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Is the TikTok trend dead?

2023-03-19 06:15:04

Is the TikTok trend dead?

When TikTok first permeated the mainstream in March 2020 people, myself included, flocked to the platform for entertainment during a dismal time.

Is the TikTok trend dead?(图1)

But we weren't just mindlessly consuming content; we were posting it too. You could fill up an entire afternoon by learning the dance to "Renegade" or "Say So." Most of the people that populated our FYPs were nobodies who the algorithm had blessed with a viral hit (notable exceptions include TikTok influencers like Charli D'Amelio, Addison Rae, and Lil Huddy — young people who built massive followings while participating in dance challenges(Opens in a new tab) on the app).

SEE ALSO: On TikTok, everyone is starring in their own TV show

Then, the app started to evolve. Dance videos became less frequent visitors to our FYPs — though, they never really died — and instead a whole new host of trends started to fill the void. Every week, there was a new trend or hit audio that users applied to their own lives in highly relatable ways. There was the little lad who loves berries and cream and the proliferation of "Jiggle Jiggle," and let's not forgot how the entire internet was "bored in the house (in the house bored)" in 2020.

These days, TikTok doesn't need random people to participate in trends in order to create content. There's an entire class of creators occupying every imaginable niche, from pop culture analysis to medical myth-busting. Previously, a TikTok trend could reach every corner of the global platform. Whether it was a dance or a popular sound, everyone from every community joined in. So, why does it all feel so different now? The days when a singular trend was inescapable on the app are long over, wiped out by an ecosystem — and a culture — that's becoming increasingly more esoteric.

Users follow creators, not trends. And oftentimes those creators dictate the kind of experience you have on the app. That individual creator branding has, in part, killed the ubiquity of the trend. It's never been easier to stay inside of your own TikTok bubble.

It also doesn't help that the app itself has made some recent changes that make it harder to engage with content. For example, now TikTok notifies users when someone views their profile and favorites their videos, which has discouraged users from favoriting and lurking on regular users pages.

TikTok has also become clogged with recycled memes from other platforms, thanks to its photo mode that allows users to post photo dumps of up to 35 photos. This new feature helped popularize something like the Fletcher meme that was all over Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and TikTok simultaneously, relying on the repetition of images rather than users acting out trends in front of the camera. This made it almost indiscernible from memes on other platforms.

There are still trends that break through, but it's no longer the "trend of the week" experience that once populated the app (and trend reporting). Taylor Swift fans dominated the app with Midnights dances and trends, and House of the Dragon star Emma D'Arcy's pronunciation of "negroni sbagliato" consumed the internet for weeks. Major pop culture moments, like Midnights, are repackaged into trends through clever fan marketing, but now they rely on users directly engaging with the content, rather than being completely divorced from the context of the original video. It's unlikely that @mikael.arellano(Opens in a new tab)'s viral dance to Swift's "Bejeweled" would be performed on the app by anyone who doesn't brand themselves as a Swiftie on the platform.

At the beginning of the pandemic, TikTok felt like a community of people participating in trends to get through the day. It was a communal experience. Now, those communities have splintered, creating something more personal. It was bound to happen. Niche creators are making content for their devoted audiences, not for the mainstream — there's no money in that.

Still, I miss seeing everyone's goofy interpretation of a trend. But most of all, I miss clicking on their page and realizing they're just another average TikTok user like me.

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    The report also notes the recently announced Oppo Watch — a smartwatch running Google's WearOS that essentially looks like an Apple Watch clone — could be a sign that OnePlus is actually going through with this. The reason being that, while OnePlus and Oppo remain separate, both share a parent company in BBK Electronics.

    Whether the "OnePlus Watch" will look similar to the Oppo Watch (and, well, the Apple Watch) is unclear. However, it's worth noting that if OnePlus does follow through with a 2020 launch, it'll have a lot of competition.

    In addition to the anticipated Apple Watch Series 6, Fitbit recently announced its fall lineup of wearables — including the Fitbit Sense, which packs some complex sensors built specifically for stress management. There's also the new Amazon Halo, which keeps track of extensive metrics like body fat percentage and even the tone of your voice.

    If OnePlus does launch a smartwatch in 2020, we can't help but wonder if it'll have what it takes to keep from being overshadowed by all the other options currently out there. But we'll need to know some specs before any kind of determination can be made.

  • Earlier this month we got a glimpse of some highly commended entries from the Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, but there's another like-minded competition that's a little cheekier: the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.


    Founded by Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam and supported by wildlife conservation nonprofit The Born Free Foundation, the competition selects a collection of finalists from a host of images snapped across the globe, all of which capture nature at its most ridiculous.

    Winners will be announced on Oct. 22, and you can even vote for your favourite on the website(Opens in a new tab).

    SEE ALSO: These wildlife photography finalists will take your breath away

    From bird-flipping turtles to smiley fish, here are the gloriously anthropomorphised finalists with their titles provided by the photographers...

    'Boredom.' Credit: Marcus Westberg / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2020
    'Wait up Mommy, look what I got for you!' Credit: Kunal Gupta / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Terry the Turtle flipping the bird.' Credit: Mark Fitzpatrick / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'I am champion.' Credit: Ramesh Letchmanan / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'I've got you this time!' Credit: Olin Rogers / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Fun for all ages.' Credit: Thomas Vijayan / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'I had to stay late at work.' Credit: Luis Burgueño / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'No penguins under here!' Credit: Pearl Kasparian / comedy wildlife photos 2020
    'Laughing hippo.' Credit: Manoj Shah / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Socially uninhibited.' Credit: Martin Grace Kendal / comedy wildlife photo awars 2020
    'Faceplant.' Credit: Tim Hearn / comedy wildlife photos 2020
    'Peekaboo.' Credit: JAGDEEP RAJPUT / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Having a laugh.' Credit: Ken Crossan / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'I think this tire's gonna be flat.' Credit: Kay Kotzian / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Macaque striking a pose.' Credit: luis martí / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Just chillin'.' Credit: Jill Neff / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Covid hair!' Credit: Gail Bisson / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Like mother like daughter.' Credit: JAGDEEP RAJPUT / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'It's a mocking bird!' Credit: Sally Lloyd-Jones / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    It's the last day of school holidays.' Credit: Max Teo / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Almost time to get up.' Credit: Charlie Davidson / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Seriously, would you share some? ' Credit: Krisztina Scheeff / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'The inside joke.' Credit: Femke van Willigen / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Sun salutation.' Credit: Sue Hollis / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Crashing into the picture.' Credit: Brigitte Alcalay-Marcon / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Monkey business.' Credit: Megan Lorenz / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    Quiet, please...' Credit: mike lessel / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Spreading the wildlife gossip.' Credit: Bernhard Esterer / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'The race.' Credit: Yevhen Samuchenko / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'We all have that friend.' Credit: yarin klein / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Social distance, please!' Credit: Petr Sochman / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Tough negotiations.' Credit: ayala fishaimer / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Hide and seek.' Credit: tim hearn / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'O sole mio.' Credit: Kranitz Roland / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'How can I fly?' Credit: Nader Alshammari / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'So hot.' Credit: wei ping / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Lamentation!' Credit: poulard jacques / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Abracadabra!' Credit: Vicki Jauron / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Surprise smiles.' Credit: Asaf Sereth / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Tern turning its wings.' Credit: daniele d'ermo / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'Smiley.' Credit: arthur telle thiemann / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020
    'I could puke.' Credit: Christina Holfelder / comedy wildlife photo awards 2020

    The winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020 will be announced on Oct. 22.

Random articles


  • Hey Elon, please just take my Twitter checkmark away

    Hey Elon, please just take my Twitter checkmark away

    The fun’s over, folks.


    I’ve had a verified checkmark on Twitter for approximately six years. Theoretically, it’s because I’m a journalist. In reality, it’s because you used to be able to openly apply for one, and I did that while I was just an intern at another website. I didn’t expect to get it, but I did, and I’ve been laughing about it ever since.

    In the aftermath of Elon Musk’s takeover of the bird site, I don’t want the stupid thing anymore. Whatever meaning it may have once had (if not for me, then for other people), it’s been rendered meaningless by Musk’s hare-brained new policies. 

    SEE ALSO: Can an $8 Twitter subscription bail out Elon Musk? Let's look at the numbers.

    Even if I initially got it as a joke, having a checkmark now makes you the punchline. I don’t want any part of that. 

    Man without a plan

    In case you’ve been living under a rock (or you just don’t use Twitter, in which case I commend you), one of Musk’s early initiatives as owner of the site has been to “democratize” the blue checkmark. He did so by allowing anyone to get one if they paid $8/mo for a Twitter Blue subscription. 

    Because nothing is as democratic as gating access to something behind a paywall, I guess.

    Anyway, the net result has been nothing short of disastrous. Musk apparently went into this without any sort of plan, so accounts that already had checkmarks like major public figures or institutions instead got a little “Official” badge on their page. This is, of course, very dumb, and produced outcomes like Kanye West having an “Official” badge while Joe Biden didn’t. 

    Musk killed that within a day.

    Then, as everyone on the site predicted, people started paying $8 for a checkmark, changing their avatars and display names to mirror those of major media figures or companies, and posting fake news or vulgar content. Again, anyone could’ve seen that coming. 

    Not a status symbol

    The core problem with all of this, something that Musk doesn’t seem to understand despite spending a lot of time on Twitter, is that the checkmark was never meant to be a status symbol. It was simply meant to denote that someone is who they say they are. By making it as simple as spending $8 to get one (with no ID verification), he’s rendered it completely meaningless.

    And maybe it was always meaningless to an extent. After all, in my own case, it was a bit from the beginning. People have also been using other methods (emojis that sort of look like the checkmark at a glance, for example) to impersonate big accounts for years. The system has always been subvertible, but now subverting it is part of the business plan.

    If that’s the case, I want out. It’s not clear when, or if, already-verified people like me who elect not to pay will lose their checkmarks, but I’d like for it to happen ASAP. Elon, buddy, if you’re reading this: Take that little badge off of Twitter user @Yelix’s page. It’s no longer of any use to me.

    If I continue to have a checkmark, it’ll only result in derision and ridicule (beyond what I already get for my terrible posts) because people will think I’ve paid for it. It doesn’t matter that you can hover over the badge to see if someone paid for it or not; people on Twitter don’t even read news stories before commenting on them. That’s a useless dead end.

    If the equation for verification is "people who are important or people who pay money," I no longer qualify for either. I’m just a guy who filled out a form in 2016, thinking it wouldn’t go anywhere. And I’m fully aware that I can do it myself by changing my @ handle, but I don’t want to do it that way. I want it taken from me. I want to be a martyr for the cause. 

    Let’s make it happen, my guy. I'm ready to be a man of the people again.

  • Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 6

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 6

    It's Sunday once again, and it's also tough Quordle day.


    If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

    What is Quordle?

    Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

    Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

    Yes, though not diabolically so.

    Where did Quordle come from?

    Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30(Opens in a new tab). Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab) six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue(Opens in a new tab) from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

    How is Quordle pronounced?

    “Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

    Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

    Yes and no.

    Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

    After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

    What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

    Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

    Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

    Is there a way to get the answer faster?

    In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

    Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand(Opens in a new tab) suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

    Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

    If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

    Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

    One word has a letter that occurs twice.

    Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?

    J is pretty rare, and that's in there.

    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    J, R, T, and S.

    What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

    Are you sure you want to know?

    There’s still time to turn back.

    OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

    1. JOINT

    2. REFIT

    3. TESTY

    4. STEIN

  • How a pregnant Ukrainian Instagram influencer was used in a Russian disinformation campaign

    How a pregnant Ukrainian Instagram influencer was used in a Russian disinformation campaign

    On March 9, Russian forces struck a maternity and children's hospital(Opens in a new tab) in Mariupol, Ukraine, leaving three dead at the scene and over a dozen injured.


    Many were horrified by the photos and videos of the aftermath. One photo, in particular, of an injured pregnant woman being carried out on a stretcher captured the sheer brutality of the bombing for everyone watching around the world. The young woman seen in the photo and her unborn child died(Opens in a new tab) later that day, as doctors attempted to save their lives, adding to the death toll.

    However, in the hours after the bombing, Russian propaganda claiming that both the photos and deadly bombing itself were staged started to spread online. And a young pregnant Ukrainian woman was caught in the middle.

    Credit: Evgeniy Maloletka / AP / Shutterstock

    Marianna Vishegirskaya, one of many injured pregnant women at the decimated Mariupol hospital was targeted by a Russian disinformation campaign that tried – and ultimately failed – to flip the blame and attempt to disprove the reality of the deadly attack. Vishegirskaya was likely targeted because she's a popular internet personality in Ukraine, known as @gixie_beauty(Opens in a new tab) on Instagram. Her work was used as false pretext to cast her in the role of 'crisis actor,' a classic Russian propaganda tactic that has also been despicably used by far-right groups and conspiracy theorists(Opens in a new tab) in the U.S. – like when victims of mass shootings (Sandy Hook, Parkland) were falsely accused of being paid actors(Opens in a new tab)

    Vishegirskaya can be seen walking through the rubble in photos taken at the scene after the hospital bombing. But the reason she is there is quite clear to anyone who looks at the photos on her Instagram account, which were posted before Russia began its war in Ukraine. Vishegirskaya is clearly pregnant(Opens in a new tab) and was at the maternity hospital as a patient.

    Days after the bombing Vishegirskaya gave birth(Opens in a new tab) to a healthy baby girl(Opens in a new tab).

    The disinformation appears to have originated from a Russian Telegram channel called "Signal," which has half a million subscribers on the platform. It is likely that this disinformation campaign was coordinated by the Russian government. A paid propaganda campaign was recently uncovered by Vice(Opens in a new tab), for example, showing how influential Russian TikTok personalities were being paid to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda about the war.

    "Signal uncovered the girl who photographers photographed in the wreckage of the maternity hospital in Mariupol," reads the Telegram message as translated by the independent Russian news outlet, Meduza(Opens in a new tab). "She turned out to be a model and a popular beauty blogger in Mariupol. Her name is Marianna Podgurskaya…The same model appeared in all three scenes."

    The Podgurskaya referenced by the channel is Vishegirskaya's maiden name.

    The Telegram post asserted that the hospital was evacuated and the photos were staged. Two specific photos from the bombing scene, one showing an injured pregnant woman on a stretcher and one with a pregnant woman walking through the rubble, were included with the post. They were set side-by-side with photos from Vishegirskaya's Instagram account. The Signal channel identified Vishegirskaya as the woman in both photos.

    Not long after, these falsehoods about Vishegirskaya and the Mariupol maternity hospital were spread far and wide by official Russian state and diplomatic accounts.

    The Russian Embassy in the UK tweeted a number of times, claiming that Vishegirskaya played two different women photographed at the hospital. Interestingly, the Russian Embassy also referenced Vishegirskaya by her maiden name, Podgurskaya.

    "She actually played roles of both pregnant women on the photos," tweeted(Opens in a new tab) the Russian Embassy, repeating the crisis actor falsehoods about Vishegirskaya portraying multiple pregnant women and going on to reference her Instagram account.

    Twitter later removed(Opens in a new tab) the Russian Embassy's lies for violating the platform's misinformation policies.

    Pro-Russia social media personalities also helped spread the conspiracy theory online.

    "Regarding pregnant women, who allegedly survived in the maternity house targeted by Russia," tweeted Maria Dubovikova, known as @politblogme on Twitter, sharing pro-Kremlin propaganda. "The Ukrainian fake factory masters used the model Marianna from Mariupol…She played two different pregnant women at once."

    The false claim was further spread when Dubovikova's tweet was shared(Opens in a new tab) by Maajid Nawaz, a former British radio show host, who recently gained prominence after appearing on Joe Rogan's podcast where he discussed COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

    Twitter removed Dubovikova's tweet for disinformation shortly after it was posted as well.

    It didn't take long, however, for the conspiracy about the pregnant Instagram blogger to gain traction across(Opens in a new tab) the internet. Instagram users who believed the misinformation even started to leave harassing(Opens in a new tab) comments on Vishegirskaya's Instagram photos based on the crisis actor lies.

    The images that came out of the March 9 bombing(Opens in a new tab) in Mariupol have been some of the most horrific yet during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photos and videos that were being passed around on platforms like Telegram — the very same platform where the disinformation originated from — actually showed the gruesomely real injuries that never made it onto mainstream media outlets.

    SEE ALSO: What Russians should keep in mind when using Telegram

    Marianna Vishegirskaya was indeed at the maternity hospital in Mariupol when it was targeted by a Russian airstrike. The pregnant woman, now a mother, can be seen in photos walking on foot through the rubble. She survived and gave birth to a daughter in the days after the bombing. A completely different pregnant woman is viewed in the photo from the hospital bombing, injured and being stretchered out. Sadly, multiple news outlets have confirmed(Opens in a new tab) with doctors on the scene that the unidentified woman on the stretcher did not survive. Neither did her unborn child.

    This particular Russian disinformation campaign failed to change the narrative thanks to the quick actions taken by journalists, fact checkers, and social media activists. However, propaganda about Russia's war in Ukraine continues to be disseminated online.

  • From wired headphones to yoga pants, here are 10 trends Gen Z brought back in 2021

    From wired headphones to yoga pants, here are 10 trends Gen Z brought back in 2021

    For young people, 2021 was a year of Y2K fashion and vintage tech nostalgia.


    Gen Z did what young people do best: pick the most iconic accessories and trends of the past and bring them back into style. Forgotten fashion moments like yoga pants and claw clips came to the forefront of pop culture this year thanks to TikTok, a platform that allows cyclical style trends to proliferate and become mainstream again.

    With a little help from Emma Chamberlain, Olivia Rodrigo, and an unwavering nostalgia for simpler times, Gen Z brought back a slew of iconic tech and fashion accessories... much to the collective dismay of Millennials.

    Here are my favorite things Gen Z brought back:

    1. Wired headphones

    A cheaper and cooler alternative to AirPods, wired headphones are the latest go-to tech accessory for style influencers. Although they largely became obsolete after AirPods came onto the scene in 2016, they had their comeback in 2021. Pioneered by "It" girls like Lily Rose Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Bella Hadid, and the Olsen twins, wired headphones exude a studied carelessness and have a nostalgic charm. They've become so synonymous with fashion "It" girls that there's an entire Instagram account (@wireditgirls(Opens in a new tab)) dedicated to documenting "hot girls with wired headphones."

    SEE ALSO: Why Gen Z is plugging in wired headphones and tuning out AirPods

    2. Yoga pants

    Or should I say "flared leggings." Yoga pants were the athleisure pant of choice in the '90s and early 2000s(Opens in a new tab), but fell out of fashion in the 2010s. Leggings and sweats emerged in place of yoga pants, but thanks to YouTuber and Gen Z fashion guru Emma Chamberlain, yoga pants are back. Now they've been rebranded as "flared leggings," but it's the same thing. Chamberlain styles her yoga pants with big crewneck sweatshirts and statement sunglasses, or dresses them up with Doc Martens and a turtleneck — and her loyal fans are following her lead.

    3. Flip phones

    Don't flip, but flip phone aesthetics are back. Credit: Casetify

    Between TikTokkers encouraging young people to ditch their iPhones, trendy iPhone cases made to look like flip phones, and anti-social media Gen Z icons like Lorde, flip phones are making a comeback. Young people are attracted to both the Y2K aesthetics of flip phones, as well as what they represent: an alternate way of living that doesn't involve seven-plus hours behind a screen.

    SEE ALSO: Is Gen Z bringing flip phones back?

    4. Uggs

    If yoga pants are back, you already know Uggs are too. They're a package deal. Emma Chamberlain also championed the return of Uggs. Chamberlain wore Ugg slippers in her "every outfit she wears in a week" video for Vogue(Opens in a new tab) and even titled (Opens in a new tab)one of her October vlogs(Opens in a new tab), "ugg season." Chamberlain wasn't the only fashion icon spotted in Uggs this year. In January, models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski stepped out in mini Uggs(Opens in a new tab), and in April, Gigi Hadid was photographed in the iconic tall Uggs.

    5. Emoji

    Gen Z has embraced using emoji... ironically. Rather than using emojis in the cringey Millennial way, like overusing 😂, Gen Z has carved out their own digital language. They've repurposed 😭 and 💀 to mean laughing and embraced Apple's newer less-established emoji. Additionally, young people are using Millennial coded emoji satirically and I'm finding it pretty funny.

    SEE ALSO: Emoji helped me find my voice in our new remote reality

    6. Butterflies

    Mariah Carey in the now viral butterfly top in 2000. Credit: Getty Images / STAN HONDA

    Butterflies are classic symbols of the Y2K era, and boy did they come back this year. Emanuel Ungaro's iconic wrap-around butterfly top(Opens in a new tab) that Mariah Carey famously wore in 2000 had the internet in a chokehold more than two decades later. Dupes of the legendary top popped up all over digital marketplaces, and it was a staple of fashion TikTok. But the obsession with butterflies didn't end there, Olivia Rodrigo embraced the trend by releasing a phone case with Casetify covered in butterflies, and she even wore the sequin-covered top(Opens in a new tab) for a magazine shoot. Not to mention, baby butterfly hair clips had their moment.

    7. Camcorders

    Like wired headphones and flip phones, camcorders are vintage tech from the not-so-distant past that Gen Z embraced this year. YouTubers like Chamberlain used camcorders from the '90s to document their lives on the platform, giving their videos a nostalgic feel. Olivia Rodrigo even used a camcorder to film her "get ready for the Met Gala with me" video for Vogue(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab)'s YouTube channel(Opens in a new tab). Like flip phones, camcorders are not just relics of the past — they evoke a mood that modern tech just can't replicate.

    SEE ALSO: Why YouTubers are using vintage camcorders to feel something

    8. Baguettes

    Kenall Jenner with a baguette in tow. Credit: Getty Images / Gotham

    Gen Z is nothing if not consistent. Sticking with the early 2000s nostalgia sweeping the internet, the aughts bag of choice, the baguette, is back in vogue. Baguettes are bags so small that they nestle just under your armpit if you wear them slung over your shoulder. Baguettes have been worming their way back into style since 2019(Opens in a new tab), and this year anyone who is anyone was spotted with a tiny bag in tow.

    9. Claw clips

    Arguably the most practical accessory Gen Z resurrected this year, claw clips were all the rage for young people looking to keep their hair out of their faces while still looking fashionable. Like wired headphones, claw clips have an effortless cool-girl factor that made them the "It" accessory on TikTok. Claw clips were inescapable on the app, working their way into outfit of the days, hot girl tote bag videos, and hot girl bedside table videos. Plus, there are just so many options when it comes to claw clips. Do you want a boxy, neon claw? A classic acrylic? A chic matte-colored claw? The options are endless.

    10. Pop-punk

    This list wouldn't be complete without a nod to the music Gen Z bumped this year. Olivia Rodrigo, WILLOW, and Machine Gun Kelly all released music this year inspired by pop-punk, which speaks to the angst we all felt in 2021. Who can blame them? It is brutal out there.

    SEE ALSO: 2021 revived pop-punk. It makes perfect sense.

  • The internet isnt happy with Spotifys new design

    The internet isnt happy with Spotifys new design

    Listen, TikTok is great and all, but not everything needs to be TikTok. Here's looking at you, Spotify.

    As Mashable's Elena Cavender covered, Spotify is rolling out a new home feed that features small snippets of vertical video that take over the entire screen. Basically, it's a version of TikTok's FYP. The new feature from Spotify has left lots of folks asking something quite simple: Why?

    Spotify is a music streaming app and a wildly popular one, at that. Is there really any demand for it to morph into TikTok? Does anyone want to open the app and endlessly scroll through snippets of music videos and podcasts? Or do we want to — hear me out — listen to music in a convenient manner.

    Lots of people online openly questioned this decision from Spotify.

    Spotify, by most any metric — well, besides actually getting money in the hands of artists(Opens in a new tab) — is a beloved and popular music streaming app. People go bonkers sharing their listening habits on Spotify at the end of each year. Taste in music is so personal, and Spotify has done a good job of feeding people the music they love. I suppose you could argue that the new feed is aimed at making folks become more engaged and help them find new music. But Spotify's algorithm already does a nice job of suggesting songs. It feels like a pivot to video, a way to force more eyeballs on your app and battle TikTok, which has a chokehold on the music industry.


    Of course, other apps like Instagram have tried to battle TikTok and flopped in the process. It's quite hard to duplicate the algorithm of TikTok. Nobody was clamoring for Spotify's version of an FYP. But you're going to get it, nonetheless.

  • The Super Bowl halftime show had the internet feeling intense nostalgia

    The Super Bowl halftime show had the internet feeling intense nostalgia

    The Super Bowl LVI halftime show was a nostalgia bomb for Millennials and Gen Xers. The internet was loving it — while also grappling with the fact that we're old, now.


    The show featured a whole bevy of performers associated with Dr. Dre, who produced the show, including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. So of course, when 50 came out and performed "In Da Club," or Dre did "California Love," or Eminem did the opening bars of "Forgot About Dre," people of a certain age were hit over the head with nostalgia for the 2000s. And OH GOD, the nostalgia from the keys on "Still Dre." We're boomers now, folks.

    The tweets, memes, and reactions rolled in with people both loving the songs and feeling old as hell.

    In general the halftime show was fun and stylish. You got just enough of each performer's catalogue without having to see, let's say, Eminem, dig into his more recent work. You got Kendrick at the peak of his powers, Dre leading the show, Snoop Dogg just...being Snoop Dogg.

    The reviews overall were solid, since the viewing audience for the NFL these days probably has super strong memories of the music in question.

    Just goes to show you, nostalgia is a powerful tool.

  • Uh oh, the internet is thirsting over Chris Evans again

    Uh oh, the internet is thirsting over Chris Evans again

    Remember the infamous Chris Evans Sweater incident? It was sparked by none other than former Mashable senior editor Nicole Gallucci and Decider's Anna Menta(Opens in a new tab) (both of whom are friends, hello friends!). It was a moment of seemingly endless internet thirst for Evans, simply for donning an (admittedly good-looking) sweater in the film Knives Out.


    Well, guess what, folks, the internet is swooning over Evans once again. Sure this isn't an uncommon thing. Evans is a handsome guy and he's charming and famous and all those other things. He's got America's ass(Opens in a new tab), after all. But folks are really losing it over a specific clip online. It's feeling very sweater-esque. Here's the clip in question, which took place at an event for Disney's new Buzz Lightyear movie.

    We need to fully investigate what's going on here. Evans grew out a killer mustache to star in Netflix's upcoming film The Gray Man. He seems to be talking about that mustache with an interviewer. But good lord his charm is turned up to 11. The Boston accent, which you don't always hear in Evans, is almost sultry? How the fuck did this man make a Boston accent sultry? It's uncool and unfair to jabronis like me with an unholy Delaware accent that mashes together all the worst parts of Philly and Baltimore.

    Anyway, Evans, fully bearded, in sunglasses and a resplendent, silky, orange shirt, is laying it on thick. "Whaddayou pruhfah: mustache or no mustache, be awnest," he asks the interviewer, dishing out a slick smile.

    Anyway, the internet lost its collective mind thirsting over this moment. There were fan edits.

    And great reaction memes and jokes, most of which are frankly too graphic to share but that's impressive in its own right.

    If you were curious, Access uploaded a longer version of the interview clip on YouTube.

    The interviewer, in this longer clip, admits he thought the mustachioed Evans looked like trouble. But Evans himself made a little joke about liking the facial hair.

    "I mean look, it's embarrassing to say, but it grew on me," he said. "That's a little pun. But I started to really like the mustache, I did."

    Damn, what a charming freaking answer. Evans, you did it again.

    Anyway, this is not yet even close to a Sweater-Level Event but the internet is definitely...let's say... excited about Chris Evans online again.

  • Todays top deals include an HP Envy x360 2-in-1, 75-inch Amazon Omni Series TV, Showtime subscriptio

    Todays top deals include an HP Envy x360 2-in-1, 75-inch Amazon Omni Series TV, Showtime subscriptions, and more

    We've rounded up the best deals we could find on Dec. 15 — here are our top picks:

    • BEST STREAMING DEAL: Showtime(Opens in a new tab)$3.99/month $10.99/month (save $65.94) for 6 months + 30 days for free

    • BEST TV DEAL: Amazon Fire TV 75-inch Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) — $499.99 $1,099.99 (save $600)

    • BEST SUBSCRIPTION DEAL: Playstation+ subscriptions(Opens in a new tab)starting at $29.99 (save up to 50%) for your first year

    • BEST COMPUTER DEAL: HP Envy x360 13.3-inch Touch-Screen 2-in-1 Laptop (Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$649.99 $1,049.99 (save $400) + 6 free months of Webroot Internet Security with Antivirus Protection

    • BEST LAST-MINUTE GIFT DEAL: Nixplay 10.1 inch Touch Screen Smart Digital Picture Frame(Opens in a new tab)$111.99 $159.99 (save $48)

    With only 10 more days until Christmas, it's crunch time. If you haven't secured gifts for everyone on your list, don't panic. There are still lots of deals you can grab, thanks to Best Buy's 20 Days of Deals, Amazon's Very Merry Deals(Opens in a new tab) event, and more.

    We've done the grunt work of rounding up all the best deals we could find on Dec. 15. Just remember to check on the shipping date to see if the gift will arrive in time for the big day. Our advice? Don't delay — grab a deal when you see it. It might not be available the next day, or even by nighttime. Keep on scrolling to check out the best deals of the day on Dec. 15.

    Best streaming deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Showtime
    Our pick: Showtime (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $3.99/month (save $65.94) for 6 months + 30 days for free
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    If you're looking for new content to binge-watch, Showtime has some excellent original shows (Yellowjackets, Billions, Shameless, Kidding, etc.) and you can secure seven months of streaming for an incredibly good deal. Through Jan. 4, Showtime is giving new subscribers their first month for free, then six consecutive months for only $3.99 per month (rather than the usual $10.99 per month). That ends up saving you about $53 in streaming fees. Before those seven months are up, you can choose to pay full price and keep your subscription going or cancel it with no repercussions.

    More streaming and subscription deals

    • Apple Music(Opens in a new tab) free $10.99/month (save $43.96) for four months

    • Apple TV+(Opens in a new tab)free $6.99/month (save $20.97) for three months

    • Audible(Opens in a new tab)$5.95/month $14.95/month (save $36) for four months

    • DoorDash DashPass(Opens in a new tab)$59 $96 (save $37) for your first year

    • Paramount+ Essential(Opens in a new tab) — $24.99 $49.99 (save $25) for your first year

    • Playstation+(Opens in a new tab)starting at $29.99 (save up to 50%) for your first year

    • Paramount+ Premium(Opens in a new tab) — $49.99 $99.99 (save $50) for your first year

    • Paramount+ and Showtime Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $119.99 (save $60) for your first year

    • Showtime(Opens in a new tab)$3.99/month $10.99/month (save $65.94) for six months

    • Sling TV(Opens in a new tab)$30 $40 (save $10) for your first month + free Amazon Fire TV Stick

    • Starz(Opens in a new tab)$3/month $8.99/month (save $17.97) for three months

    • Vudu(Opens in a new tab)save 30% on your first purchase or rental

    • YouTube TV(Opens in a new tab)$54.99/month $64.99/month (save $139.98) for your first three months

    Best TV deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Amazon
    Our pick: Amazon Fire TV 75-inch Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $499.99 at Best Buy (save $600)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    If you or someone on your list is in the market for a new TV, the 75-inch Amazon Fire Omni TV is currently $600 off its retail price, making it a hard deal to beat. The Omni offers a truly cinematic experience at home with 4K Ultra HD images, Dolby Vision, Dolby Digital Plus, and HDR10. Not to mention, the Fire TV system adds new Alexa skills, features, and smart home capabilities regularly, so it's ever-evolving. Snag it on sale at Best Buy for only $499.99 and get three free months of Apple TV+, four free months of Amazon Music Unlimited, and 30 free days of FuboTV to kick off your new entertainment suite.

    More TV deals

    • onn. 24-inch HD LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$88 $138 (save $50)

    • onn. 32-inch HD LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) $108 $144 (save $36)

    • TCL 32-inch 3 Series HD LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) $118 $148 (save $30)

    • Hisense 58-inch R6 Series 4K UHD LED LCD Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) $298 $338 (save $40)

    • LG 50-inch UQ75 Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $379.99 (save $80)

    • LG 65-inch B2 Series 4K UHD OLED Web OS Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)$1,249 $2,299.99 (save $1,050.99)

    • Sony 75-inch XR75X95J BRAVIA XR Full Array LED 4K Ultra HD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,298 $1,598 (save $300)

    • Samsung 55-inch QN90B Neo QLED 4K Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,299.99 $1,699.99 (save $400) + a free Xbox controller and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

    • Sony 75-inch Bravia XR X90K Series 4K TV Bundle with HT-A3000 Dolby Atmos Soundbar(Opens in a new tab)$1,699.99 $1,996 (save $296.01)

    • Sony 65-inch Bravia XR A80K Series 4K TV Bundle with HT-A3000 Dolby Atmos Soundbar(Opens in a new tab)$1,889.99 $2,196 (save $306.01)

    • Samsung 65-inch QN900B Neo QLED 8K Smart TV (Opens in a new tab) $3,299.99 $4,799.99 (save $1,500) + a free Xbox controller and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

    Best computer deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: HP
    Our pick: HP Envy x360 13.3-inch Touch-Screen 2-in-1 Laptop (Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $649.99 at Best Buy (save $400) + 6 free months of Webroot Internet Security with Antivirus
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    One of our top picks for a 2-in-1 laptop, the HP Envy x360 rivals other hybrids that are way above its price range. It packs a lot of power, thanks to its Intel Iris Xe graphics, 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and 8GB RAM. Plus, this particular configuration gives you all the space you need to store your files, photos, and beyond. When you grab it at Best Buy, you'll not only save $400, but you'll also get six free months of Webroot Internet Security with Antivirus. For comparison purposes, it's currently sitting at about $148 more at Amazon.

    More computer, tablet, and monitor deals

    • Gateway Notebook 15.6-inch FHD Laptop (AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab) — $229 $399 (save $170)

    • Samsung 27-inch Odyssey G40B FHD IPS 240Hz 1ms G-Sync Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$234.99 $399.99 (save $165)

    • 2021 10.2-Inch iPad (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$279.99 $329.99 (save $50)

    • Acer 15.6-inch Aspire Vero Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) with Vero Sleeve(Opens in a new tab)$489.99 $699.99 (save $210)

    • HP Victus 15L Gaming Desktop PC (AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, AMD RX6400, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$499 $749 (save $250)

    • 2022 10.9-Inch iPad Air (5th Generation) (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $599.99 (save $100)

    • 2020 MacBook Air (M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$799 $999 (save $200)

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (Qualcomm Snapdragon 8, 12GB RAM, 256GB SSD) with S-Pen(Opens in a new tab)$849.99 $1,199.99 (save $350) + six free months of Norton 360 Deluxe and three free months YouTube Premium

    • 2021 12.9-Inch iPad Pro (5th Generation) with WiFi (M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)$899.99 $1,199.99 (save $300) + three free months of Apple TV+, four free months of Apple Music and Apple News+

    • Apple 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display (Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,699.99 $2,299.99 (save $600) + three free months of Apple TV+, four free months of Apple Music and Apple News+

    Amazon device deals

    • Echo Dot (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $39.99 (save $25) + free Echo Dot with code FREEDOT22

    • Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$27.99 $64.98 (save $36.99)

    • Blink Mini (2-pack)(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $64.99 (save $35)

    • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $84.99 (save $50)

    • Echo Show 5 Kids (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $94.99 (save $55)

    • Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $74.98 (save $34.99)

    • 2022 Fire Kids 7 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $109.99 (save $50)

    • Echo (4th Gen) with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $114.98 (save $54.99)

    • Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $129.99 (save $60)

    • Echo Buds (2nd Gen) + Echo Dot (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $159.97 (save $89.98)

    • 2022 Fire Kids 8 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $149.99 (save $60)

    Headphone deals

    • onn. Bluetooth True Wireless Headphones(Opens in a new tab)$29.88 $49.88 (save $20)

    • Beats Studio Buds(Opens in a new tab)$89.95 $149.95 (save $60)

    • Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Sport Headphones(Opens in a new tab)$139.95 $179.95 (save $40)

    • Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds(Opens in a new tab) — $149.95 $249.95 (save $100)

    • Sony WF-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Earbuds(Opens in a new tab)$178 $279.99 (save $101.99) + 4 free months of Amazon Music Unlimited

    Home deals

    • AeroGarden Indoor Gardening Kits(Opens in a new tab)starting at $12.50 (save up to 51%)

    • Shark UltraLight Pet Corded Handheld Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$49 $99 (save $50)

    • Ninja Programmable XL 14-Cup Coffee Maker(Opens in a new tab) $59 $89 (save $30)

    • SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker, with bubly drops(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $149.99 (save $60)

    • Eufy 25C(opens in a new tab)$96 $249.99 (save $147.99)

    • Eufy Clean G32 Pro(Opens in a new tab)$98 $299.99 (save $201.99)

    • Ember Temperature Control Smart Mugs(Opens in a new tab)$119.95 $149.95 (save $30)

    • (图1)

      SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker Bundle with CO2, BPA-free Bottles, and Bubly drops(Opens in a new tab) — $124.99 $189.99 (save $65)

    • iRobot Roomba 676(Opens in a new tab)$169 $269.99 (save $100.99)

    • iRobot Roomba 694(Opens in a new tab)$179 $274 (save $95)

    • Dyson V7 Advanced Origin Cordless Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) — $299.99 $399.99 (save $100)

    • Dyson V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) — $399.99 $599.99 (save $200)

    • Samsung Jet 75 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $649.99 (save $250)

    • Dyson Ball Animal 3 Complete(Opens in a new tab)$449.99 $549.99 (save $100)

    • Dyson V12 Detect Slim(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $649.99 (save $150) (read our thoughts here)

    • Roborock S7+(Opens in a new tab)$679.98 $949.98 (save $269.99 with coupon)

    Even more deals

    • Osmo Educational Kits and Games(Opens in a new tab)starting at $13.99 (save up to 65%)

    • Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab) — $89 $129 (save $40)

    • Govee Dreamview TV Backlights and Light Bar with Camera for 55- to 65-inch TVs(Opens in a new tab)$104.99 $149.99 (save $45)

    • Nixplay 10.1 inch Touch Screen Smart Digital Picture Frame(Opens in a new tab)$111.99 $159.99 (save $48)

    • Hover-1 Ranger Electric Self-Balancing Scooter(Opens in a new tab)$139.99 $199.99 (save $60)

    • Echelon Connect Sport-S Indoor Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$297 $799 (save $502)

    • Segway Ninebot D40X Electric Kick Scooter(Opens in a new tab)$549.99 $849.99 (save $300)

  • ‘Exercise’ your right to end waste with Adidas

    ‘Exercise’ your right to end waste with Adidas

    Working out is great for your mental and physical health, from heading into a morning meeting feeling energized to running off the stress of the day. When it comes to the gear you choose to train, there are ways to make what’s good for you, better for the planet. Self-care and caring for the planet can be on equal footing.

    Taking strides for the environment, Adidas is helping consumers End Plastic Waste(Opens in a new tab) by making their products and processes more sustainable. They’re swapping out virgin materials for recycled ones, creating products that can be remade, and working more closely with nature for inspiration.

    Here’s a look at how Adidas is running in the right circles for sustainability.

    Turning ocean plastic into polyester


    Credit: Adidas

    Polyester is the most widely used fiber in the world because it’s durable, versatile, and lightweight, but virgin polyester is not sustainable. The upside? It can be made from recycled plastic and other more planet-friendly alternatives. By 2024, Adidas(Opens in a new tab) is switching to recycled polyester wherever possible. Putting this into action already, they use high-performance yarn made from 50% ocean plastic and 50% recycled polyester. Ocean plastic looks terrible on a beach — but great on your feet as sneakers(Opens in a new tab).

    Reducing used apparel in landfills


    Credit: Adidas

    With apparel and footwear designed to feel comfortable down to your soles(Opens in a new tab), now your soul can feel good, too. Adidas is finding new life for worn-out products. Once you’ve had your full run with a product, instead of tossing it in the garbage, scan the Made to Be Remade(Opens in a new tab) QR code and send it back to Adidas. They’ll turn your used gear into recycled articles of clothing or shoes sending less waste to landfills. In fashion, the hottest trends always come back.

    Racing toward carbon neutrality


    Credit: Adidas

    In moving toward having 90% of their products contain a sustainable material by 2025, Adidas has hit some impressive milestones, including creating the world’s lowest carbon footprint running shoe back in 2021 with 63% less emissions. The possibilities to End Plastic Waste are here now, whether it’s joining a beach cleanup with Parley(Opens in a new tab), Adidas’ partner for repurposing ocean plastic, or buying products made with sustainable fibers(Opens in a new tab). Let’s get moving!

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Adidas
    End plastic waste with Adidas (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    Explore collection
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Bottoming TikTok: Meet the creators educating the internet about anal sex

    Bottoming TikTok: Meet the creators educating the internet about anal sex

    Anal sex, especially when you’re bottoming, can feel like a game of Russian roulette.


    Actually, the same can be said for all kinds of sex. Our guard is down and really, we're at our most vulnerable: we're naked, turned on, eager to please, and there's a risk that whatever we're doing just won't work. But for a bottom — the person in the receptive role during anal sex — the stakes feel higher, with a lot of us left feeling like we're groping around in the dark (both literally and figuratively).

    How painful is it going to be? Should I not eat before? For how long? What if I have an 'accident'? These are the questions bottoms have asked themselves (or googled on the sly) at one point. Many of us have had to rely on trial and error over the years to figure out best practice — that is, until now. TikTok has become the hub for bottoms wanting to learn more about anal sex, how to enjoy it, and most importantly, how to practise it safely. But this begs an even bigger question: why were we never taught about it?

    In the UK, the answer lies within the decades-long erasure of LGBTQ people from school curricula, and most notably the implementation of Section 28(Opens in a new tab) in 1988. The legislation, enacted by Margaret Thatcher’s government to "prohibit the promotion of homosexuality"(Opens in a new tab) by local councils, banned the positive depiction of LGBTQ identities and relationships in classrooms, libraries, and extracurricular clubs for 15 years until it was repealed in 2003. However Lisa Hallgarten, head of policy and affairs at Brook(Opens in a new tab), a charity specialising in the sexual health and wellbeing of young people in the UK, says the problem didn’t end there.

    "Section 28 not only created a complete silencing at the time but for years afterwards," she explains. Hallgarten argues the legislation's legacy has left today's teachers still feeling anxious to talk about LGBTQ sex. "They're much more comfortable talking about heteronormative forms of sex because it's focused on reproduction," she says. "They're not trained to talk about pleasure or any other form of sex different couples might have."

    "I’m a gay man and a butt doctor, and there’s this huge lack of anal sex education out there."

    Dr Carlton Thomas(Opens in a new tab) made his first TikTok about bottoming in the summer of 2020. As the coronavirus pandemic escalated around the world, TikTok was busy taking over the lives of his teenage children at home in San Diego. A gastroenterologist for 17 years, the 49-year-old saw an opportunity amongst the Megan Thee Stallion dance routines(Opens in a new tab) and banana bread recipes (remember those?) to share his expertise. "I'm a gay man and a butt doctor, and there's this huge lack of anal sex education out there," he says. "Who better to teach it than someone with professional and personal experience of how things work?"

    Since then, he’s amassed nearly 250,000 followers on Gen Z’s favourite platform by covering a range of anal sex-related topics — from advice on how to avoid bleeding(Opens in a new tab), douching (his most popular video, a guide to using store-bought enemas(Opens in a new tab), has 1.6 million views), kegel exercises(Opens in a new tab), tips for maximum pleasure as well as information about HIV prevention(Opens in a new tab)

    Citing the absence of gay sex education from his own childhood as the motivation behind starting the account, Thomas tells me that throughout medical school and his gastrointestinal doctor training, anal sex was never mentioned. "I had a lot of questions, so I did my own research to get the answers," he says. The success of his videos, which regularly receive tens of thousands of likes, confirms that others around the world have been searching for these answers too. "People want to know how to do anal sex right, how to do it well, and how to do it safely," he explains.

    But Thomas isn't the only face of TikTok’s bottom positivity movement. Alex Hall, a 29-year-old graphic designer, was living in New York when he came up with the idea of The Bottom’s Digest(Opens in a new tab), a cooking channel sharing "bottom-friendly" recipes inspired by the Texan and Cajun cuisine he was brought up on. The rising cost of meat in the city paired with Hall's growing sensitivity to dairy led him to a mostly plant-based diet, which he says provides a number of benefits for bottoming. "What we eat is such a big part of how our sex is going to go," he tells me. 

    Now living in Texas and running the account with his husband Mike, Hall has spent years searching far and wide for the best (or should I say cleanest) bottoming fuel. "What I did find would be so obvious...a salad. I hate salad!" he exclaims. "Sex and food are two of life's great pleasures and our community really deprives themselves of one to enjoy the other, and we shouldn't." Whether it's alfredo pasta(Opens in a new tab), mac and cheese(Opens in a new tab), or meatballs(Opens in a new tab), Hall's comfort food recipes are high in fiber and low in FODMAP (short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — essentially sugars that can cause intestinal distress), which makes them perfect for bottoms eager to avoid bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. 

    SEE ALSO: Can TikTok tell when you've had your heart broken?

    Daniel O’Shaughnessy, nutritionist and author of Naked Nutrition: An LGBTQ+ Guide to Diet and Lifestyle(Opens in a new tab), notes that the perfect bottoming diet varies by individual. "As a general rule a bottom needs fiber when it comes to anal sex," he says. He advises increasing fiber intake slowly to avoid excess wind and to avoid insoluble fibers (which can be high in FODMAP, think cauliflower, legumes, and some whole grains) at least 24 hours before the big moment. O’Shaughnessy's other recommendations for bottoming nutrition include fermented foods (such as kimchi and kombucha) for improved gut health, avoiding dairy products, and chewing food properly for digestion.

    Hall tests his bottom-friendly recipes himself, then runs them past a group of 10 drag queens. 24 hours later, the queens report back about whether they felt bloated, and if they did bottom, how it went. "So many people have had heartache trying to find information like this so it’s important these recipes actually work," he adds.

    Aside from the occasional troll, the response to both accounts has been overwhelmingly positive. Thomas' followers regularly credit him with revolutionising their sex lives in his comments, but he says the real impact of his videos can be found in his DMs. Gay men living in countries where homosexuality is illegal — and sometimes where it's punishable by death, like in Saudi Arabia and Iran — message him "at least once a week" for advice.

    The bottom community on TikTok isn't exclusively for gay men, either. For Hall, cis and trans women make up almost half of his following. But whenever our society talks about sex, it’s heterosexual, penis-in-vagina sex that has always been the default: it’s compulsory to teach in schools, we read about it in the advice columns of magazines and websites, it's what we read about in erotic novels, and watch (or awkwardly avoid watching when accompanied by family) in our favourite TV shows and films. The only representation we really see of anal sex onscreen is when it's relegated to cheap homophobic jokes.

    Thankfully, the tide appears to be turning. TikTok’s bottoming hashtag(Opens in a new tab) has over 10.4 million views and is brimming with honest experiences and advice from bottoms all over the world. Accounts like Thomas' and The Bottom's Digest are normalising these once shame-ridden conversations while providing an education to bottoms who can't find information in more conventional places. 

    But these creators, for all their hard work, are facing censorship from TikTok itself. While the platform bans videos featuring nudity and sexually explicit content, creators across the field are having their content removed and their reach suppressed for even mentioning the word 'sex' in their TikToks, despite the platform’s community guidelines(Opens in a new tab) stating that educational content is an exception to the rules. Thomas says he has to be selective with what he posts, often resorting to codewords and innuendos in his videos to avoid being censored.

    SEE ALSO: Why is TikTok removing sex ed videos?

    This censorship is problematic, says Hallgarten from Brook, especially for the people whose only access to information about sex is through social media. She's curious about the criteria TikTok uses for judging and removing videos, and whether expert organisations have been involved in the process. "The way they approach sex needs to be more nuanced and there has to be a clear set of values that underpin the decisions being made," she says. When it comes to sex ed videos that haven't been removed from the platform, Hallgarten urges users to check how the information they see on TikTok compares to that of trusted sources like Brook. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it's that misinformation on social media is rife. Hallgarten suggests platforms could easily add a box to videos featuring sex content directing users to expert organisations, like TikTok and other platforms have (eventually) done with mentions of the coronavirus.

    A spokesperson for TikTok said that users can appeal the platform's decisions to remove their content or suspend their accounts if they believe no violation of the community guidelines has occurred. They also noted that TikTok's content moderation practice is detailed in the quarterly enforcement reports(Opens in a new tab) it publishes. But while these reports gloat statistics, for example that 90 percent of videos flagged for "adult nudity and sexual activity" are removed within 24 hours of being posted, they fail to explain how educational videos about sex are distinguished from the potentially harmful videos which are banned.

    Information on anal sex shouldn’t be reduced to folklore. Bottoms deserve to feel empowered to take control of the sex they have, and a vital part of that is ensuring they are well equipped to enjoy anal sex safely. For too long we've been relegated to the shadows and made to feel like we're harbouring a dirty little secret — but thanks to TikTok creators, change is finally on the horizon.

    Bottoming dos and don'ts

    With the help of some trusted health organisations including the UK's National Health Service (NHS(Opens in a new tab)), Brook(Opens in a new tab), the San Francisco AIDS Foundation(Opens in a new tab) and sex education charity Fumble(Opens in a new tab), we've compiled a list of bottoming dos and don'ts to get started.


    • Do use a condom

    Always make sure your top is wearing a condom. The lining of your anus is very delicate and can be damaged easily, which increases the risk of STI transmission.

    • Do make sure you have plenty of lube to hand

    Your anus isn't self-lubricating, so using lube is essential for anal play. Try to use water-based products as oil-based lube can break down condoms, and avoid desensitising lubes — they may prevent you from noticing pain.

    • Do change the condom if you're having vaginal sex afterwards

    This is to avoid transferring bacteria from your anus to your vagina, which could lead to a urinary tract infection. 

    • Do get tested for sexually transmitted infections each time you have anal sex with a new partner

    This is pretty self-explanatory, but getting tested regularly for STIs is always recommended.

    • Do use a towel or old sheet

    Purely for ease of cleanup if you do have an accident.

    • Start slow, and use fingers and toys first

    If it's your first time bottoming (or first time in a while), use a lubricated anal sex toy (slowly) beforehand to get used to the feeling. Foreplay is crucial to relax the muscles in your anus.

    • Remember, you're in control

      Make sure you communicate to whoever you're having sex with if something doesn't feel right or if you want to stop. Consent can be given and withdrawn at any time.


    • Don't carry on if it hurts

    Bottoming can feel uncomfortable (especially if you're a newbie), but that's what foreplay is for. Pain should never be something you're expected to put up with, and tears on the anus (known as anal fissures) take time to heal. 

    • Don’t forget to breathe

    Feeling relaxed is key. By regulating your breathing, you're helping your anus to relax. Take deep, slow breaths to start with.

    • Don’t share someone else's sex toys 

    Avoid doing this where you can, but if you can't, make sure to clean the toy thoroughly before and after use.

    • Don't worry too much about poo

    A common assumption is that poo sits directly inside of your anal sphincter, but this is false. Poo is stored in your colon and it’s when you're on the toilet that it travels through the rectum (where the fun happens) and out of your sphincter. As long as you've recently been to the toilet, it's very unlikely that you'll actually 'poo' on your partner.

    If you're too worried about it to enjoy yourself, stick to other forms of sex (like oral) until you've gotten comfortable with the fact that shit does indeed, happen. Anal douching is common in the bottoming community to clean the rectum before sex, but it has its own pros and cons(Opens in a new tab)