilingual, or at least able to fumble along in another dialect.


    To name a few: It looks good on your resume and can help you get jobs; locals in foreign countries appreciate it when you make an effort in their own tongue; it makes you better at your own language; it's believed to grow your brain(Opens in a new tab) and may protect against Alzheimer's(Opens in a new tab).

    But what's the best way to learn a new language? Approaches vary but there are some simple guidelines to make it a whole lot easier.

    Recent years have seen a shift away from rote learning and monotonous grammar rules in favor of a more holistic approach. Beginning with elementary schooling, where immersion programs see kids learn other subjects like math and art in a foreign language, modern thinking places greater emphasis on a less intimidating and frankly more fun approach.

    As adults, though, time is at a premium and learning a new language can feel like an extra chore in a life already crowded with parenting, netflixing or just trying to stay afloat. If you're determined to master a second dialect, there are some key things to consider. Here are a few tips, and some of the best apps and courses on the market.

    Make learning language fun

    There's no test score at the end of this, and no one will judge you for the odd mistake, so see it as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and engage with people on the other side of that language barrier. Many online courses and apps base their learning around gamification -- if fanfares and rosettes do it for you, seek out one of these first.

    Learning a language needn't be intimidating. Credit: giphy

    Spaced repetition is your friend

    As the name hints, spaced repetition is the theory that you're more likely to properly memorize something if you repeatedly learn it over sections of time. As Quartz explains(Opens in a new tab), it's based on the idea of the "forgetting curve" from 19th century German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus, the notion that we quickly forget something over a short period of time.

    Spaced repetition sees you go back over things you've learned (like new vocabulary) repeatedly to get them to stick in your head. The Duolingo app (mentioned in more depth further on) is a good one for this technique.

    Find bite-sized chunks of time to devote to it

    Just a few sessions a week will seriously improve your vocabulary and pronunciation, as long as you stick at it and keep reminding yourself to do it regularly. Many apps for iPhone or Android are structured to work in tiny segments of time.

    Try TV as a teacher

    Mashable's Brittany Levine Beckman swears by melodramatic telenovelas to learn Spanish, adding that listening rather than reading helps you pick things up quickly, and the pained facial expressions, overt emotions, and repetitious plots all work towards helping you understand. Pedro Almodóvar movies and other foreign language films -- without subtitles -- could be an entertaining place to start, too. As well as Netflix's Cable Girls, a 1920s drama that takes place at a Spanish telecom company. It runs in both Spanish and dubbed English if you want to toggle between the two.

    Meetups are a social way to learn

    Meetup(Opens in a new tab) hosts listings of gatherings worldwide to practice another language, which can be a great place to practice your vocab while making a few new friends.

    Don't sweat the rules too much

    Knowing the grammar helps, especially if you need to read and write in the language, but that doesn't mean you need to spend days poring over dusty text books. Think back to how you learned the correct tenses or conjugation in English -- it was through mimicry, repetition, and practice, right? There's no reason why the second or third language in your arsenal should be any different.

    Don't worry about making a fool of yourself

    You'll make mistakes during this language learning process. You may tell an Italian(Opens in a new tab) you're horny when you meant you're hot. Or a Greek(Opens in a new tab) person that you're pregnant when you meant embarrassed. Don't take it too seriously. Most people will be pleased you're trying and will point out the mistake.

    Colin Firth in Love Actually knows the pain of learning a language. Credit: Universal pictures

    Have fun with it

    Chuck the odd phrase in a text message, write a poem or a song in your new lingo, or surprise your next server when you're abroad with a phrase they weren't expecting. Just don't get too prétentieux.

    Essential language apps to have you fluent in no time

    There are almost as many language apps available as there are global dialects. Some worth investigating include:

    • Rosetta Stone(Opens in a new tab) - The best known and perhaps most comprehensive, Rosetta Stone promises to "train you to associate words with imagery in real-life situations" and has 24 language options. It's definitely an investment - currently $7.49 per month for 24 months - but many people swear by it.

    • Babbel(Opens in a new tab) - This app breaks its tuition down into short, 10-15 minute chunks so you can pick up a por favor or an arigato on the subway or waiting for a bus. Subscriptions start at $5 a month.

    • Memrise(Opens in a new tab) - If you want to learn French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, or a host of other dialects, with cartoony game rewards helping you along, this is for you. Prices start at $8.99 per month.

    Memrise is a user-friendly language app. Credit: memrise
    Language app Memrise features chatbots. Credit: memrise
    • uTalk(Opens in a new tab) - With 160 languages and speaking games that help monitor your progress, this comes priced at $64.99 and will improve your Albanian or Swahili in no time.

    • Duolingo(Opens in a new tab) - A range of languages, including Klingon because why should fictional dialects be excluded, and cute gamification aspects keep this favorite a top scorer in the App Store. Duolingo is free.

    • busuu - At $34.99 for a year's subscription, busuu (a Cameroonian word) offers 12 language courses and lets you hone your skills directly with native speakers.

    • WaitSuite(Opens in a new tab) - Taking the concept of learning in your spare time to its logical extreme, this free to use MIT-associated project sends translation flash cards to your phone in those "micro-moments" when you're waiting for a Wi-Fi connection or taking an elevator.

    • Mango(Opens in a new tab) - Mango's exercises combine listening, reading and even movies to help you pick up vocabulary and grammatical patterns in 70+ languages. Pricing starts at $7.99 per month for one language. However, Mango partners with many libraries, so you might be able to access it for free with your library card.

    All of the above aside, though, the single best way to learn a language is probably just to listen and talk. A lot. To whoever you can find. And keep at it. Удачи!

    This story was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020.

  • Belle Delphine, known for selling gamer girl bathwater, is back

    Belle Delphine, known for selling gamer girl bathwater, is back

    After nearly a year of silence, bathwater entrepreneur and PornHub troll Belle Delphine is online again.


    Delphine announced her return in a tweet on Wednesday, accompanied by a bubbly rap about being a gamer on her YouTube page.

    "You were thinking I died? Bitch surprise," Delphine rapped in the NSFW video(Opens in a new tab).

    She proceeded to rhyme "Gobble up" with "Here's a big duck."

    Delphine also plugged her OnlyFans page in the video's description, and her Instagram(Opens in a new tab) and Twitter in the clip.

    The internet personality is infamous for trolling fans with her misleading (but oddly SFW) Pornhub presence, selling her bathwater for $30 per jar, and apparently vandalizing a car after an acquaintance allegedly stole her hamster. She was banned from Instagram last year for violating community guidelines regarding "pornographic content," but returned under a new handle(Opens in a new tab) exclusively for Patreon patrons.

    It seems that Delphine, who rose to fame for posting "lewds" on her Patreon, is hopping on the platform-de-jour and joining OnlyFans. She's not the only infamous internet personality to do so, joining the ranks of "scammer" turned influencer Caroline Calloway(Opens in a new tab) and controversial YouTube star Tana Mongeau(Opens in a new tab).

    Delphine has not resumed her bathwater shilling yet, though.

  • 7 apps to keep your plants alive and well

    7 apps to keep your plants alive and well

    Yellowing leaves, brown tips, dry fronds. Whenever a plant displays its first signs of sickness, I immediately start to think what I might have done wrong.


    Did I give my plant root rot by overwatering it? No, I'm probably under-watering it. Wait, maybe it's just due for a re-pot, or does it just need a little more shade?

    Plants have different needs, and react to sunlight, water, and fertilizer in a variety of ways. Learn about their needs, and you might be able to stop the damage in time. Use a little extra TLC, and they might even flourish.

    Not sure where to start? Here are eight apps to help you figure out what your plants need and how you can nurture them.

    Best overall: Planta

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab). In-app purchases available for premium features.

    Your living room and bathroom might have different light exposures, and Planta helps you keep track of that. Credit: Planta

    Planta is a great one-stop-shop for all your plant problems — but only if you have the premium upgrade.

    Still, there's plenty to love about what the app offers for free: You can log the different species of plants you have at home, manually keep track of the light intensity of the room in which they're placed, and get push notifications about when you should water them based on the weather in your area. The app's best free feature? Detailed instructions about different watering methods — water over the soil, bottom watering, or water bath — based on your baby's needs.

    Looking for more? The premium version will give you a boatload of other helpful tools. With the upgrade, you'll get fertilizing, misting, repotting, and pruning instructions and reminders. You'll also get features that use your phone camera to automatically identify plant species and estimate the light levels in your rooms. But there's more! You get overwintering instructions, care guides and articles, as well as plant recommendations based on your skills and your home's environment.

    The premium upgrade is available at $7.99 a month, $17.99 for three months, and $35.99 for a year.

    Best free app: Florish

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab).

    You have to pay extra to get a light meter on most apps. But you get that for free on Florish. Credit: Florish
    SEE ALSO: How to grow fresh herbs at home

    Florish may not have nearly as many features as Planta, but it's got plenty of goodies for a completely free app.

    Manually enter your plant babies' species into the app, and you'll get a brief description of what your plants should look like when they're healthy, care instructions with their water and light preferences, and a list of common issues that cause them to fall ill. But the app doesn't just tell you what your plants need; it also teaches you to fulfill those needs with watering reminders and plant care tips.

    The light meter is what makes this app stands out, though. Not quite sure if your room has bright, medium, or low light? This feature uses the phone camera to estimate light intensity in different areas in your home and to recommend plants based on those light settings. But really, it's just a useful tool for determining whether the plants you already have are getting the right amount of light. If you're not a fan of camera-enabled light meter, you can also determine light levels around your home with a three-question plant quiz.

    Most informative: Blossom

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab). In-app purchases available for premium upgrade.

    Care guides for your plant babies? Check. Fun listicles for discovering new plants? Also check. Credit: Blossom

    If you've ever tried to Google a question about your plant, you've probably come across a few tips by The Spruce(Opens in a new tab) at some point. Good news: They have a whole app dedicated to your plant babies. And let me tell you, it's oh-so neatly designed.

    The app is split into four bottom tabs: a "search" tab that functions like a library for detailed plant descriptions and care tips, an "explore" tab for discovering new plants, a "reminders" tab for setting up push notifications for watering, fertilizing, and repotting, and a "my garden" tab designed for quick access to information about your plants.

    Sure, the app doesn't come with other fancy features like light meters and personalized plant recommendations (it does come with a camera-enabled plant identifier, though), but what it lacks, it makes up for with clear presentation and depth of knowledge. Blossom has a database of more than 10,000 indoor and garden plants, each of which comes with a page about its preferences for light, soil, water, temperature, humidity, potting, and propagation.

    You get all these features for free up to a certain amount of uses. You can unlock an unlimited amount of reminders and camera-enabled plant identification, though, if you upgrade to premium version for $6.99/month or $19.99/year.

    Best for sick plants: PictureThis

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab) and Android(Opens in a new tab). In-app purchases available for premium upgrade.

    Got questions about your struggling plant? PictureThis has answers. Credit: PictureThis

    Like many other apps on the list, PictureThis comes with a camera-enabled plant identifier and detailed plant care guides. But once you upgrade to either the gold or premium membership, the app will also let you access tools that no other app offers: an AI that diagnoses your sick plants, as well as a community forum for troubleshooting and sharing tips.

    With a gold membership — which costs $1.99/week or $4.99/month — you'll also get unlimited plant identifications, one customized advice from IRL plant experts, and weed identifications. Upgrade it to premium for $29.99 a year, and you'll get all that plus three extra pieces of customized advice.

    Best for keeping track of progress: ThePlantMe

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab). In-app purchases available for premium upgrades.

    Want before-and-after pics for your plant baby? The "history" feature can do that for you. Credit: ThePlantMe

    ThePlantMe comes with a clean, simple design that makes it easy to keep track of your plants.

    To start, search for your babies in the app's database and add them to your list. Toggle one tab over to "your plants," and you'll see a lineup of plants you've added. Think of them as Pokémon cards for plants. Open up the card for a description of the plant's needs and to set up schedules and reminders for watering and fertilizing.

    But the star of the show is the "history" feature. Upload photos of your plant to the card once in a while, and you'll have a visual record of your plants' progress overtime. Maybe it's getting better, maybe it's getting worse — this feature will help you know for sure so you can adjust your gardening treatments to suit its needs.

    Best for reminders: Gardenia

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab) and Android(Opens in a new tab).

    Never forget to repot your plants again. Credit:

    If you're looking for an app that's concise and to the point, look no further than Gardenia. This app won't go into too much details about your plants — you can use a different app for that — but it will walk you through what you absolutely need to know and help you set up reminders to take care of those basics.

    Add a plant from the app's database to your list, and immediately you'll see six icons that indicate the plant's ideal level of water, fertilization, sun exposure, its ideal soil type, its blooming seasons, and the minimum temperature it needs for survival. In a way, it reads like a pictograph report card for plants.

    Here's what makes Gardenia different. Unlike other apps, which generally offer reminders for only watering and fertilizing, Gardenia will let you set up notifications for a much wider range of tasks. You can schedule for not only watering and fertilizing, but also repotting, applying pesticides, sowing, harvesting, and pruning. You can even create a custom notification if you'd like.

    The best part? All of this is free — no in-app purchases, no limits.

    Best for plant parents who already know the basics: Vera

    Free on iOS(Opens in a new tab) and Android(Opens in a new tab).

    Journaling can help you adjust plant care treatments based on your observations. Credit: Vera

    Vera is a blank canvas. There are no guides, no tips, no nothing. In practice, it functions more like a journal for plant parents who already know what they're doing.

    To start, snap a photo of your plant, give it a name, identify its species, document its location, note its adoption date, and add any care instructions based on what you've learned. Once you create that journal entry, you're free to log any activity — watering, fertilizing, repotting, misting, and rotating — and add any extra notes about the plant on a day-to-day basis. If it helps, you can also enable push notification for watering and fertilization reminders.

    This app is great if you want to approach plant parenting more mindfully. After all, even the same plant can react differently in different environment. An observation-based, individualized plant care regimen can be a lot more rewarding than boilerplate methods if you take the time to learn about your plants basic needs.

Random articles


  • Damon Dominique on aliens, building a business, and the importance of saying Um

    Damon Dominique on aliens, building a business, and the importance of saying Um

    Damon Dominique is in his solo era. For the last nine years, the 30-year-old American polyglot has made travel more aspirational, affordable, and accessible — first, as one-half of YouTuber duo Damon and Jo, and now as a Paris-based multi-hyphenate expanding his reach as one of the internet's most relatable travel and culture vloggers.


    Among other endeavors, Dominique has pitched and filmed a TV pilot, is writing a book, and launched a wildly successful, delightful quirky French course, "The French I Wish I Had Learned in French Class,"(Opens in a new tab) with online platform Teachable. Students say he is way easier to learn from than their professors. "They go to class, and then watch my videos to be like, 'Alright, how do I actually do this?'" Dominique laughs, "People want to learn from real people who've done it, that they can relate to and see themselves in. Whether it's me traveling the world, speaking French, or drinking red wine with my friends, I think people see that and think 'If he can do it, I can do it.' And that's pretty motivational."

    "Education is coming from creators," he observes. "The only subscription I pay for is YouTube Premium," Forget Netflix and Prime, "you can learn everything you've ever wanted to on YouTube, and I'm in digital school all day long. My watch history is all over the place: real estate investments, psychotherapy, philosophy reviews and lectures. I like going to the gym and just having somebody's, like, crypto analysis in my ear. The common thread is creators with in-your-face delivery that also say articulate, smart things. They're like, 'You're not helping yourself. Let me help you see it another way.'"

    In his own words, Dominique digs into his internet Watch History and reveals his internet rabbit holes, hobbies, and secret obsessions with Mashable. 

    SEE ALSO: The business of being Victoria Paris: The Tiktokker is on her way to making millions. How did a 22-year-old learn to make that much money?

    Esther Perel

    "Rethinking infidelity... a talk for anyone who has ever loved"

    Esther Perel is all about relationships. She lives in New York, but she's from Belgium and has a French accent. I think that living in a different country gives her more of a well-rounded view. I've watched all of her lectures and TED Talks and every single episode of her couples therapy podcast Where Should We Begin? I like listening to therapists in general, reading their books, and hearing about their clients. It's gotten to the point for me where when I try to watch the Netflix dating shows, I'm like, "Get some emotional intelligence!" I wish emotional intelligence were taught in traditional education just as much as, say, calculus.

    I love this video in particular because all of our first reactions to infidelity is to question, "How could you ever betray our trust?" Like everything's about you! I like grappling with these harsh truths that we don't question or ask ourselves. Like shit, maybe I did kind of push that person away! Maybe they aren't the same person that they used to be when we were first falling in love.

    You can only meet people as deeply as you've met yourself, so if the person you've offered everybody else is the person that you've questioned and poked and prodded and really analyzed why you think the things you do, why you behave the way you do, then it's really like a gift. It's a gift you can offer to other people, knowing yourself.

    Leila Hormozi

    "I paid Grant Cardone $120,000 to coach my husband...what we learned.." 

    Alex and Leila Hormozi popped up on YouTube maybe six months ago, and I'm like their biggest fan. I've traveled the world and you either meet really cool people who are emotionally intelligent, or people who are business savvy. It's very rare that you meet somebody who is both, and I think the Hormozis are both. They've scaled successful businesses, but they aren't arrogant. They know their shit, they want to help people, but also take a no bullshit approach to things. 

    Learning to scale a business was never a goal of mine, it was more like, let me travel the world and be free and create art. But I was freaking shocked at how well my French course did, I was like, wait, I have a scalable business. Maybe I am good at this, and I've never really given myself a chance. My first love was always Spanish. So I'm thinking, “Well, damn, I did a French course and it did really well. What if I did a Spanish course?” And “hey, I speak Portuguese, too.” What if I do a freaking motivation course? I'm just trying to keep shocking myself.

    When I found Leila and Alex, I was like, oh shit, you can be free-spirited, down to earth, a real person but still make some really good money. It inspired me to want to inspire others. They have a company called Acquisition that helps scale businesses and I'm speaking with their team. It's happening! I'm in my Leila Hormozi phase right now, I'm growing.

    SEE ALSO: 9 things we learned from MrBeast's Rolling Stone cover story

    Amber Khan

    "The Fountain Episode 9 of Revolution Ramblings Podcast"

    I love Amber Khan. She says things others are afraid to say in her quick and charismatic New York City style. She lives in Denmark half the year, so she also has this expat angle and knows how another society functions. She's always cussing. I just really like her delivery. I've listened to every single one of her podcasts and they're all about spirituality, pop culture, how the government's good, how the government's bad, Euphoria, it's everything. But she always brings in a philosophical, WTF-are-you-guys-doing angle. In each episode, she calls a group of people out, and I've been called out so many times.

    Amber has some views that are a little out there sometimes, but I think it's important to hear opinions like that. It forces you to continue questioning your own thoughts. I'm of the opinion that we can't know anything for sure so to have firm beliefs about anything is like doing ourselves a disservice.

    For example, right now I am learning about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, all of it because I don't think we can fully commit to one school of thought or religion until we've learned about them all. I'm from Indiana where you're just Christian your entire life, and the one question I always had was, “How do you know you're Christian if you don't know anything about the other religions?” 

    Anyways, this podcast is about waiting at a meeting spot, a fountain, for the right person to come into your life. It's about letting things come to you. Amber says whenever you see a fountain, you should remember that the universe is conspiring for you.

    @DamonDominique's TikTok

    "Don't hate, hesitate"

    As much as I try to figure out what works and what doesn't, I remain shocked at what takes off. I had this thought about how using "um" in another language makes you sound more like a native speaker, so I filmed this TikTok in one take and posted it. It's done super well. I think iIt's a good example of everything I bring to the table: my personality, the accessibility of TikTok and social media as a teaching tool, and my ability to learn and teach others multiple languages through my experience with those languages.

    I think a lot of people see my experience and see themselves in it, and that's a better way to learn than to be stuck in a textbook all the time. I'm not a French person, but I've studied French. I know how the English brain works, and now I know how the French brain works. I know where you're going to get tripped up. That's what I bring to my Teachable course. I can point out the little things like "um," which I've never heard any French teacher say, even though it's the one word we're saying all the time. 

    A YouTuber I was listening to recently said, "People want to hear from real people who've done the thing they're talking about. They don't want to hear from experts. They don't wanna hear from, like, professional businessmen or professors anymore. And I was like, damn, that hit deep! Because that's exactly how I've always run my business. I never tried to act more superior than the next person. I'm like, look, I've made mistakes here and there too, but here's how you can get around them.

    SEE ALSO: The highest-paid female YouTuber is a 7-year-old who earned $28 million in 2021

    Pursuit of Wonder

    "What happens after everything ends?"

    Philosophy is this general term that either scares people or they think is really boring. This channel does a really good job of taking lofty philosophical concepts and boiling them down into mind-bending, trippy animated stories. 

    This video makes you question if our reality is really a simulation, and I think it could be possible. But my question is always the same: What is the point? We're all going through our days doing interviews, going to work, going to dinner when, honestly, the deeper questions of reality are unanswered. They all kind of go over our head, like, what are we doing here?

    There's a philosophy I heard once that essentially says it would be foolish to spend our existence as humans questioning these big ideas that we'll never have an answer to. But even that's kind of ignorant because it's like, how do you know you'll never have the answer?

    I think that's like where I'm trying to get with all of this. I don't know if human is our natural form, or if we're like a spirit alien somewhere else controlling it. But we're here in this experience, and there's so many cool things to see in the world. And I think that's what actually keeps me going when I'm traveling. I want to maintain a curious mindset because, whether this is a simulation or not, we're here on earth as humans. Let's explore the human experience as much as possible. I'll try anything once at this point.

  • What dating may look like in 2021, according to millions of OkCupid users

    What dating may look like in 2021, according to millions of OkCupid users

    2020 is somehow less than two months from being over, but its memory will no doubt reverberate in the years to come.


    This is true for practically every aspect of our lives, and dating is no different. Between the pandemic, the election, and powerful social uprisings, how will this year impact the dating landscape?

    OkCupid tried to answer that question with their first-ever Future of Dating report(Opens in a new tab), which features 2021 trend forecasts based on over 450 million answers to their matching questions. The biggest shifts have to do with politics and "slow" (or at least slower) dating — both topics that have been heavily impacted by what's happened this year.

    Singles want like-minded matches

    Perhaps it's not surprising in such a divisive year, but 64 percent of the more than two million users surveyed said they preferred a date that shares their political views. Furthermore, more users are refusing to date people with opposing political views. In 2020, 60 percent of five million users worldwide said no to the question "Could you date someone who has strong political opinions that are the exact opposite of yours?" — a seven percent jump from last year.

    64 percent of the more than two million users surveyed said they preferred a date that shares their political views.

    Daters care about specific issues as well. The app's new questions about racial equality received over two million responses this year, and nearly that amount of users also believe climate change is real. More than 300,000 users consider themselves activists. "We’re confident this trend of daters looking for fellow advocates will only increase in 2021," the app said in their press release.

    Slower and more virtual than ever

    The pandemic's impact on dating will continue into next year, OkCupid predicts; quarantine also has seemed to change daters' perspectives. Around 840,000 people on the app believe it's important to have an emotional connection before a physical one — an indicator of more intentional "slow dating."(Opens in a new tab)

    people who think you should live together before marriage okcupid survey Credit: okcupid

    Current events also have users opening themselves up to a larger dating pool. For one, more than 1.5 million people said they're open to a long distance relationship. People are also 15 percent more likely to connect with someone of a different religion now than before COVID. Openness to interracial relationships jumped 10 percent during the pandemic as well.

    But we'll also see more shacking up and adventures

    While slow dating may be on the rise, more than 5 million people on OkCupid believe couples should live together before considering marriage. The vast majority of people surveyed this year (89 percent) agreed. "As daters continue to match on what matters, this relationship milestone will come sooner than ever before in 2021," the press release states, "especially as 1 million daters admit they don’t like living alone."

    Being ordered to stay at home has also caused people to...well, want to be outside. Fifty-nine percent of OkCupid daters around the world said the pandemic made them more motivated about future adventures — think hikes and picnics.

    This year has caused us to slow down and reflect, and we're seeing just how much in these trends. We'll have to wait and see if OkCupid's predictions hold true.

    Related Video: What will sex and dating look like after the pandemic?

  • Euphoria star Lukas Gage keeps it classy after a directors insulting Zoom fail

    Euphoria star Lukas Gage keeps it classy after a directors insulting Zoom fail

    You've gotta remember to hit that mute button if you're going to talk trash. (Better yet, maybe just don't talk trash? Especially not this kind of trash.)


    Lukas Gage, a recurring player on HBO's Euphoria, shared a little clip on Friday from a recent Zoom call in which the unnamed "director" he met with made some unprompted comments about the appearance of Gage's apartment. The only problem? The denigrating comments weren't meant for Gage's ears.

    He captioned the video "psa if youre a shit talking director make sure to mute ur shit on zoom mtgings," and his actual response in the moment was the height of class.

    "These poor people live in these tiny apartments," the unnamed speaker says, prompting an immediate bemused, slightly shocked smile from the actor, who realized right away what was happening. Not so for the director.

    "Like I'm looking at his TV and and—" the voice continues, before Gage breaks the ice. "Yeah I'm muted," he says with a slightly pained expression, adding: "I know it's a shitty apartment, that why [you should] give me this job so I can get a better one."

    "Oh my god, I am so, so sorry, Lukas," the director responds in what I can only describe as the flattest of monotones. "I am so sorry. I am mortified." Maybe the director really was sorry (I'm sure he was), but his tone isn't exactly apologetic.

    The lesson for everyone, of course, is to remember how your mute button works during this time when most of us are spending time in remote meetings, and to use it liberally. The added lesson for people who default to making jerky comments like "Look at this poor shlub's apartment!" is... maybe don't do that.

    Whether it's on social media or live and in person, never underestimate your ability to shut the hell up.

  • Twitter is obsessed with Chunky Monkey, the breakout star of the 2021 Puppy Bowl

    Twitter is obsessed with Chunky Monkey, the breakout star of the 2021 Puppy Bowl

    Send the Chiefs and the Buccaneers home; the real winner is Chunky Monkey.


    Ahead of Super Bowl LV, Animal Planet returned with Season 17 of its popular game day programming, aka Puppy Bowl XVII. An annual event that gives spectators a chance to watch some adorable (and adoptable!(Opens in a new tab)) doggos while waiting for kickoff, the Puppy Bowl fetched 1.9 million viewers(Opens in a new tab) in 2020, and once again(Opens in a new tab), found adoptive families for each of its players.

    With 70 puppies from 22 different animal shelters appearing in this year's Puppy Bowl, competition for Internet's New Favorite Dog was, in a word, ruff. But when Chunky Monkey, an unspeakably precious, black-and-white ball of fluff with the face of an angel, pranced onto the field and immediately fell asleep — her opponents were finished.

    Animal Planet described the 15-week-old pup hailing from Green Dogs Unleashed(Opens in a new tab) in Virginia as a Chow Chow, Irish Red, and White Setter mix online(Opens in a new tab), but as a Chow Chow, Maltese, and Shiba Inu mix during the show. Either way, she's a super chill canine with a distinct fondness for napping — a trait that earned her a penalty for excessive slumber during the Puppy Bowl's first quarter.

    Announcers said Chunky Monkey is expected to be 76 pounds, a good size for any dog, but particularly fitting of one seemingly named after a Ben and Jerry's flavor. Oh, and Chunky Monkey's inspiration in life? "Ruth Bader Gins-Bark." Talented! Brilliant! Incredible!(Opens in a new tab)

    Because the Puppy Bowl is pre-taped, Chunky Monkey was able to watch the show from home with her foster mom(Opens in a new tab) Cassandra Asekhauno, who tweeted that Chunky Monkey was enjoying seeing all of her friends on screen.

    Sadly, Chunky Monkey's squad, Team Fluff, lost the game after a stunning comeback from Team Ruff, with a final score of 69-73. But Chunky Monkey's friend Marshall, a seven-month-old Boston Terrier who Chunky Monkey was campaigning for via Asekhauno on Twitter(Opens in a new tab), did clinch the title of Puppy Bowl MVP.

    Now, treats for everybody — and Happy Puppy Bowl Sunday, Chunky Monkey!

  • Get the Future fitness app and a real-life trainer will kick your butt into shape

    Get the Future fitness app and a real-life trainer will kick your butt into shape

    The following content is brought to you by Mashable partners. If you buy a product featured here, we may earn an affiliate commission or other compensation.


    If the most action your yoga pants are seeing these days is your daily dog walk around the block, we get it. It’s been a hard year, and finding the motivation to work out has been even harder. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had someone to help push us back into some sort of a fitness routine? Future(Opens in a new tab) has an app for that.

    While most fitness apps create streaming workouts for the masses, Future is different because it assigns you an actual human trainer who builds a personalized workout based on your exercise habits and goals. Your trainer messages you throughout the day to keep you inspired and make sure you stick with it, which is a much-needed perk for many of us. Future also sends you an Apple Watch(Opens in a new tab) so that your trainer can track your activity and make sure that you’re really doing the exercises and not just saying that you are. Whether that last idea excites you or scares you — it works.

    Join now(Opens in a new tab) and you’ll get your first month for just $19, and then it’s $149 a month after that. Considering just one session with a personal trainer can cost the same amount as an entire month with your Future trainer, that’s a pretty sweet deal. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.

    Pick an expert coach

    Credit: Future

    After you sign up(Opens in a new tab), you’ll answer some questions about your fitness goals and pick from a list of expert trainers matched to your needs. You’ll do a 15-minute video chat with your trainer to make sure they’re “the one” and hammer out the details of your workout plan.

    Sweat on your time

    Credit: future

    After you get your Apple Watch with your refundable deposit, your trainer will send you a week’s worth of personalized daily routines and voice-cued video instructions. Work out when you want. Your trainer gets your data and pushes you — or gives you kudos.

    Track your progress, tweak, repeat

    Credit: future

    You’ll be prompted to give feedback so that you’re more apt to like your workouts, see results, and stay motivated. This level of personalization — and prodding — might be just what we all need right about now.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Future
    Join Future today and you'll get your first month for just $19 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Mia Khalifa is now a TikTok star, and she loves it

    Mia Khalifa is now a TikTok star, and she loves it

    This week was a whirlwind for Mia Khalifa. Not only did she undergo rhinoplasty(Opens in a new tab) surgery, but for a few hours, the internet thought she died(Opens in a new tab).


    Fortunately Khalifa is very much alive, and the former pornstar and current sports commentator has found a new, welcoming world online: TikTok.

    @miakhalifa(Opens in a new tab)

    ##duet(Opens in a new tab) with @iisabellabello 👁👄👁 I have a family. And they were on tiktok this whole time 🥺♥️

    ♬ original sound - .92hrss(Opens in a new tab)

    "I've never really enjoyed social media," said Khalifa in an interview with Mashable. Prior to TikTok, she made a point to treat social media like her job and only followed friends and what she was interested in — and muted everyone else. Up until this week, she had her Instagram comments turned off.

    "It was awful," she said of the Instagram hate. "It really affected me, even if I put a brave face forward to the public." She said it also impacted her relationship with her husband, who read the comments as well.

    TikTok, however, is different. "As soon as I joined TikTok I found this whole new world where I can actually read the comments, and not feel like I should have them turned off," said Khalifa, "and actually want to engage with the people commenting… they feel like my friends."

    SEE ALSO: Paying for porn should be the post-pandemic 'new normal'

    Khalifa is more used to internet vitriol than support. While her stint in porn lasted only a few months in 2014 and 2015, her videos sparked controversy due to her wearing a hijab(Opens in a new tab). (Khalifa is Lebanese and was raised Christian(Opens in a new tab).) The outrage just made Khalifa more famous, and by late December 2014, the then-21-year-old was the top pornstar on Pornhub(Opens in a new tab).

    She swiftly left the industry in early 2015 but was still a "sensation" on Pornhub(Opens in a new tab) three years later — and not getting paid for it. Khalifa has received just $12,000(Opens in a new tab) for videos that now have views in the hundreds of millions.

    Khalifa has since been public about her experience in the industry, not just about lack of compensation but also being coerced into signing unfavorable contracts and putting on the hijab for her scenes:

    She's also been vocal about post-traumatic stress and shame. "It kicks in mostly when I go out in public," she said in the above BBC interview. "The stares I get, I feel like people can see through my clothes."

    While the true extent of the horrors committed in the mainstream porn industry isn't yet clear, more information has been unearthed in recent years. In 2019, for example, owners and employees of now-defunct site GirlsDoPorn were charged with criminal sex trafficking(Opens in a new tab) when 22 women said they coerced and lied to in order to produce their porn. Earlier this year, the women won the case(Opens in a new tab) — and the owners had to pay them almost $13 million.

    That's not to mention offenses such as stealing content and uploading without consent or compensation for the sex workers, as porn director Erika Lust mentioned in her interview with Mashable earlier this month.

    Khalifa herself has zero ownership over her domain name and videos, which is why they remain up to this day. When she told the site owners she'd pay for it, they told her they'd "compromise" by sharing "some" revenue if she made more videos for them, Khalifa said in an interview with Hero Magazine(Opens in a new tab).

    She even made a TikTok expressing how difficult it is to get a billion dollar conglomerate(Opens in a new tab) to take down her videos and another one about her ongoing trauma(Opens in a new tab).

    Khalifa is still revealing upsetting events that occurred during her brief time in porn, such as a shoot where a photographer claimed to be from Vogue and subsequently groped her:

    On top of malicious comments about her porn scenes themselves, Khalifa also receives hate for vilifying the industry, sometimes even from mainstream porn stars themselves(Opens in a new tab). That doesn't stop her, however. One particular comment she made about not entering the film industry went viral on Twitter:

    "I definitely want women to think about it before they jump in," Khalifa said of her warnings.

    "I feel like women in the industry tend to kind of glorify it, and it's incredible and I'm so thankful that that is their experience," she continued, "but I think that they need to be responsible and remember that they're the outlier, they're the exception not the rule."

    In addition to her newfound TikTok fame, Khalifa also made an appearance on the Hulu show Ramy. In a fictionalized version of herself, Khalifa muses about how Muslim countries consume the most porn(Opens in a new tab), so the men yelling at her may be the same ones watching her.

    Khalifa initially received a cold email about being on the show. "I thought it was fake at first," she said, "because I completely devoured the first season in one day." She made producers send her a photo holding a spoon and a newspaper with the date to prove their legitimacy.

    "He [Ramy Youssef] was so nice and really interested in getting my sentiments across," Khalifa said, "Basically just letting me have a place to tell my story because he doesn't agree with the way I've been treated."

    "He gave me a voice and a platform and it really resonated and I'm so thankful for that," Khalifa said of Youssef.

    That appearance, too, went viral on Twitter:

    Despite the increase in support, she still receives vicious comments. If you look at Khalifa's Twitter feed, for example, she receives regular hate, including from current pornstars who say she's "stigmatizing" the industry(Opens in a new tab).

    "The performers who do have large platforms project the industry," she said. "Until that changes, girls are going to keep going down the same path I do where they regret it a few years down the road — or even a few months down the road — and I don't want anyone else to go through that."

    Khalifa said, "It's heartbreaking and it's completely life shattering and I'm so thankful that I was able to pick up the pieces and make a life for myself, but not everyone can unfortunately."

    "This has been six years of just kind of sticking through the hate"

    She said there's now enough voices of positivity and love on Instagram to drown out the negative, which is why she turned comments on; she's also expressed her gratitude for support on Twitter(Opens in a new tab).

    "This has been six years of just kind of sticking through the hate and hoping, hoping one day that enough people will understand that I'm not the person that the world thinks I am," she said, "and I'm just completely speechless and I love every single person who supports."

    Not only are people offering messages of support for Khalifa, they also want to help her. On Wednesday, a petition called Justice For Mia Khalifa(Opens in a new tab) was created, and by Thursday it had received over 18,000 signatures. TikTokers are also calling for justice(Opens in a new tab), while Twitter stans vow(Opens in a new tab) to unite Gen Z and K-pop fandom to destroy Pornhub.

    Just as Khalifa found a welcoming community on TikTok, perhaps she'll one day see reclamation of her name and work thanks to that community. For now, she's ready to continue fighting.

    "I have so much peace and confidence now in my fight because of them," said Khalifa, "and I'm very grateful."

  • Ivanka Trump tells jobless Americans to Find Something New, reinvents Let them eat cake

    Ivanka Trump tells jobless Americans to Find Something New, reinvents Let them eat cake

    Ivanka Trump — first daughter, heiress, White House adviser, and person who has worked for her father nearly her entire adult life(Opens in a new tab) — put out some serious let them eat cake vibes with her new initiative centered on the slogan "Find Something New."


    While "let them eat cake" was most likely not actually uttered (Opens in a new tab)by Marie Antoinette, the eldest Trump daughter 100 percent, really did release the new slogan amid an awful economy and global pandemic that has been woefully mismanaged in the United States.

    The Find Something New initiative(Opens in a new tab) is apparently aimed at helping job-seekers find a new career path. Unemployment is, after all, at 11.1 percent(Opens in a new tab).

    "This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job," Trump herself wrote on Twitter. "This work has never been more urgent."

    Of course, urging Americans to #FindSomethingNew while the country is shut down, medical bills are piling up(Opens in a new tab), and companies are going out of business(Opens in a new tab) left and right feels... callous... to lots of people. It's tough to think it's simple to find something new as more than 135,000 Americans have died(Opens in a new tab) from COVID-19 and infections are at an all-time high.

    So, it makes sense the internet's reaction to Trump's new slogan wasn't exactly warm.

  • 9 horny emoji from iOS 14.2 to upgrade your sexting game (and 1 to avoid)

    9 horny emoji from iOS 14.2 to upgrade your sexting game (and 1 to avoid)

    It's that time of year again.


    It's no coincidence that the emoji update tends to land right in the middle of Scorpio season, the thirstiest time of year. Everyone knows that there is nothing you can type that conveys the timbre of your thirst like a well-selected emoji. (Or a poorly selected one, for that matter, but let's not talk about all the ones with tongues while we're trying to keep things sexy.)

    So let us give thanks for the newest crop(Opens in a new tab) of tiny pictures that mean things, because some of the things that they can mean are sex things! With a little imagination, almost any emoji can have horny overtones — but these are the contenders who deserve a shot next time you're shooting yours.

    Everyone in a tux

    woman in tux emoji Credit: emojipedia

    Literally everyone looks hot in a tuxedo. Girls, guys, people who are neither of those things. Everyone. And with the updated, gender-inclusive tux emoji, that's who can wear one in Emojiland. Text this to me and I'm on my way to take it off you.

    "Pinched fingers"

    pinch fisting emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    While this will certainly serve its purpose in a number of "chef's kiss" and Italian-accented-emphasis formulations, this is also the official emoji of fisting(Opens in a new tab). I don't make the rules. I'm just letting you know.

    People hugging

    people hugging emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    There's no aphrodisiac like a social taboo, and hugging has been very much off the cards for most of this year. Look at that arm placement. That looks like a REALLY good hug. I'm seeing solid chest pressing, and there are only three visible hands. WHERE IS THE FOURTH HAND? I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

    Plus, these blue-skinned people are clearly naked. This is absolute filth. Shocked it got past the Unicode Consortium.

    This saucy seal

    seal emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    "Oh, hello! I didn't see you there. I was just hanging out naked, as seals do, one coy flipper draped artfully across my curves, my mischievous expression both open and yet suggestive of a delicious secret. Anyway. u up?"


    fondue emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    Two forks, one cup. It's well past time for fondue to become sexy again, but to me, there's already nothing sexier than a big bowl of liquid cheese.

    Also, when else are you going to use this?


    wood emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    If you need me to explain this to you, you are too young to be sexting.


    rock emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    Again, not hard to figure out.


    knot rope emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    One for the shibari enthusiasts out there — or anyone looking to dabble in a little rope play.


    bucket emoji Credit: EMOJIPEDIA

    We already have a mop, and we all know what those are for.



    Look, you can. But you shouldn't.

  • Dont fall for the productivity aesthetic. Its a scam.

    Dont fall for the productivity aesthetic. Its a scam.

    To morph into That Girl, there are a few things you must do. You should drink no less than three beverages in the morning, including but not limited to a matcha tea latte, hot lemon water, and a healthy smoothie. You need to work out before 9 a.m., preferably in a matching set. It would be best if you had a multi-step skincare routine that costs anywhere between $100 and $1,000. Then, the housekeeping: journaling, reading, meditating, and making your bed before you start the workday. In the evenings, That Girl goes through it all again: beverages, skincare, reading, and making a beautifully plated meal. And don't forget to document this routine online for accountability.


    It might seem like this is a trend that lifts users toward self-betterment. But in reality, it's a tired, recycled aesthetic devised to turn us into the Best Workers we can be.

    What are online aesthetics?

    Aesthetics have existed for millennia(Opens in a new tab). Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Socrates, and Xenophon all debated the ways art and beauty interact. Thousands of years later, their efforts were the basis for discussions led by philosophers like Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, who defined aesthetics as a younger sister of logic, and Arthur Schopenhauer, who argued that aesthetics should never be intertwined with politics or it would ruin the point of beauty. One of the most relevant descriptions of aesthetics was penned by Oscar Wilde, who wrote,(Opens in a new tab) "Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful," and said that(Opens in a new tab) "by beautifying the outward aspects of life, one would beautify the inner ones."

    Wilde's description of aesthetics might help us understand the drive behind collecting knickknacks and displaying them around our home, thoughtfully crafting flower arrangements in our kitchens, or curating a private art collection. But as the internet and social media took hold of society, this definition of aesthetics has morphed yet again, referring to how a subculture looks, posts, and feels online. In 2021, Vogue's Sarah Spellings wrote that aesthetic(Opens in a new tab) "has evolved from an academic word and something utilized by artists and auteurs to something to categorize our own identities by. It can mean both personal style and a vague stand-in for beauty." That same year, The Atlantic's Kaitlin Tiffany(Opens in a new tab) wrote that the word had been entirely "divorced from its academic origins" after being thrust into the mainstream by Tumblr users in the early days of the platform. People use it as an adjective now, saying "that's so aesthetic," which actually means "that is aesthetically pleasing to me," Tiffany points out. "In broader internet parlance, it now means a collection of signifiers or, more precisely, a 'vibe.'"

    Because of the cyclical nature of the internet, anything can be a "new" aesthetic. For instance, consider the clean girl aesthetic(Opens in a new tab), which originally appeared on Black and brown women in the 1990s and included slicked-back buns, gold hoops, and glowing, hydrated skin. Recently, it's been co-opted by white women like Hailey Bieber, and stands as an example of the biggest problems with so many of the most popular aesthetics online today: Instead of deepening the public's understanding of an artistic movement, as aesthetics are meant to do, social media has pushed them to mostly become tired, racist, and classist capitalist ploys(Opens in a new tab)

    One of the most popular — and insidious — of these online aesthetics is a subculture of a variety of "productivity aesthetics." And they happen to be total scams. 

    What are productivity aesthetics?

    Online aesthetics dedicated to self-improvement run the gamut of controlling the diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene, and attitude of the people who post within them. People take gym selfies and write about #CleanEating(Opens in a new tab) and being #BuiltDifferent(Opens in a new tab); they spend hours in the office after work because they're a #Feminist(Opens in a new tab) #GirlBoss(Opens in a new tab); or they devote their entire online selves to strive for perfection in the name of becoming #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab)

    Each of these different variations of productivity aesthetics push people to improve themselves for their own well-being in spite of a society that burns us out. By doing so, they're actually pushing people to better maintain the capitalist status quo of society. That’s the scam part: The aesthetic trend actually serves the very society that has burned us out.

    Some of the habits these productivity aesthetics push users to emulate actually are good for you. Eating well and exercising and journaling and meditation have all been proven to be effective forms of self-care. But doing so with the intention of increasing your productivity will only lead you deeper into the hole you're trying to dig yourself out of. And attempting to replicate the performative aesthetics of creators who promote aspirational lifestyles that are often not attainable can take a toll on the mental health of users and consumers, with detrimental effects on our psyches.

    The aesthetic trend actually serves the very society that has burned us out.

    In Wellness TikTok: Morning Routines, Eating Well, and Getting Ready to Be "That Girl,"(Opens in a new tab) author Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero argues that this form of aspirational content "ascribes to white supremacist views of beauty and productivity by idealizing the 'look' of wellness as that of a woman who is laboring at all times — for her job and for her body — and who is young, white or white-passing, thin, able-bodied, cisgender, and whose gender performance abides by heteronormative expectations of femininity." 

    TikTok user @c.a.i.t.l.y.n did a Marxist reading of That Girl and 5 to 9(Opens in a new tab) — a trend in which influencers detail the work they do in the hours before and after their jobs — at their online height. She references David Harvey's book, A Companion to Marx's Capital, which says that time is a social construct molded in relation to the work week, and points out that these trends are built around productivity and "maximizing your potential as both a worker and a consumer under capitalism." 

    "[Think] about the ways that we use our time, even outside of the workplace, to serve the purposes of the workplace [and to prepare] ourselves to be better performers when we are at work,” she adds, pointing to how we try to optimize our commutes and work preparation by listening to podcasts about our jobs or reviewing work on our way home. "We have developed aesthetics and trends around producing productivity."

    Stephanie Alice Baker, a senior lecturer in sociology at the City University of London, told Mashable that this isn't a new approach to self-betterment.

    "The technologies change, the technologies evolve, but there is still this underlying impulse towards self-improvement, and it is always self-improvement in relation to the system in which it operates as opposed to an isolated individual trying to be their best self," Baker said.

    Because of its intrinsic connection to our society, productivity aesthetics seem to be primarily heralded by the people who have the time, money, and ability to set their life up in an aesthetically pleasing productive way: upper-class white people. But they don't always appear to discriminate against gender.

    Gendered elements of productivity aesthetics

    The results you get from searching #discipline on Instagram and searching #5to9 are virtually the exact same with one exception — men flood the discipline hashtag with videos of their workouts, while women flood the 5to9 hashtag with their own. Same thing, different label.

    Baker has done some research(Opens in a new tab) on gender display on Instagram, focusing on the fit fam aesthetic (in which users post muscled gym photos and inspirational quotes) and the clean eating culture online. She found that since it's not as culturally acceptable to admit to wanting to lose weight, these accounts are instead framed in terms of health and wellness. And, through her work, she’s discovered that the performances on Instagram around diet culture were "predominantly male."

    "I think on the surface, most people would presume this is a very female aesthetic," Baker told Mashable. "But actually what we found in that research is that predominantly the people who were using these clean eating hashtags and having the most popular posts were actually males. And it was just a different aesthetic. It was much more framed in this muscular male health orientation."

    Who is "That Girl?"

    But when we look at productivity aesthetics, there is one that’s inherently gendered: the That Girl aesthetic. That Girl is a person who works out, journals, reads, cleans, and eats a healthy meal before their day job even begins. There are more than 7.1 billion views on the #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on TikTok and over 838,000 posts under the #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on Instagram. The That Girl aesthetic been universally criticized for promoting hustle culture, fatphobia, classism, and general toxicity. But even as That Girl dissolves, it won't entirely disappear: It will reappear as the same ethos wrapped up in an entirely new package. 

    Society is always looking for ways to encourage people to perfect themselves. Before we had That Girl, we had the Girl Boss era(Opens in a new tab). Long before we had the Girl Boss era, we had the 1861 classic Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton(Opens in a new tab). We are in a perpetual cycle of girl boss-ification, now reshaped as productivity aesthetics online. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.

    "As long as what we find valuable — like expendable labor — is the constant that's underlying what we find beautiful, then things aren't going to look too different from each other, even though the tiny applications are different," Hannah Kim, a professor of philosophy at Macalester College and member of the American Society for Aesthetics, told Mashable. We'll do anything to be better at our jobs, including changing the way we look(Opens in a new tab), talk(Opens in a new tab), and lead our lives.

    Baker adds that these goals may "seem like very much individual pursuits" but tend to actually rely on "the broader system in which they're operating," be that capitalism or the patriarchy. The That Girl aesthetic hinges itself upon self-betterment. Multiple videos describing how to be That Girl revolve around doing things that work specifically for you and your life — as long as the end goal is congruent with the life That Girl has. It lacks all individuality. And that may be by design.

    "Aesthetics isn't just an individual thing, it's a societally embedded signaling, even for It Girls. An It Girl would be nothing if it weren't for all the people who want to be her. It needs that embedding, and it's reliant on that," Kim said.

    Why now?

    There is something specific about our time and place in the world that makes these productivity aesthetics such incredibly insidious scams. The wealth gap is deepening(Opens in a new tab), a recession is looming(Opens in a new tab), and we're lonelier than ever(Opens in a new tab), which forces us to seek community wherever we can find it.

    There has been a massive shift in how Americans commune together over the past few decades. Membership has been steadily falling in everything from church groups and school associations to labor unions and Greek organizations, according to a 2019 congressional report(Opens in a new tab). The Joint Economic Committee report found that membership rates in some organizations fell from 75 percent in 1974 to 62 percent in 2004.

    "When you don't have these religious structures, which are guiding you and defining who you ought to be, what ends up happening is people still seek meaning," Baker said. "You still need somebody to give them this sense of purpose. And so this is where you often find a lot of celebrities or influencers filling this void."

    Moreover, aesthetic trends online tend to morph at a quicker pace than they do in real life, in part because aesthetics reach people faster than ever before. Girl Boss was replaced by That Girl. That Girl is being replaced by the 9-to-5 girlies. We are in a perpetual cycle of productivity aesthetics.

    "As more and more people get access to the same idea, they're going to have quicker pushbacks or quicker developments or quicker add-ons," Kim said. "So I'm not surprised at all that, especially for a platform with such heavy users like TikTok, these aesthetics would be constantly changing."

    Arlie Hochschild, a writer who coined the phrase "second shift" to refer to the household and childcare duties that people (primarily women) shoulder before and after the workday, also spoke about how our relationship to our own representation of self affects our actual sense of self. She says(Opens in a new tab) the more we work on ourselves to become comfortable with representing an emotion we think we ought to feel, the more inauthentic the emotions we are trying to embody become. Ultimately, we find ourselves getting further away from our real selves.

    The answer here isn't to stop doing things that make you feel good, but perhaps to be more aware of why you're doing them. Are you journaling in order to emulate an online trend and post it on Instagram Stories, or are you journaling because it makes you feel better and more connected to yourself? Awareness over our actions is needed when we're constantly being pulled into a world not of our own creation, but one fueled by the will of tech companies and capitalism, pushing a productivity aesthetic that’s not actually productive. 

  • Where are some Republican Congress members getting their news? From far-right users on Twitter.

    Where are some Republican Congress members getting their news? From far-right users on Twitter.

    Mike Cernovich is a far-right personality who has claimed(Opens in a new tab) that “date rape does not exist(Opens in a new tab).” His misogynistic writings catapulted him to fame within the anti-feminist men’s rights movement and GamerGate, a 2014 movement which harassed women in the gaming industry.


    Cernovich later became a high-profile supporter of Donald Trump and a major promoter(Opens in a new tab) of the #PizzaGate conspiracy, which falsely claimed a child sex trafficking ring was being run in the nonexistent basement of a Washington DC pizza place popular with Democratic politicians.

    Freshman Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) goes to Cernovich for her news updates.

    This insight into Boebert’s news intake as well as the media consumption of all 535 Members of Congress comes courtesy of a new study by Ground News(Opens in a new tab), a digital media outlet that compares news stories for political bias.

    The study was conducted with the company’s new tool, Blindspotter(Opens in a new tab). The Blindspotter algorithm analyzes a Twitter account’s tweets, likes, retweets and replies in order to figure out the account holder’s news diet and the ideological bias that news slant produces. The tool provides a Twitter user’s top three sources for news and three “news influencers” they regularly interact with. As of today, the Blindspotter tool is now available for anyone to use.

    “At a time when Congress is more ideologically divided than ever, the study reveals the media feedback loops deepening those divisions,” said Ground News CEO and co-founder Harleen Kaur in a statement provided to Mashable. “It appears that highly partisan news sources are playing an influential role in shaping the opinions of the lawmakers whose policies affect the lives of millions of Americans.”

    While Boebert’s news bias profile(Opens in a new tab) leans fairly right — along with Cernovich, she interacts with the NRA and Donald Trump’s now-suspended account the most — she’s by no means the member of Congress with the most right-leaning news diet on Twitter.

    That distinction goes to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the freshman Congresswoman with a history of promoting misinformation related to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.

    Related Video: How to recognize and avoid fake news

    According to the Ground News study, Rep. Greene’s top sources for news(Opens in a new tab) consist of right-wing outlets such as Breitbart, Washington Times, and Fox News. She regularly interacts with Big League Politics, a far-right outlet that regularly spreads falsehoods(Opens in a new tab) and misinformation(Opens in a new tab). Greene also gets her news on Twitter from OANN anchor Jack Posobiec, who has been tied(Opens in a new tab) to neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups.

    There are many other interesting findings from the study as well. For example, one of Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) top news sources(Opens in a new tab) on Twitter is Not The Bee, a conservative outlet run by the satirical right-wing website The Babylon Bee.

    Another example is Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who the study found is influenced(Opens in a new tab) by the Twitter account @ThomasSowell. However, the account does not belong to the Black conservative thinker Sowell himself. It's run by a user that describes themselves as "not Thomas Sowell, but I own all of his books and tweet quotes from them" in their Twitter bio. (Interestingly, Rep. Crenshaw has a fairly balanced news diet on Twitter, taking in sources from right, left, and center).

    The study also includes news bias which exists on the other side of the aisle as well.

    However, the bias on the Democratic side of the aisle tends to lie within more respectable news organizations. For example, Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) frequent sources(Opens in a new tab) for news on Twitter are CNN, The Washington Post, and progressive YouTube channel The Young Turks. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Opens in a new tab) (D-NY) gets her news from the New York Times, a variety of NBC News reporters, and The Intercept.

    As Ground News CEO Kaur previously told me, the organization's hope is that its online tools help users pop their filter bubble and consume a news diet consisting of a variety of sources across the ideological spectrum.