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Meta announces posthumous Notorious B.I.G. concert in Horizon Worlds

2023-03-19 06:16:29

Meta announces posthumous Notorious B.I.G. concert in Horizon Worlds

Meta is hosting a posthumous Notorious B.I.G. concert(Opens in a new tab). Yes, you read that correctly.

Meta announces posthumous Notorious B.I.G. concert in Horizon Worlds(图1)

Meta is celebrating what would be Biggie's 50th birthday with a virtual reality concert where Biggie's "hyper-realistic" avatar will perform Biggie classics. The event is a partnership between Willingie, Gunpowder & Sky, and The Notorious B.I.G. Estate and will take place on Dec. 16 in Horizon Worlds.

SEE ALSO: Apple's mixed-reality headset could arrive next March for $2,000

Prior to the concert, there will be a virtual recreation of a day in Biggie's life in Brooklyn. It will feature narration from American writer and music journalist Touré. The concert will also feature performances from Sean “Diddy” Combs, The Lox, Latto, Nardo Wick, and Lil’ Cease.

Credit: Meta

This is not the first time technology has enabled fans to experience their favorite artists after their death. Notably, a hologram of the late Elvis Presley sang with Celine Dion on American Idol and a hologram of Tupac performed with Snoop Dogg at Coachella in 2012. As virtual reality technology advances, so does the opportunity for events like Biggie's concert that would be impossible in the real world.

The concert also comes at a time when metaverse concerts are gaining mainstream attention. This year MTV introduced the "Best Metaverse Performance" category which BLACKPINK won for their "pretty savage" concert in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUGB) Mobile.

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  • Mark Zuckerberg expressed concerns in Trump phone call, so that should fix everything

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    Axios reports(Opens in a new tab) that two sources familiar with a phone call Trump made to the Facebook CEO on Friday said that Zuckerberg did not make any specific requests of the president, but conveyed "concerns" about his "tone and rhetoric," expressed disagreement with recent sentiments, and told the president that his choice of words "put Facebook in a difficult position."

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    Now, as protests against police brutality have erupted in major cities across the U.S., Trump's tone has stepped up accordingly. On Thursday night he posted a tweet containing the quote "when the looting starts, the shooting starts", and a Saturday tweetstorm included the suggestion that mayors and governors should crack down on protests using "the unlimited power of our Military(Opens in a new tab)".

    Twitter finally took action on a few of Trump’s tweets. One was flagged for containing misleading information about mail-in ballots, the other was hidden from Trump’s timeline for glorifying violence.

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  • Sex with someone you dont live with is now illegal in England

    Sex with someone you dont live with is now illegal in England

    No sex with people outside your household.


    That's a rule now enshrined in law in England as new legislation is brought in prohibiting indoor "gatherings" of two or more people from different households amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    It's been dubbed a lockdown "sex ban" by the media, but the new legislation(Opens in a new tab) makes no explicit mention of the word sex. But, is sex really banned? We took a look at the new rules.

    Indoor "gatherings" are banned under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 bill(Opens in a new tab), which came into effect on June 1, 2020. The new rules define gatherings as "when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other." If you're single or if you live apart from your partner this new legislation will affect you.

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    • for work purposes or providing charitable services

    • to facilitate house moves

    • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person

    • to provide emergency assistance

    • for providing registered early years childcare

    • to avoid injury, illness, or to escape a risk of harm

    • to facilitate access between parents and children

    • to fulfill legal obligations or participate in legal proceedings

    • for the purposes of education

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    SEE ALSO: Horny and romantic books that will completely consume you

    "Individuals who participate in a prohibited gathering will be in breach of the regulations, and the police will use their common sense and discretion in all cases," the statement continued. The spokesperson added that DHSC had "set out" its plan "to return to life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS."

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    Police can't burst into your bedroom and fine you for having sex.

    You might well be wondering about how the police can enforce something like this. Well, on Monday, 10 Downing Street confirmed(Opens in a new tab) that police can't burst into your bedroom and fine you for having sex. Not sure if any of us quite expected that course of events to be on the cards, but glad to hear No. 10 has ruled it out, nonetheless.

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    We collected a few of the most noteworthy moments from the wild and angry Zoom call, which was also plagued with a few technical difficulties.

    1. Upgrade your Zoom account

    2. The tweet gives you the gist

    3. "Have you considered being good at your jobs?"

    4. "I'm looking at a lot of people who just got the shit kicked out of them the whole day."

    5. Maybe, possibly, potentially, Tony Hawk called in(Opens in a new tab)?

    UPDATE: June 3, 2020, 1:27 p.m. EDT Hawk confirmed on Twitter that it was not him on the call.

    6. This one has a Curb Your Enthusiasm ending added

    7. A call about the real looters

    8. "You are public servants. Not soldiers."

  • Instagram, give the swipe-up feature to everyone so protesters can share resources

    Instagram, give the swipe-up feature to everyone so protesters can share resources

    There's no denying Instagram Stories is a strong platform for protesters who want to spread a message.


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    People want to set the feature free. And they're speaking out about it on Twitter.

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    Influencers and celebrities also use it to promote podcasts, YouTube videos, and newsletters. And, in some cases, sketchy giveaways.

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    But perhaps to start, Instagram can only allow links to certain organizations and fundraising sites. That way, they can rest assured followers will be swiping up to legitimate links.

    In the meantime, you can sign a petition to catch Instagram's attention.

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    Maybe if enough people sign the petition and blow up Mosseri's mentions, he'll actually listen.

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    Calls to delete popular astrology app Co—Star after controversial protest meme

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    The caption of the post read(Opens in a new tab), "Here are some demo tips. You can find more in story."

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    The post was deleted and replaced with an explanation by Co—Star:

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

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    Hopefully if Co—Star learned anything from this, it's to not meme the fight to end inequality.

    Mashable has reached out to Co—Star for comment and will update if received.

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    Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian announced Friday that he would resign from his board seat and urged the company to replace him with a candidate who is black. Shortly thereafter, in a thread on the site(Opens in a new tab), Reddit CEO Steve Huffman confirmed that the company will move forward with Ohanian's request.


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    While it's unclear how quickly the company plans to fill this seat, Huffman went on to note that, even beyond this initiative, Reddit has more work to do.

    "As Reddit has grown, alongside much good, it is facing its own challenges around hate and racism," Huffman wrote. "We have to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the role we have played."

    Huffman said the company will focus on the parts of Reddit that "reflect an unflattering but real resemblance to the world in the hate that black users and communities see daily." Huffman added that the company would provide more clarity to users and moderators on where its administrators stand when it comes to racism, offering moderators a seat at the table to help shape corporate policies.

    Huffman reflected on Reddit's history regarding its policies on racism, highlighting where the company has made progress and where it's fallen short. He specifically called out Reddit's failure to take action on The_Donald(Opens in a new tab), a pro-Trump subreddit that became a breeding ground for violent content.

    This comes only a few days after Ellen Pao, the interim CEO of Reddit in 2014, criticized Huffman's open letter to employees, in which he made it clear the company doesn't tolerate "hate, racism, and violence," noting that its "values are clear."

    "I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence," Pao said Monday on Twitter(Opens in a new tab), adding, "So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don't get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long."

    In his posted response today, Huffman copped to Pao's criticism and admitted that The_Donald was "a community that relished in exploiting and detracting from the best of Reddit and that is now nearly disintegrated." He also said the company should've "quarantined(Opens in a new tab) it sooner."

    So, while it hasn't been banned or shutdown, the "quarantine" (Opens in a new tab)effectively prevents users from accidentally viewing its content. Users will only be able to enter the subreddit with a verified email address after opting-in.

    Regardless, Huffman made it clear that this is a turning point for Reddit:

    "We have a choice: return to the status quo or use this opportunity for change. We at Reddit are opting for the latter, and we will do our very best to be a part of the progress."

    Additionally, Huffman left the thread open for Reddit users to ask him any questions on the matter. At the time of writing, it's amassed over 20,000 comments.

    In the Q&A(Opens in a new tab), he maps out a few things Reddit's aiming to accomplish this year, including publicly sharing summaries of quarterly calls with moderators, expanding its number of councils, regularly cycling members so it can bring on more moderators, and creating a council on social justice issues (that will also host all-council calls on how the company's policies are evolving).

    So, if you're active on Reddit, feel free to keep the conversation going.

  • I May Destroy You is a defining moment for on-screen portrayals of consent and sexual violence

    I May Destroy You is a defining moment for on-screen portrayals of consent and sexual violence

    Content warning: This review contains discussion of rape and sexual violence.


    You won't be able to shake I May Destroy You from your thoughts. After watching, you'll close your laptop, or turn off your television, but I guarantee you this: it will stay with you. Created by Chewing Gum writer Michaela Coel, this new 12-part BBC One/HBO drama tackles the intersection of sexual assault, consent, and race in a radical way that is rarely, if ever, seen on screen.

    Episode 1 begins with Arabella (Coel), a young millennial writer living in London, pulling an all-nighter in a last minute attempt to finish the book she's been writing. When she takes a break to meet up with friends (setting a one-hour alarm for herself), the night changes course. The following day, she has no recollection of how she got back to her desk, or how her phone screen got smashed, or why there's blood pouring from a gash on her forehead. Arabella is disorientated, confused, and grappling with a disturbing flashback of someone being raped. That someone, she later realises, was her.

    These events unfold in a way that is infused with striking realism — and that is no accident. In Aug. 2018, while delivering the McTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Coel said she was raped when she was writing Season 2 of Chewing Gum. "I was working overnight in the [production] company's offices; I had an episode due at 7 a.m. I took a break and had a drink with a good friend who was nearby," said(Opens in a new tab) Coel. When she regained consciousness, she was typing Season 2. "I had a flashback. It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers. The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers."

    In the press materials sent by the BBC, Coel makes reference to the real-life roots of the story. "All in all, the hardest thing was not getting distracted in wonderment at the confounding reality of having turned a rather bleak reality into a TV show that created real jobs for hundreds of people," she said.

    But, out of this bleak reality, Coel has created something that challenges on-screen depictions of sex, consent, and assault. Black women have been historically been erased from conversations about sexual violence. That omission is rooted in racism that can be traced back to the time of slavery, when rape was only considered something that happened to white women. As Vanessa Ntinu wrote(Opens in a new tab) in gal-dem, "Historically, black women are perceived as objects of sexual exploitation, dating back to days of slavery where the concept of rape was never applied to the black woman simply because she was assumed to have been a willing and promiscuous participant."

    In those first few episodes of I May Destroy You, Coel explores an aspect of sexual violence that gets little attention: unacknowledged rape(Opens in a new tab). Psychologists use this term to describe sexual violence that fits a legal description of rape or assault, but is not labelled as such by the survivor. For the first two episodes, Arabella doesn't realise she's been assaulted. Even when talking to a police officer about that night, she urges caution in the police officer's interpretation of her disturbing flashback, the images she couldn't shake from her mind. Coel brings to life an element of assault survivors' experience — the difficulty of realising that you've been raped because the reality of rape is so different to how it's portrayed on screens and in the media(Opens in a new tab).

    Later in the series, when Arabella's agents introduce her to another writer, Zain, to assist somehow in the writing of her book, the two end up having sex. What Arabella doesn't realise, though, is that Zain removes the condom midway through — a violation that is also known as "stealthing,"(Opens in a new tab) a form of sexual assault.

    Arabella's story isn't the only remarkable part of this show. Her best male friend Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) has a storyline that explores black masculinity, internalised homophobia, and male experiences of rape. Meanwhile, Arabella's other best friend Terry (Weruche Opia) endures a racist microaggression during an audition for a supposedly empowering advert when a white casting director asks her to take off her wig so she can see her natural hair.

    This show is coming to our screens at a pivotal moment in history — as protests continue across America and parts of the globe against racism and police brutality, following the police killing of George Floyd, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

    The contents of I May Destroy You has the power to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about who rape happens to, and what sexual violence really looks like. That act of service could not be more necessary.

    I May Destroy You debuts on HBO on Sunday, June 7, and on BBC One on Monday, June 8. Both episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from Monday.

  • Forrest Fenn claims someone found the treasure he hid in the Rocky Mountains 10 years ago

    Forrest Fenn claims someone found the treasure he hid in the Rocky Mountains 10 years ago

    A multimillion-dollar treasure intentionally tucked away in an undisclosed, incredibly remote part of the Rocky Mountains has reportedly(Opens in a new tab) been found — and the story behind the loot is perhaps wilder than you can imagine.


    Forrest Fenn, an eccentric 89-year-old author and artifacts dealer, claims he buried a treasure — estimated to be worth at least $1 million and up to $5 million — in a remote spot a decade ago. He said a cryptic 24-line poem in his memoir would lead searchers to the treasure.

    In the last decade, a huge online and IRL community built up around finding the treasure. Some 350,000 people have tried to find it. As Money(Opens in a new tab) covered in detail last year(Opens in a new tab), certain "searchers" have dedicated their lives to the treasure hunt. Some people quit their jobs. At least four people died trying to find it. Others think the whole thing was a hoax, as in, the treasure doesn't exist.

    Now, according to Fenn himself, the chase for the treasure is over. He confirmed to Money(Opens in a new tab) that it had been found in the past couple of days.

    "It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago," Fenn wrote on his website(Opens in a new tab). "I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot. I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries. So the search is over."

    But, and this is a pretty big but, we've still yet to see the treasure. And we don't know the identity of the person who apparently found it.

    “The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East,” Fenn told the(Opens in a new tab) Santa Fe New Mexican(Opens in a new tab).

    Fenn told the paper the person sent him a picture of the treasure to confirm the find, but Fenn declined to send a copy of that photo to the paper. So... a lot of questions remain.

    And yet things are even more complicated. Barbara Andersen, a Chicago real estate attorney, told the New Mexican(Opens in a new tab) she is filing an injunction in federal District Court against the person who allegedly found the chest, saying they hacked her and stole her solution. She wants to stop the person from selling the loot and have the court hand the chest over to her.

    “He stole my solve,” she told the paper. “He followed and cheated me to get the chest.”

    So, again, a lot of questions remain.

  • During a pandemic, protest livestreams are more important than ever

    During a pandemic, protest livestreams are more important than ever

    Protests against police brutality continue around the country, but not everyone who wants can participate. Whether immunocompromised, living with someone in a high risk group for COVID-19, or simply too far away to attend a protest, people around the world have found their own way to engage: livestreams.


    Leigh Wallace, an 18-year-old in Mississippi, goes through chemotherapy every other week to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The treatment hasn’t affected her immune system as much as it has other patients, Wallace said, but her parents are wary of allowing her around other people, even friends. While treatable, Hodgkin’s lymphoma limits the body’s ability to fight infection. The number of new coronavirus cases(Opens in a new tab) is increasing in many states, and the world is bracing itself for a "second wave," expected(Opens in a new tab) to hit this autumn.

    But Wallace couldn’t just sit at home while her peers marched against police brutality. Her parents have a tight grip on her bank account, so she couldn’t donate to a bail fund or community organization. While she signed petitions pushing for prosecution for officers and advocating for defunding law enforcement, Wallace wanted to be more involved.

    “News stations and YouTubers can take the footage and later edit them to fit their personal agenda.”

    She began watching Instagram livestreams of the protests to stay informed. In a Twitter DM, she said that because she was viewing raw, unedited footage, she could get a clearer picture of what’s actually happening. Watching the protests live allows viewers to see police using disturbing force against peaceful protestors for themselves.

    “I think the news and even some YouTube creators are incredibly biased,” Wallace said. “News stations and YouTubers can take the footage and later edit them to fit their personal agenda.”

    Similarly, Celina Juarez, a 21-year-old restaurant employee in Los Angeles, felt that news outlets weren't focusing on what mattered. Juarez lives with her grandparents and didn't want to risk spreading the coronavirus to them, since the elderly are at high risk.

    "I feel that the news is showing more of the looting and less of the police brutality against peaceful protest when, based on every livestream I've tuned into, it's really the opposite," Juarez said in a Twitter DM.

    While the protests have been associated with looting and rioting, multiple videos(Opens in a new tab) show black protestors shutting down white agitators attempting to graffiti storefronts and steal merchandise. When the protests began in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer, Juarez and Wallace felt that news coverage focused on the looting rather than law enforcement escalating violence against peaceful protestors.

    In addition to presenting a clearer picture of the the protests in support of Black Lives Matter, livestreams also provide crucial information for those who attend.

    Elijah Daniel, a YouTuber with 568,000 subscribers and 446,000 Instagram followers(Opens in a new tab), attended numerous protests in Los Angeles last week. He's also been broadcasting the protests on Instagram Live, where tens of thousands of viewers watched police tear gas gatherings, shoot rubber bullets into crowds, and arrest peaceful protestors who were out after Los Angeles' controversial curfews.

    I watched Daniel's protest livestream last week because I had several friends who were also marching in Hollywood. It seemed peaceful from wherever Daniel was marching, but the chants of "No justice, no peace" were broken up by panicked comments warning viewers that police were tear gassing protestors a few blocks ahead. Madison Beer, another influencer who's been actively attending protests and was marching ahead of Daniel, tweeted that cops were beginning to block in protestors well before curfew.

    As soon as I read the livestream comments, I called everyone I knew at the protests to warn them. One narrowly avoided the gas and rubber bullets, which law enforcement began deploying just minutes after he decided to take side streets out of Hollywood.

    This weekend, I attended the massive candlelight vigil for George Floyd and other black victims of police brutality, which took place only blocks from where police had arrested(Opens in a new tab) thousands of peaceful protestors the week before. During the drive over, I watched the livestream broadcasted by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to keep tabs on police presence. Watching the protests live is a matter of safety.

    Watching protest livestreams is a matter of public safety. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images
    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level."

    Daniel's viewers are also using the livestream to open up conversations about police brutality and privilege with their families. Claire-Louise, a 21-year-old customer service agent in Belfast, Ireland, can't attend protests in Ireland because there aren't any close enough to be accessible. She's been showing Daniel's livestreams, as well as other screen recorded livestreams, to her family members who she claims are "a bit backwards in their mindset."

    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level," Claire-Louise said in a Twitter DM. "I get happy when I see the peacefulness but I get angry and anxious when I see the brutality and just blatant racism."

    Influencers and celebrities continue to fall out of public favor through this period of civil unrest. From posting well intentioned but ill informed black squares to their Instagram accounts to getting arrested for looting(Opens in a new tab), as Jake Paul did, celebrity culture is cracking. But those who use their platforms for activism, as Elijah Daniel and Halsey have, are inspiring a generation of viewers to join the Black Lives Matter movement.

    "Even though I can't actually be there, it at least makes me feel like I am," Wallace said. "Seeing how many people are at the protests, plus thinking about how many people are watching livestreams, makes me think that in time something may actually happen."

  • OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    On Thursday, OKCupid announced that it's rolling out a #BlackLivesMatter(Opens in a new tab) badge in a dozen countries. Users can obtain the badge by answering yes to the question, "Do you want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement by adding a badge to your profile?"


    Since badges won't actually do anything to solve racism, OKCupid has also donated $50,000 to the ACLU, Black Girls Code, Fair Fight Action and the NAACP. The app will also donate a million dollars in advertising space to black civil rights organizations.

    SEE ALSO: How single people have been dealing with the 'sex ban' in England

    In addition to the badge, OKCupid has added matching questions related to racial injustice and inequality. Users can answer whether they protest; whether it's okay to silently support racial equality; how they plan on addressing racial inequality (say by donating or protesting); and whether they find it important that their date supports racial equality.

    OKCupid racial inequality question Credit: okcupid
    OKCupid how will you address racial inequality question Credit: okcupid

    In the past week, over 100,000 users have responded to the new questions. The majority said it's not okay to silently support equality, according to OKCupid's blog post. Seventy percent are protesting for racial equality.

    This isn't the first time OKCupid has created badges and questions around social justice. They did so with supporting Planned Parenthood(Opens in a new tab) and marriage equality as well(Opens in a new tab). While the badge could be seen by some as virtual signaling, the questions do allow users to dig deeper into a potential match's commitment to racial equality — which is a step in the right direction.

    Related Video: Want to donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement? Here's how.

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  • On TikTok, everyone is starring in their own TV show

    On TikTok, everyone is starring in their own TV show

    On TikTok, a young person sits on a bus(Opens in a new tab) and stares out the window. The caption reads, "What the fuck in the filler episode." Another creator(Opens in a new tab) sits on their bed and stares up at the camera. Text covers their face. "I don't think I've had a filler day in at least two years," it says. "Not even an ad break. Something is always going horribly wrong and it just keeps going. This isn't even a show this is a five part docuseries that some teenage girl is binging and won't turn off."


    This particular TikTok has since garnered over 1.5 million views and 300,000 likes on the app. Remarks like "my whole life is a filler" and "my filler episodes are me crying over my other episodes" flood the comments section. The "filler episode" tag has over 22 million views.

    So, why are TikTokkers using television jargon to make sense of their lives? "We use these TV terms because our world is absurd around us. We are in this age of 'peak TV' where so many people are consuming it," Amanda Brennan, a meme librarian and senior director of trends at the digital marketing agency XX Artists, explained to Mashable.

    A filler episode is an industry term to describe an episode of television that doesn't contribute to the main plot of a show. On TikTok, it's since become synonymous with an uneventful moment in your life.

    Using the language of popular culture to talk about and understand your life isn't a novel concept, but it reached new heights in 2020 with the rise of "main character syndrome," or thinking of yourself as the main character in your life. The dialogue took off on TikTok when Ashley Ward uploaded the audio, "You have to start romanticizing your life / you have to start thinking of yourself as the main character." More pointedly, thinking of yourself as the main character was a coping mechanism that allowed people to accept the intense early days of the pandemic as plot points in the story of their lives. 

    Two years later, the main character is a fixture of the internet lexicon. It's become a way of narrativizing your life on social media. As such, users have started to incorporate the language of television into their online vocabulary. Just like how eras were democratized on social media, now anyone can be the star of their very own television show that's all in their head. 

    SEE ALSO: It's not a phase. It's an era.

    TikTokkers aren't just conceptualizing their lives using filler episodes; they're also describing everyday situations using phrases like "crossover episode" and "spin off" — even going so far as addressing "the writers" of their show. Television language translates especially well when you're filming a video of yourself to be consumed on a digital platform, just like an episode of television might be. 

    "As video has become a dominant form of communication, it feels like you're consuming your friends lives as TV shows," Brennan said. "All of this social video consumption combined with entertainment consumption can create this big beautiful soup in your brain of 'oh no, my life is also a TV show.'"

    It also becomes a way for people to talk about their lives online without getting too personal. One of these TikToks reads(Opens in a new tab), "When you used to be a series regular but you moved away and got your own spin off and now you're waiting around for the holiday crossover episode." Another says(Opens in a new tab), "My Best Friend currently working on her college life storyline while I'm just waiting for the Halloween episode so I can make a cameo." Both of these videos have accumulated nearly 2 million views. These are creators who are grappling with transitional periods of their life; they're navigating how to live apart from their friends by casting everyone in a figurative television show.

    "It's kind of like a level set of language where you can talk through these feelings that you're having to someone on TikTok. Someone can pick it up and be 'OK, I know what this is talking about,'" explained Brennan. "It's a boiled down taxonomy of putting yourself into an archetype." You say that you're in your filler episode or about to have a crossover episode, and it's a shared language. While someone on the internet might not understand the nuances of your friendship, they will understand what a crossover episode with a friend means. 

    Other videos are less about making sense of one's life and more about putting the onus on someone else: the writers of their show. One of these videos reads, "To whoever is writing my show, I love that we've kept a consistent theme of me being a baddie with a big personality who doesn't need a man. But I was thinking for this season I'd be ok with switching things up and adding in a (realistic) love interest. We don't need every season ending up exactly the same :)" Another says(Opens in a new tab), "Can the person writing the 'college' season of the show skip to the bit where i feel as close to my college friends as i did my high school mates. there's only so many times i can ask someone's major." Brennan compared this phenomenon to the popularity of astrology. "It's this comforting to think 'I'm this way because someone else or like something else is causing it.'" 

    The "writers of my show" trend is a passive way to manifest your destiny. It's being a viewer instead of the main character, content to just watch life go by. In this trend, creators leave their fate in someone else's hands. It's not unlike the "my FBI agent" meme where users imagined an FBI agent investigating their digital footprint and judging them for it.

    SEE ALSO: The surprising poignancy of the 'FBI agent' meme

    By viewing your life as a television show through the eyes of someone else, life's everyday trials, tribulations, and mundanities become easier to understand — for you and your audience.

  • The best travel sites to help you plan the perfect trip

    The best travel sites to help you plan the perfect trip

    Traveling can be a great way to log off, relax, and recuperate from the stress of everyday life.


    But planning your next travel adventure? That can be a downright existential hellscape, a task that can quickly turn from exciting to tedious as you try to juggle various destinations, figure out the best time to travel, how to find the best deals, and what to do when you actually get there.

    And that's just the basics. Factoring in canceled flights and the hoops you need to go through to travel in our current day, the idea of traveling can eventually inspire a dull but persistent sense of dread.

    SEE ALSO: 10 gift ideas for that friend who loves to travel

    Fortunately, that's where the internet comes in. There are a variety of websites and apps designed to take the stress out of traveling and make sure that planning your next trip is as fun and easy as possible. For example, apps like HotelTonight(Opens in a new tab), which will help you find cheap hotel rooms on extremely short notice, and SitOrSquat(Opens in a new tab), which will direct you to nearby restrooms while you're already on the road, should be a part of the essential toolkit for any travelers.

    So whether you're you're looking for travel inspiration, trying to find plane tickets on the cheap, or looking for ways to make your life easier once you're on the ground at your next destination, here are the best apps and sites for travelers.

    If you're looking for travel inspiration:


    Armchair adventures begin with Instagram Credit: Getty images

    Instagram started as a simple photo-sharing app, but as the platform has developed over the years, it's transformed itself into a must-have app for travelers. With new features like the ability to turn on notifications for specific users (which lets you stay up-to-date with your favorite travel 'grammers), Instagram maps that let you explore photos taken at specific places, and the ability to save photos that inspire you, Instagram can be a great way to keep abreast of everything that inspires you to travel.

    We recommend following National Geographic(Opens in a new tab), for a sneak peek at some of the most unique parks of the world, and With The Locals(Opens in a new tab), which invites guest 'grammers from all over the world to curate hidden gems from their city.


    Snap Maps give a great insight into far flung places. Credit: Snapchat

    We've got two words for anybody surprised that Snapchat is an essential tool for travelers: Snap Maps. The feature, which launched in June 2017, shows users what other people are snapping, in real time, at any given destination. That means whether you're taking a digital tour of an area while trying to decided on your next travel destination, or if you're already on the ground and looking for your next activity, Snap Maps can help you discover hidden gems at any destination.

    Earth Trekkers(Opens in a new tab)

    Traveling with families Credit: Earth Trekkers

    For travel inspiration, you can always go to Pinterest — or you can also head to Earth Trekkers(Opens in a new tab), especially if you're looking for family-friendly tips. Julie, Tim, Tyler, and Kara — two parents and their kiddos — spent a bit over a year traveling around the world, and they're looking to keep going.

    Apps to help you get up and go

    TripAdvisor(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Francesca Tirico/ Unsplash

    TripAdvisor is your one-stop-shop for travel. Not only will the site help you book a flight to your next destination, but it'll also help you find hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, and more. But the true beauty of TripAdvisor is its price comparison feature, which will show travelers where they can find the best deal when booking a trip. And who doesn't want to save a buck while traveling?

    Skyscanner(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Christopher Neugebauer/ Flickr

    If you don't want to have to juggle searching through multiple sites to look for and compare travel deals, Skyscanner is for you. The site uses a self-built technology to search through hundreds of travel sites for hotels, flights, and car rental deals. Plus Skyscanner launched a Facebook Messenger bot in 2016 to better help you book tickets on the go.

    Kayak(Opens in a new tab)

    Get going on the cheap Credit: Kayak

    Kayak(Opens in a new tab) can help you find flights, hotels, cars, travel activities, and more — all on a budget. This is a great site to head to once you already know where you want to go, and want to make sure you're doing it the most inexpensive way possible. You can also give ​​(Opens in a new tab)Momondo(Opens in a new tab), Expedia(Opens in a new tab), and Air Fare Watch Dog(Opens in a new tab) a look.

    Momondo(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Momondo

    Momondo is a travel search website that offers a cheap way to find flights, hotels, and car rentals. Rather than booking your tickets directly through the site, Momondo links out to the relevant booking sites, which means extra fees aren't tacked onto the price of your airfare. In other words, you can find flights that are good for your wanderlust and for your wallet.

    RoadTrippers(Opens in a new tab)

    RoadTrippers is an invaluable tool Credit: RoadTRIPPERS

    You don't have to fly somewhere to embark on your next great adventure. Roadtrippers is a travel planning platform that will, as its title suggests, help you plan unforgettable road trips. Not only will Roadtrippers show you how to get from point A to point B, but it'll also create for you the most interesting route to your destination, highlighting great locations off the beaten path. Roadtrippers also let you sort based on things to do, sleeping, food and drink, "weird stuff," and more, which means your road trip can be as direct or as whimsical as your heart desires.

    If you're ballin' on a budget

    Nomadic Matt(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Nomadic Matt

    You don't have to pay exorbitant prices to be able to travel. Nomadic Matt specializes in budget travel, and promises to help you "travel anywhere better, cheaper, and longer." The site's founder, Matthew Kepnes, originally started out as a blogger(Opens in a new tab), but over the years, the site has expanded, publishing everything from advice on how to save money for your next trip to suggestions on how to find cheap airfare and hotels. Then, once you've booked, the site also sells budget travel guides for destinations ranging from Paris to Bangkok.

    Hopper(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Hopper

    If you're looking to save money on airfare, Hopper is for you. By watching and analyzing ticket listings for billions of flights, Hopper will tell you when is the best time to buy tickets for your flight, when an airline drops ticket prices, and even help you calculate the extra fees accumulating while you plan your next trip.

    StudentUniverse(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: StudEnt universe

    StudentUniverse(Opens in a new tab) bills itself as "the world's leading travel booking service for students and youth." With the goal of making travel easy and accessible to young travelers, StudentUniverse will help you find cheap flights, hotels, tours, activities, and more.

    Whoops! I Shoulda started planning sooner!

    HotelTonight(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: HotelTonight

    When it comes to booking last-minute travel, HotelTonight(Opens in a new tab) is the best of the best. The site helps you find last-minute hotel deals, or deals for hotels up to a week from your search, which means you'll always find a place to stay, even if you procrastinated.

    Google Flights(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Google

    If there is one word that explains the strength of Google Flights it's "speed." With filters that let you sort based on the number of stops on your trip, the airline, time of day, and more, Google Flights offers travelers a quick and comprehensive look at available flight options. And with new features like the ability to predict delays, Google Flights will not only help you get to your next destination but make sure you're informed as you embark.

    If you're looking for a place to crash

    Airbnb(Opens in a new tab)

    For when you need a place to stay Credit: Airbnb

    When Airbnb(Opens in a new tab) first launched in 2008, it was a great way to find cheap and quick alternatives to staying in hotel. Now, Airbnb(Opens in a new tab) is so much more than a platform to help you find a place to stay. With listings ranging from Mario-themed homes to homes designed to indulge your inner Star Wars nerd (and even the opportunity to go ghost hunting in Donald Trump's childhood home), travelers can find sleeping accommodations that are just as exciting as the excursions at that their chosen destination.

    Just be warned: Airbnb(Opens in a new tab) is not without its scandals, including hosts facing fees from cities worried about affordable housing and allegations from guests that some hosts have been secretly recording them. So be careful with where you rent.

    Hostelworld(Opens in a new tab)

    Find a hostel Credit: Hostelworld

    Hostelworld(Opens in a new tab) is basically the Airbnb of hostel bookings. Whether you looking for a bed or your own room, Hostelworld will help you find a place to stay at destinations all over the world. And with filters that let you search for hostels based on price, facilities, hostel type, and more, Hostelworld(Opens in a new tab) will help you find a hostel that's as cheap or as luxurious as your wallet will allow. The site also hosts a pretty robust blog with information as specific as "the best hostels in Paris(Opens in a new tab)" to suggestions as broad as "99 unusual hostels you'll never want to leave(Opens in a new tab)," just in case you're looking for some suggestions on your next trip.

    Couchsurfing(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: couchsurfing

    If you're feeling particularly adventurous, Couchsurfing(Opens in a new tab) is a great way to find a great place to stay. Couchsurfing(Opens in a new tab) connects a community of travelers with a community of local hosts at any given destination, which means not only will you have a place to crash when you travel, but you'll meet interesting locals who may be able to offer additional guidance and suggestions for your trip.

    So you've made it to your destination. Now, what do you do?

    LonelyPlanet(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: LonelyPlanet

    Lonely Planet(Opens in a new tab) was founded by a couple in the '70s as a book publisher and added a website presence in the mid-'90s. It publishes digital and physical travel guides so that travelers can discover even the most exotic destinations. And Pro tip: read through Thorn Tree(Opens in a new tab), the site's extensive forum for endless info from fellow travelers.

    Detour(Opens in a new tab)

    Audio walking tours Credit: detour

    Detour(Opens in a new tab) is a great way to explore new locations, especially if you're traveling alone. The app curates more than 100 audio walking tours in 17 cities and counting, offering expert insights and additional information on locations ranging from The Vatican to Fenway Park.

    Helpful apps for once you're already on the road

    Weather Underground(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: weather underground

    You know what they say: knowledge is power. Make sure you are prepared (and dressed weather-appropriately) for your day's adventures with Weather Underground(Opens in a new tab) while you are traveling. With more than 250,000 personal weather stations, Weather Underground provides hyper-local forecasts. And in addition to the weather, the app can also show travelers what the temperature "feels like" at a given location, monitor things like air quality and flu outbreaks, and tells you the time of sunrise and sunset.

    SitOrSquat(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: SitOrSquat

    When you gotta go, you gotta go. SitOrSquat is an iOS and Android app that'll help you find public bathrooms so you can do the do, even when you're in an unfamiliar place.

    Google Translate(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: Google

    A language barrier should never stop you from traveling. Google Translate, available on both web and mobile, offers quick translations of more than 100 different languages. The app version also offers features like image translation that allows you to use your camera for instant text translation and offline translation, which makes translating on the go simple and easy.

    Expand your travel perspective:

    Nomadic Boys(Opens in a new tab)

    Traveling while queer Credit: Nomadic boys

    As a member of the LGBTQ community, traveling can have its difficulties for a whole host of reasons, most of which are rooted in transphobia and homophobia, like the experience of going through airport security(Opens in a new tab) and which nations are safest to travel to(Opens in a new tab). Thankfully, there are a few sites dedicated to helping find those answers, like Nomadic Boys(Opens in a new tab), Couple of Boys(Opens in a new tab), Foodie Flashpacker(Opens in a new tab), and Two Bad Tourists(Opens in a new tab).

    On She Goes(Opens in a new tab)

    Credit: On She Goes

    On She Goes is a travel platform designed to help women of color "travel more confidently, more adventurously and more often." With a mix of articles ranging from "What is travel safety for women of color in a racist, sexist world(Opens in a new tab)" and "Travel & financial anxiety is real but don't let it ruin your trip(Opens in a new tab)," city guides, and travel tips, On She Goes is a must-read for anybody planning their next big trip or just wanting to find a community of fellow jet-setters of color.

    RunawayJuno(Opens in a new tab)

    Juno Kim(Opens in a new tab) has a blog dedicated to traveling the world, and pretty much anyone can get inspiration from her visits or knowledge from her tips — but they're particularly helpful to women and women of color who are traveling solo. If you want more platforms designed to help women travel confidently and safely, check out Nadine Sykora(Opens in a new tab)'s blog, too.

    Travel Noire(Opens in a new tab)

    For travelors of color Credit: Travel Noire

    Travel Noire is a site and publishing platform that curates tools, resources, and stories for travelers of color. By highlighting unique perspectives focused on food, destinations, culture, and experience, Travel Noire will not only inspire you to travel but also help you find a community of travelers once you're on your next adventure.

    Christianna Silva contributed reporting.

    This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated in 2022.

  • How to find an account on TikTok

    How to find an account on TikTok

    So you've made your TikTok account. What now? Maybe you want to follow some of your friends that are already on the app?


    The easiest way to see the content you want to see is by interacting with content you like and following creators who make that content. Maybe you have some people in mind already. That's great! Now, how do you find them?

    There are a couple ways to do this, and in this article we'll cover everything from simply searching names and usernames, to syncing your contacts and Facebook friends.

    Search from the Discover page.

    1. Navigate to the Discover page by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your screen.

    Navigate to the TikTok "Discover" page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

    2. Type the name or username of the creator you're looking for in the search bar.

    Let's say you're looking for Miley Cyrus. You can sort results by users, videos, sounds, and more.

    If you're looking for Miley Cyrus, type her name into the search bar at the top. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

    3. Tap the account you're looking for, and you'll be taken to their profile. Done! Tap the Follow button to follow that creator.

    Search from your profile page.

    1. Instead of tapping "Discover" at the bottom of the screen, tap "Me".

    2. Tap the "Find friends" icon in the top left corner of the screen.

    "Find friends" using the button on the top left corner of your profile page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

    3. Type the name or username of the account you're looking for in the search bar.

    Finding a TikTok account using the "Find friends" button on your profile page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

    4. Tap the account you're looking for and you'll be taken to their profile. Tap the "Follow" button to follow that creator.

    Find friends via contacts or Facebook

    You can also use the "Find friends" button to find TikTok accounts from your contacts or Facebook friends.

    To do so, you'll have to go into your phone settings and allow TikTok access to your contacts. For Facebook, the app will prompt you to sign in to your Facebook account, displaying a warning that says "This allows the app and website to share information about you" like your Facebook name and profile picture.

    Either method involves potentially widening your TikTok network and sharing your account with others. Additionally, you'll be handing over some of your personal data to TikTok, so before you decide to follow the next steps, make sure this is something you comfortable in doing.

    Find friends via contacts

    1. Go to your profile page and tap the "Find friends" button in the upper left corner.

    2. Under the search bar, tap "Find" next to "Contacts."

    3. You'll be prompted to open your settings and allow TikTok access to your contacts. Tap "Open settings" and ensure TikTok has access to your contacts.

    4. Navigate back to your TikTok app, and you'll see a list of accounts TikTok was able to find from your contacts.

    5. Tap "Follow" on all the accounts you want to connect with.

    Find friends via Facebook

    1. Go to your profile page and tap the "Find friends" button in the upper left corner.

    2. Under the search bar, tap "Find" next to "Facebook friends."

    3. TikTok will prompt you to sign in to your Facebook profile, which will allow TikTok access to information about your Facebook account. Tap "Continue" to see more information and sign in.

    4. You should see a page that says "TikTok will receive the following info: your name and profile picture and friends list."

    5. Read the warning at the bottom of the page. It will say: "By continuing, TikTok will receive ongoing access to the information you share and Facebook will recored when TikTok accesses it."

    6. If you want to continue, tap "Continue as [your name]."

    7. You'll see a message that says "Facebook wants to open "TikTok." Tap "Open."

    8. Tap "Find" next to "Facebook friends" just as you did before.

    9. You'll be prompted to sync your Facebook friends list with your TikTok account to find your friends. Tap "Sync" to continue.

    10. Tap "Follow" on all the accounts you want to connect with from your Facebook friends list.

    If you want to remove your synced contacts or Facebook friends, go into your privacy settings on TikTok and tap where it says "Sync contacts and Facebook friends" (which, of course, you can also use to sync or re-sync friends and contacts). Then, just tap either "Remove contacts" or "Remove Facebook friends," which will turn off syncing and remove the data you previously synced with your TikTok account.

    Tap "Remove" again when prompted, and you're done.

    You can follow all kinds of accounts on TikTok. Follow celebs and influencers. Follow your friends. Follow your friends who may happen to be celebs and influencers. You can even follow brands, if you must.

    The more accounts you follow, the more content you'll curate in your TikTok space. So get out there and start following.

  • The MTV VMAs are embracing the metaverse

    The MTV VMAs are embracing the metaverse

    Watch out music videos! The metaverse is coming for you.


    Have you ever attended a concert in the metaverse? Judging by the latest category to be added to the MTV Video Music Awards roster, you probably should. This year's VMAs will hand out a Moon Person for "Best Metaverse Performance," but there's no word on whether the award will be received virtually.

    SEE ALSO: What is the metaverse? A (kind of) simple explainer

    The nominees are Ariana Grande, BLACKPINK, BTS, Charli XCX, Justin Bieber, and Twenty One Pilots. Yes, your faves have been performing in the metaverse.

    Each artist put their own twist on their metaverse concert. Ariana Grande did a space themed performance in Fortnite, while BLACKPINK's hyperrealistic avatars brought their "pretty savage" essence to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUGB) Mobile. BTS sang their English-language chart-toppers "Butter" and "Permission to Dance" on a stage in Minecraft where the boys' boxy avatars attempted to recreate their signature dance moves. Meanwhile, Charli XCX and Twenty One Pilots both opted for Roblox concerts. (It should be noted that Charli XCX's performance was a result of her partnership with Samsung.) And Justin Bieber put on a show in Wave, the virtual entertainment platform.

    And they aren't the only artists performing in the metaverse. Virtual and metaverse concerts became popular during the pandemic when live, in-person entertainment was put on hold. But online concerts and virtual performances are here to stay, especially as the metaverse becomes more engrained with out everyday lives.

    Its acknowledgement at the VMAs suggests metaverse performances might even become a mainstay of the music industry. Only time will tell.

  • How to make sure youre seeing the most recent tweets in your Twitter timeline

    How to make sure youre seeing the most recent tweets in your Twitter timeline

    Wondering why your Twitter timeline isn't showing you tweets in chronological order, with the most recent tweets at the top?


    It's probably because you have your timeline set to "Home" mode, which shows you recommended tweets first. You wanna change it? It's really easy. It's actually spectacularly easy. Like, you're not prepared for how easy it is. All you have to do is this:

    1. Open your Twitter feed. This method works on the app and desktop version.

    2. See the sparkly icon in the top right corner? Tap it.

    Tap that little sparkly thing in the top right corner. Credit: screengrab: twitter

    3. You'll see a pop-up menu saying "Your timeline is set to Home." Right underneath it, tap "Switch to latest Tweets."

    Tap this option to change your timeline to "most recent." Credit: screengrab: twitter

    Next, selec— oh, wait...that's it. Yep, that's all you have to do. Three steps. Easy-peasy. Enjoy your newly configured timeline. OK, see ya.

  • TikTok helps adoptees find a new community to explore joy, family, and belonging

    TikTok helps adoptees find a new community to explore joy, family, and belonging

    Emily Paluska was adopted at eight months old from South Korea, then grew up in a Midwestern rural town with her adoptive parents.


    "I couldn't have asked for a better childhood," she says. "My parents were extremely involved in my life and I never felt anything but love and support. I wasn't treated differently than my other biological siblings."

    Her TikTok account(Opens in a new tab) features recipes from Korea (which she uses to connect with her homeland) alongside content about transracial adoption. The latter is when a child is adopted into a family of a different race than their own — a subject close to Paluska's heart and identity.

    "There are so many adoptees like me that want to feel like they're not alone while they process their complicated feelings about discovering where they came from," she tells Mashable.

    TikTok's often provided a space for users to create or find a community with similar interests, and adoption TikTok is a testament to this. Despite its known shortcomings, the platform is proving to be a portal for such conversations and community-building. Niche, sometimes stigmatized subjects have found a home here, be it childfree TikTok or a support network for keloid awareness.

    SEE ALSO: TikTok is where you go to bare your scars

    Adoptee TikTok, a collective of TikTokers sharing their adoption stories, is reaching monumental numbers. The hashtag #Adoption(Opens in a new tab) itself has 2.8 billion views. More niche hashtags like #AdoptionJourney(Opens in a new tab), which has 170 million views and focuses on the voices of adoptive parents, and #AdopteesofTikTok(Opens in a new tab) at 57.4 million views, tell individual stories of adoption and everything that accompanies the process.

    The videos in adoptee TikTok are overwhelmingly informative, and promote stereotype-shattering conversations, as the subject can be cloaked in typecasting, stigma, and assumptions. With this in mind, adoptee TikTokers have embarked on a mission to speak out about their past, their present, their families, and their shared experiences — including conversations around mental health and trauma(Opens in a new tab).

    Alison Roy, a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist and author of A for Adoption(Opens in a new tab), told Mashable that adoption TikTok is a function of people seeking and providing support in equal bouts, speaking to "when families and adoptees think about their stories and bring their shared stories together, finding ways to talk about their losses, rather than living in their trauma."

    "That's why people use these online mediums, and it's really important that people do find ways to connect in healthy ways," Roy adds, noting that storytelling and sharing experiences are often tools used in conjunction with therapy and external forms of support.

    TikTokkers like Paluska, for instance, have found TikTok to be a medium through which she can connect her own stories with the lives of so many others.

    "My hope is that by talking about it more, it can both educate those who aren't familiar with transracial adoption along with helping to connect other adoptees that have been searching for others just like them," she says.

    @reverypaperflora(Opens in a new tab)

    Transracial adoption definition. hint: NOT Olli London. ##koreanadoptee(Opens in a new tab) ##korean(Opens in a new tab) ##transracialadoption(Opens in a new tab) ##greenscreen(Opens in a new tab)

    ♬ original sound - Emily(Opens in a new tab)

    Paluska's videos also touch upon the complications of this kind of adoption, noting how some ingrained notions of adoption include that of the "white saviour" narrative, for instance.

    "International adoptions especially are often framed like, 'look how terrible your home country is, thank goodness you were brought to America.' It definitely feeds into the whole 'white saviour' narrative," she says. "I would encourage anyone who is looking to adopt a child outside of their own race to be fully committed to integrating your child into their native culture," she says. "Speaking as an adult adoptee, it will save your child a lot of hurt and confusion if you help embrace where they came from when they’re young."

    "It’s about factoring in the right support for families, keeping in mind different people, different families," she says. "These issues require the capacity to reflect."

    Paluska's exploration of her roots has led to some backlash online, which stems from entrenched ideas around adoption. She's faced this response both while growing up and across the internet where she shares her story.

    "Some thought I was trying to claim that I was a different race than my own so that’s been frustrating. I’ve also had people question why it matters that I want to know where I came from that just because I’m genetically Korean, it doesn’t mean I have to learn about Korea. For the record, it absolutely matters. Comments like this are why so many adoptees feel like they don’t belong anywhere," she says.

    Like Paluska, Taylor Shennett(Opens in a new tab), a Chinese adoptee, creates content on TikTok advocating for conscious adopting — similar to conscious parenting(Opens in a new tab), in which a parent lets go of their own ego and desires to create a two-way relationship and channel of communication.

    With adoption, this can mean being open to your adoptive child asking questions about their birth parents and roots — and answering with care and transparency. In doing so, Shennett says adoption can become a positive, healing experience. Her videos take a deep dive not only into her own adoption story but the institution itself, and the varying emotions that accompany the process. She cites resources for adoptive parents, and advocates for supporting and listening to adoptees with an open mind.

    @taylorruipingshen(Opens in a new tab)

    Reply to @frahallingdal ##adoptees(Opens in a new tab) ##adoption(Opens in a new tab) ##adopteevoices(Opens in a new tab) ##adopteesoftiktok(Opens in a new tab) ##adoptee(Opens in a new tab) ##adopteestories(Opens in a new tab) ##adoptionjourney(Opens in a new tab)

    ♬ original sound - Taylor RuiPing Shennett(Opens in a new tab)

    Aubrey Hoover(Opens in a new tab) also counts herself amongst TikTok's adoptee population. While her content doesn't just focus on her adoption story, she's touched upon it with a poignant video about her birth mother(Opens in a new tab), with whom she connected after discovering her on Facebook.

    Discovering her birth mother is a facet of open adoption(Opens in a new tab), a type of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families can access limited personal information and make contact. This form of adoption has become increasingly common since the 1970s in the U.S.(Opens in a new tab)

    "For a lot of adoptees, we do often think about where we came from. Even since finding my birth mom, I often wonder about how she feels about the life I currently live," Hoover tells Mashable. She explains that TikTok allows her to express her feelings about being adopted.

    "Continuing to be open on social media really will provide adoptees with relatable content to process and heal any and all issues they have with the subject," she says.

    @wildheartcollective_(Opens in a new tab)

    Reply to @outspokenanatomy ##adoptionjourney(Opens in a new tab) ##familyreunion(Opens in a new tab) ##SmartfoodClub(Opens in a new tab) ##biomom(Opens in a new tab) ##adoptivemom(Opens in a new tab) ##adoptionreunion(Opens in a new tab)

    ♬ Emotional Piano for the Soul (Inspirational Background Music) - Fearless Motivation Instrumentals(Opens in a new tab)

    TikTokkers within the adoptee realm frequently mention their continuous healing processes, and often share advice on managing mental health. Bella Baskin(Opens in a new tab) is another such content creator, who addresses the emotional weight of her adoption, while speaking to the wonderful experience she's had with her adoptive family.

    "There is a lot of emotional baggage that comes with being adopted," she says.

    Credit: tikok / @bella.baskin.

    These are the sorts of conversations(Opens in a new tab) scattered through Baskin's account, peppered between deeply honest stories of her relationships, family, and snippets of her daily life. Baskin was adopted into the Baskin family, of Baskin-Robbins fame(Opens in a new tab).

    "I was adopted into a really cool family," she says. "But being adopted into a loving family is [the most] important. As adoptees, we're a lot more sensitive and needing of attention. I’m lucky my family has always treated me like their own."

    Like other creators within adoptee TikTok, she acknowledges the assumptions people unfamiliar with adoption often apply to the subject.

    "Throughout my life when I've told people I'm adopted, I'll either get 'I'm so sorry', which supports the false belief system of there something wrong with me, or self-pity, or 'I wish I was adopted'", she explains. "A lot of people are naïve to the emotional issues that come along with being adopted."

    SEE ALSO: Apple TV's 'Trying' brings humor and warmth to the adoption process

    Breaking down such false beliefs sits at the core of adoptee TikTok, while elevating the perspective of those who have been adopted themselves. For many, it has been a joyful, liberating process. As people openly navigate their experiences, they form bonds with those who have similar narratives.

    "It has been amazing hearing other people's stories. I think it's made all of us feel less alone," Paluska says. "We may feel lost and adrift in trying to connect to our roots but we're all mutually feeling the same thing so it makes it feel a lot less lonesome."

  • 12 best tweets of the week, including a panda, David Crosby, and an egg

    12 best tweets of the week, including a panda, David Crosby, and an egg

    It's Friday. Seriously. Finally. I double-checked because, well, you know, who could be totally sure these days?


    And here at Mashable we're going to keep doing what we've been doing on Fridays for quite some time now: collecting the best tweets of the week. Why? Because it's the end of the week, we've all got to keep isolating, and it's nice to mark the beginning of the weekend somehow. And it also might be nice to have a few laughs.

    OK, here we go, these are the 12 best tweets of the week.

    1. OK, don't panic, let's just wait for The Office, hot wings, or random mid-2000s athletes to come up naturally

    2. I mean, the description says it all

    3. Ah!

    4. It's sweeping the nation

    5. Nailed it, David Crosby

    6. The plague rages on

    7. Just gorgeous video editing

    8. I feel this

    9. Obligatory dril tweet

    10. Bet it tastes like egg

    11. Aw man, come on, everyone, get your kids to do the arm pump thing

    12. And finally, this:

  • Celebrate National Crafting Month with some all-time low Cricut deals — plus more of todays best fin

    Celebrate National Crafting Month with some all-time low Cricut deals — plus more of todays best finds

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


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

    • BEST HOME DEAL: Cricut Machines and extensions(Opens in a new tab)starting at $79 (save up to 48%)

    • BEST OVERALL TECH DEAL: Microsoft 13-inch Surface Pro X (Microsoft SQ 2, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$557.99 $1,499.99 (save $942)

    • BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: Blink smart home doorbells and cameras(Opens in a new tab)starting at $34.99 (save up to 48%)

    • BEST APPLE DEAL: Apple 2021 10.2-inch iPad (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab) $249.99 $329 (save $79.01)

    Searching for ways to save money on March 15? Cool it. We've got you covered.

    March isn't known for any major deal holidays, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to save. Since it's National Crafting Month, we're seeing some of the biggest discounts on Cricut machines and extensions since Cyber Week. Plus, Amazon and Apple have slashed prices on some of their most popular gadgets (all-time low prices on iPads and AirPods, anyone?). You can also score free streaming on Apple TV+, a Surface Pro X for more than 60% off, and plenty more. We've done the work for you and rounded up the best deals we could find for you on March 15. Now, all you have to do is scroll and shop.

    Check out our top picks for the day below.

    Best streaming deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Apple
    Our pick: Apple TV+ (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    free for three months at Best Buy (save $20.97)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    The third and rumored final season of Ted Lasso premieres today on Apple TV+(Opens in a new tab). If you want to get in on the action, you'll need an Apple TV+ subscription, and the best way to get one is via Best Buy. Typically, you'd need to buy a new Apple gadget in order to snag a free trial. But for a limited time, Best Buy lets new and returning subscribers snag three free months of the service with no strings attached. All you'll need is an Apple ID with a payment method on file and you're good to go. After your three-month trial period, your subscription automatically renews at $6.99 per month — be sure to cancel ahead of time if you want to avoid being charged.

    More streaming and subscription deals

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

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

    • Dashpass(Opens in a new tab)free for Roku users $9.99.month (save $59.94) for six months

    • Grubhub+(Opens in a new tab) — free for Amazon Prime members $9.99/month (save $119.88) for one year

    • HBO Max and Cinemax channel add-on for Prime Video(Opens in a new tab) — $20.99/month $25.98/month (save $4.99/month)

    • HIDIVE(Opens in a new tab)$2.99/month $4.99/month (save $2) for your first month

    • SiriusXM(Opens in a new tab)free $9.99/month (save $39.96) for four months

    • Sling TV(Opens in a new tab)$20/month $40/month (save $20) for your first month

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

    • YouTube TV(Opens in a new tab)$54.99/month $64.99/month (save $30) for your first three months

    Best home deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Cricut
    Our pick: Cricut Machines and extensions (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    starting at $79 at Amazon (save up to 48%)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    It's been awhile since we've seen Cricut deals this good — but since March is National Crafting Month, it only makes sense. As of March 15, we're seeing record-low Cyber Week prices return for the EasyPress 2(Opens in a new tab) (12-inch x 10-inch) in lilac, Joy(Opens in a new tab), and Hat Press(Opens in a new tab). Plus, the BrightPad Go(Opens in a new tab), Maker 3(Opens in a new tab), Explore 3(Opens in a new tab), and Bright 360(Opens in a new tab) are on sale for up to 25% off as well. If you have some spring projects on the horizon, be sure to check out these Cricut deals while they're around — we don't see major discounts on these devices very often.

    More home deals

    Kitchen deals

    • Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid (40-ounce)(Opens in a new tab)$33.79 $54.95 (save $21.16)

    • Gourmia air fryer oven (6-quart)(Opens in a new tab) — $53.99 $79.99 (save $26)

    • FoodSaver compact vacuum sealer machine(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $94.99 (save $25)

    • Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 air fryer and electric pressure cooker(Opens in a new tab)$152.18 $199.99 (save $47.81)

    • Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 indoor grill(Opens in a new tab)$179.95 $299.99 (save $120.04)

    • Ooni Karu 12 multi-fuel outdoor pizza oven(Opens in a new tab)$299 $399 (save $100)

    • Hamilton Beach professional 4-in-1 juicer, mixer, and grinder(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $374.99 (save $75)

    • Solo Stove Pi pizza oven(Opens in a new tab)$439.99 $624.99 (save $185) + free gas burner

    Home cleaning deals

    • Levoit LV-H132 personal true HEPA air purifier(Opens in a new tab) — $69.99 $89.99 (save $20)

    • Instant HEPA quiet air purifier(Opens in a new tab)$70.99 $149.99 (save $79)

    • Shark Wandvac cord-free handheld vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $79 $94 (save $15)

    • Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S Slim robot vacuum cleaner(Opens in a new tab)$139.79 $229.99 (save $90.20)

    • Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C MAX robot vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$149.99 $249.99 (save $100)

    • Shark HS152AMZ Ultralight Pet Plus corded vacuum(Opens in a new tab) — $149.99 $249.99 (save $100)

    • iRobot Roomba 694 robot vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$179 $274.99 (save $95.99)

    • Dyson V7 Advanced cordless vacuum cleaner(Opens in a new tab) $229.99 $399.99 (save $170)

    • Dyson Big Ball Multi Floor canister vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $279.99 $399.99 (save $120)

    • iRobot Braava Jet M6 (6110) ultimate robot mop(Opens in a new tab)$299 $449.99 (save $150.99)

    • Dyson Omni-glide cordless stick vacuum cleaner(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $449.99 (save $150)

    • Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+ robot vacuum and mop(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $699.99 (save $300)

    • Roborock Q5+ robot vacuum(Opens in a new tab) — $499.99 $699.99 (save $200)

    • Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $699.99 (save $200)

    • Dyson V12 Detect Slim cordless vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$519.99 $649.99 (save $130)

    • Roborock S7+ robot vacuum and sonic mop(Opens in a new tab)$699.98 $949.98 (save $250)

    • Ecovacs Deebot X1 Turbo robot vacuum and mop(Opens in a new tab)$799.99 $1,349.99 (save $550)

    • iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ self-emptying robot vacuum and mop(Opens in a new tab)$849 $1,099.99 (save $250.99)

    • iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) robot vacuum and Braava Jet m6 (6112) robot mop bundle(Opens in a new tab)$949 $1,599.99 (save $650.99)

    Other home deals

    • Select Funko Pop! figurines(Opens in a new tab)$5 $11.99 (save $6.99)

    • AeroGarden Harvest indoor garden(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $89.99 (save $20)

    • AeroGarden Harvest with gourmet herb seed pod kit(Opens in a new tab) — $79.95 $164.95 (save $85)

    • Arlo Essential XL spotlight camera(Opens in a new tab)$99 $149.99 (save $50.99)

    • AeroGarden Harvest Elite with gourmet herb seed pod kit(Opens in a new tab)$139.95 $205.95 (save $66)

    • Eufy Security eufyCam 2C Pro 2-camera kit(Opens in a new tab)$199.99 $319.99 (save $120)

    • TIKI Brand smokeless patio fire pit (Opens in a new tab)$280.25 $395 (save $114.75)

    • Eufy Security S330 video smart lock(Opens in a new tab)$297.49 $349.99 (save $52.50)

    Best tech deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Microsoft
    Our pick: Microsoft 13-inch Surface Pro X (Microsoft SQ 2, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $557.99 at Amazon (save $942)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    The Surface Pro X(Opens in a new tab) is designed with flexibility in mind. It's crazy light at just 1.7 pounds and its virtually edge-to-edge 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen makes your content more immersive, whether you're binge-watching a Netflix series on a flight, editing a photo for Instagram, or building a presentation for work. It offers about 15 hours of battery life on a single charge and juices up to about 80% in just under an hour. Sure, it has that creepy eye contact feature, but you can shut it off if things get weird. Plus, at $557.99 — which is its lowest price to date at Amazon — we're willing to look past that quirk.

    More tech deals

    • Microsoft Xbox wireless controller (carbon black)(Opens in a new tab)$38 $59.99 (save $21.99)

    • Microsoft Xbox wireless controller (pulse red)(Opens in a new tab) $44.49 $64.99 (save $

    • Sony WF-C500 wireless Bluetooth earbuds(Opens in a new tab)$68 $99.99 (save $31.99)

    • Sony SRSXB33 wireless waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker(Opens in a new tab) $79 $178 (save $99)

    • Jabra Elite 4 Active Bluetooth earbuds(Opens in a new tab)$79.99 $119.99 (save $40)

    • JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker(Opens in a new tab) — $91.96 $149.95 (save $57.99)

    • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core(Opens in a new tab)$110 $129.99 (save $19.99)

    • Beats Solo3 wireless headphones(Opens in a new tab)$130.01 $199.95 (save $69.94)

    • JBL Xtreme 2 portable Bluetooth speaker(Opens in a new tab)$179.99 $349.99 (save $170)

    • LG S65Q 3.1ch high-res sound bar(Opens in a new tab) — $196.99 $399.99 (save $203)

    • Sony SRS-XG300 X-Series portable Bluetooth party speaker(Opens in a new tab)$198 $349.99 (save $151.99) + 4 free months of Amazon Music Unlimited

    • ASUS 11.60-inch Vivobook L210 laptop (Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 128GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$199.99 $249.99 (save $50) + one year of Office 365 Personal

    • Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (Series II) portable Bluetooth speaker(Opens in a new tab)$229 $329 (save $100)

    • JBL PartyBox portable Bluetooth party speaker(Opens in a new tab)$229.95 $349.95 (save $120)

    • JBL Boombox 2 portable Bluetooth speaker(Opens in a new tab)$299.95 $449.95 (save $150)

    • Microsoft 13-inch Surface Pro X (Microsoft SQ 2, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$557.99 $1,499.99 (save $942)

    • HP Envy Desktop (Intel Core i9, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) with keyboard and mouse(Opens in a new tab)$1,229.99 $1,699.99 (save $470)

    • ASUS ROG Zephyrus 14-inch gaming laptop (AMD Ryzen 9, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon RX 6800S, 1TB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,299.99 $1,899.99 (save $600)

    • Dell XPS 13 Plus 13.4-inch touch-screen laptop (Intel Evo i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,299.99 $1,849.99 (save $550) + 6 free months of Trend Micro internet security

    Amazon device deals

    • Echo Dot (3rd gen, 2018 release)(Opens in a new tab)$19.99 $39.99 (save $20)

    • Fire TV Stick(Opens in a new tab)$19.99 $39.99 (save $20 with code NEW23)

    • Fire TV Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $49.99 (save $25 with code UP4K23)

    • Fire TV Stick 4K Max(Opens in a new tab)$32.99 $54.99 (save $22 with code FTVMAX22)

    • Blink smart home doorbells and cameras(Opens in a new tab)starting at $34.99 (save up to 48%)

    • Echo Dot (5th gen, 2022 release)(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $49.99 (save $15)

    • Echo Auto (2nd gen, 2022 release)(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $54.99 (save $15)

    • Echo Dot (5th gen, 2022 release) with clock(Opens in a new tab)$44.99 $59.99 (save $15)

    • Echo Dot (5th gen, 2022 release) Kids(Opens in a new tab) — $49.99 $59.99 (save $10)

    • Echo Buds (2nd gen) with wired charging case(Opens in a new tab)$79.99 $119.99 (save $40)

    • Halo Rise bedside sleep tracker(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $139.99 (save $40)

    • Echo Buds (2nd gen) with wireless charging case(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $139.99 (save $40)

    • Amazon Fire HD 10-inch tablet (32GB)(Opens in a new tab)$119.99 $149.99 (save $30)

    • Fire TV Cube(Opens in a new tab)$124.99 $139.99 (save $15)

    • Amazon Fire HD 10-inch tablet (64GB)(Opens in a new tab) — $129.99 $189.99 (save $60)

    • Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus tablet (32GB)(Opens in a new tab)$139.99 $179.99 (save $40)

    Apple device deals

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

    • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)(Opens in a new tab)$199.99 $249 (save $49.01)

    • Apple 2021 10.2-inch iPad (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab) $249.99 $329 (save $79.01)

    • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + Cellular, 41mm)(Opens in a new tab)$429 $499 (save $70)

    • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + Cellular, 45mm)(Opens in a new tab)$459 $529 (save $70)

    • MacBook Pro 14-inch laptop (M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,599 $1,999 (save $400)

  • This $500 gravity bong is a grown-up way to get wrecked

    This $500 gravity bong is a grown-up way to get wrecked

    The term "gravity bong" can be a bit of a dirty word in the cannabis world. No more with the Stündenglass Gravity Hookah.


    For those who didn't spend a hazy evening of their youth with their head in a 5-gallon bucket, a gravity bong, or "g-bong" uses water and air pressure to force smoke into your lungs(Opens in a new tab). Taking a full bowl to the dome will likely cause the user to get absolutely ripped, hence its popularity among college kids and at parties. Typically, it's made using items found around the house, like a 2-liter soda bottle and a socket from your dad's tool set. Sorry, Dad.

    While the legalized cannabis industry continues to battle a century of stereotypes, the Stündenglass makes a valiant attempt at reimagining the DIY gravity bong. Unlike a homemade gravity bong, however, the Stündenglass is not made from a plastic bottle or bucket and aluminum foil, and it really benefits from being an actual real glass bong, or water pipe, meaning the hot smoke from the whatever you are smoking is passed through water, cooling it for a more pleasurable experience.

    A man relaxes with his $500 gravity bong. Credit: Stündenglass


    The Stündenglass is an extremely versatile smoking device, capable of handling flower, concentrates, and shisha tobacco. It looks more like a weird piece of art than a waterfall bong, and there are a number of attachments allowing for various styles of use.

    You'll probably notice the large rotating glass chambers on the Stündenglass, which effectively act as an hourglass. (The name, Stündenglass, means "hourglass" in German.) The user fills the bottom container with water, and leaves the top half empty. While igniting the source, the user then flips the chambers 180 degrees. The negative air pressure causes the smoke to pull through the falling water into the once empty chamber that is now on top.

    Flip the chambers once more, and the smoke is expelled by the falling water through the mouthpiece. The user can actually control the amount of smoke being pushed out by how far they turn the hourglass, which is neat, and also makes the bong a little bit more accessible for those who prefer to remember their evenings.

    I can attest that this thing, like a regular gravity bong, can and will mess you up. I stupidly decided to go with a full bowl and full hourglass flip my first time trying it out, and I ended up having a coughing fit, which brought me right back to the last time I tried a gravity bong in college.

    "Cough to get off," as they say.

    Again, taking a smooth or smaller hit is possible, it's all up to the smoker.

    No spit swapping

    The Stündenglass is impressive in its looks and operation, and would be a real crowdpleaser at any party. However, maybe the most important feature of this water bong is the "contactless smoke delivery system."

    A smoker uses the contactless smoke delivery system. Credit: Stundenglass

    Since the coronavirus pandemic, some have begun questioning what exactly cannabis culture will look like when we reach the other side. It may be years before we feel comfortable sharing a joint, bowl, or blunt with friends, let alone strangers at a party. In The Beforetimes, sharing spit while smoking weed was commonplace. But the contactless attachment allows users to inhale smoke without actually putting your mouth on anything. Remember, the smoke is forced out the glass chamber using water pressure, so you don't have to create an airtight seal with your mouth in order to suck the smoke out like conventional methods of consumption.

    Of course, given that the Stündenglass is designed to be used as a hookah too, there is also a typical hookah hose with a glass mouthpiece that can easily be attached for a different experience.

    The package

    Unboxing the Stündenglass felt more like I was unboxing a piece of tech than a gravity bong, complete with branded stickers. That may be the company leaning in hard on the Apple angle, considering it was engineered by ex-Apple employee Tracey Huston "out of his garage." Regardless, it was the right move. While the contraption may seem complex and overwhelming at first, giving each piece its own space in the boxing made unboxing more fun and less confusing. Plus, if you ever need to transport it you have a good case for it. Keep the box.

    Unboxing the Studenglass. Credit: Brian Koerber

    The packaging also makes the piece feel expensive, which is great, because it is expensive. A good glass bong is never cheap, but at $499(Opens in a new tab) the Stündenglass is definitely reaching an upper limit. And, sure, while that is incredibly expensive, you cannot deny the quality.

    The base which holds the rotating hourglass is heavy and sturdy, and will not tip over easily. According to some press notes from the company, the unit includes "aircraft grade aluminum, surgical grade stainless steel, and high quality Teflon seals." Sure, those are some fancy buzzwords — a big upgrade over cobbling something together with a bottle cap, a bottle, and some scissors — but I can absolutely confirm that this thing is built well and with care, and it will last.

    But perhaps one of the most adult things about the Stündenglass has nothing to do with weed, but it's a major plus from me: The glass chambers are removable so you can pop them into your dishwasher. Smelly bong water isn't just some urban legend. Bong water stinks, but thankfully the Stündenglass is crafted so that it's easy to clean and nearly impossible to catch a mouth full of nasty water.

    Concentrating is hard

    While I had a good time testing out the Stündenglass with dry herb, I did not use the hookah attachment to smoke tobacco, though the setup was easy and everything you need but coals and tobacco is included. It's just not my thing.

    Additionally, Stündenglass was recently acquired(Opens in a new tab) by Grenco Science, which makes a variety of cannabis vaporizers. One of the coolest innovations the company offers is the G Pen Connect(Opens in a new tab), a male adapter that attaches to any bong so that you can use concentrates without an elaborate torch setup.

    So technically you can use the G Pen Connect with the Stündenglass to create a concentrates gravity bong, but the Connect doesn't come with the bong, and it's going to cost you an extra $150 from G Pen(Opens in a new tab).

    And finally, because this piece can feel a bit overwhelming, Stündenglass went ahead and uploaded a whole bunch of how-to content — including how to clean it(Opens in a new tab) — to its YouTube page. There is a learning curve with this unit, but like everything else, the company went above and beyond in showing the user how to operate the bong.

    Overall the Stündenglass is an impressive piece and a fun way to consume whatever you put in it. It's well built, and feels like a grown up way of smoking marijuana. The price tag may be shocking for some, but the experience is definitely unique.

    The Kompact:

    If the size of the Stündenglass is a bit too much, the company also released a mini version called the Kompact(Opens in a new tab), which is essentially the same thing, but just smaller. Despite its size, it is still a mighty beast.

    Credit: Stündenglass

    This post originally published in July 2021 and was updated in April 2022.

    The information contained in this article is not a substitute for, or alternative to information from a healthcare practitioner. Please consult a healthcare professional before using any product and check your local laws before making any purchasing decisions.

  • Why Gen Z loves ugly selfies


    Why Gen Z loves ugly selfies

    The primary purpose of the selfie has always been to show yourself at your best. In fact, this definition could extend to Instagram as a whole, at least in its early years. Taking a photo, especially of yourself, and posting it to social media is something people have generally done when A. They look good or B. They're doing something they think makes them look good. 

    But in 2022, the selfie has taken on an entirely new meaning, at least for Gen Z. Because now, for young and cool teens and twenty-somethings, taking what you might consider to be "ugly" selfies and posting weird content on social media is not only the norm, but it’s probably the best route to becoming an influencer.

    Shifting influences

    When you hear the world "influencer," a particular image might spring to mind — that of a young, gorgeous woman who takes impeccable street style photos or poses with teeth whitening strips. Maybe they found fame on Love Island or sporadically appear on episodes of Made In Chelsea? And they probably post content about the clothes they've bought, the food they eat, or their (often lavish or what seem like incredibly cushy) lifestyles.

    Although this is a pretty limited description of the influencer — given that there have been a wide array of internet personalities creating all types of content since the start of social media — it's certainly the one that the majority of people, particularly millennials, are most familiar with.

    SEE ALSO: When do you stop sharing your location with someone?

    But the advent of TikTok has transformed the concept of an influencer. That's because, rather than planning photoshoots and showing their followers what they bought from Zara, most of Gen Z's favourite TikTokkers are known, instead, for posting comedic, and usually weird, content. 

    Maddie Grace Jepson(Opens in a new tab) is a TikTok influencer with over one million followers. Her first viral video(Opens in a new tab) was something she posted on a whim out of boredom using a TikTok sound she thought was funny. "Don't message me ever again you f*cking little sl*g," is the sound Jepson lip syncs to while lying in bed, as she holds her fists up to the camera and shakes them, showing off her double-jointed elbows.

    "I posted it at 11 p.m., went to bed and woke up the next morning to three million views," Jepson tells Mashable. The TikTokker has developed an online alter-ego of sorts, which involves singing (and speaking) in a strange voice, doing sketches of exaggerated real-life situations and sticking her tongue out in a very specific way, which, bizarrely, is probably the thing she is most well-known for.

    23-year-old Jepson has worked with brands like Jack Wills, The North Face, and Amazon and she is undeniably making a career from being an influencer. Yet the kind of content she posts is so different to what we've come to expect from people with this job title.

    And she's not the only one. Max Balegde(Opens in a new tab) grew his following to 2.8 million, partly by posting a series of videos documenting a disagreement with his landlord about a stain on his mattress(Opens in a new tab), as well as sharing other embarrassing stories from his life. 

    "I never saw social media as a career for me," Balegde says, explaining that he was working as an intern for a digital marketing company when his personal TikTok started to take off. "When I first started gaining followers, it never once crossed my mind that I might be considered an influencer." Now, he's working with brands like Boots and Spotify.

    Jepson agrees that she didn't necessarily see herself as an influencer at first, and even now, she still struggles with the job title: "I associated influencers with Love Island, reality TV, or YouTubers," she says. "This was a new way of influencing," she says, of creating TikTok videos. "If I was ever going to be an influencer, this is the only way it could have ever happened — I never would have been an Instagram influencer."

    Gen Z wants weird and authentic

    The content these Gen Z creators are making could not be further from what their millennial counterparts posted on social media in their first few years of influencing, which generally depicted a put-together, sometimes unrealistic version of themselves. For young creators, whose videos seem to perform better the more authentic, embarrassing, and weird they are, there's an obvious rejection of the content they grew up consuming on Instagram, which tended to promote traditional beauty standards.

    According to Dr. Carolina Are(Opens in a new tab), digital culture expert and innovation fellow at Northumbria University for Digital Citizens, this generational shift is not unusual: "I don't necessarily think it's just a reaction to beauty standards because this is often a cyclical thing — it often happens, where a generation contradicts what the previous generation has done," she explains.

    SEE ALSO: BeReal is testing teachers with its daily notification

    But this generation has come of age through a very specific set of circumstances. Namely, a pandemic, the climate crisis, and now one of the biggest cost of living crises the UK has ever experienced. This means that traditional influencer content that promotes buying new things and maintaining a particular lifestyle is not only out of touch, but totally unattainable for most young people. "A lot of Gen Z creators, who are very concerned about the environment and politically active, are not interested or able to spend money [in the same way as traditional Instagram influencers were]," Are says.

    Light comedic relief, however, is exactly what a lot of people have been looking for in the past couple of years. And many of the UK's biggest TikTok stars started posting on the app simply as an attempt to entertain themselves. 

    "I was just bored in lockdown as I was in drama school and my third year got cut short," says Kyron Hamilton(Opens in a new tab), explaining why he started posting to the app. His most popular videos see him impersonating teachers(Opens in a new tab), wearing at least 30 lanyards around his neck and speaking in a mock-condescending tone. But it was a video of him frantically scrubbing shower foam on his face(Opens in a new tab) — which now has over 1.5 million likes — that catapulted him to TikTok fame.

    Hamilton assumed no one would see what he now considers to be quite an embarrassing video. Like most TikTok users, he felt like he could maintain a level of anonymity posting videos on the app, as, in 2020 at least, most of the people using it weren't collecting followers or likes like on other platforms, but simply creating videos for their own amusement. But the notoriously elusive TikTok algorithm means that no one really knows what will go viral; it often only takes one popular video to land you influencer status overnight.

    Gen Z's social media use has become so authentic (or at least, perceived as authentic) that, for a lot of people, it might even feel awkward to post a flattering photo. "I did a photoshoot with a brand and I had to post the photos to my Instagram. They picked really nice, posed photos and I felt like I had to make the caption funny because it felt embarrassing," Balegde says.

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)


    "I don't think people are bothered about my Instagram because they don't want to see me look nice," Jepson agrees. "They want to see me be weird so sometimes I will put an ugly photo next to a nice one or the caption will just be like 'slay!' to remind people I'm still funny."

    It's not just influencers who feel conflicted about posting nice photos of themselves on social media. Nineteen-year-old Josh(Opens in a new tab), who uses apps like Instagram and TikTok both personally and as a platform for his modelling work, explains that it can be difficult to make his social media feel both authentic and flattering. "There's definitely a pressure to find the balance between coming across as relatable while also still looking good without trying to," he says.

    So is posting ugly selfies and weird videos on TikTok really an anti-establishment move against vanity, or just another trend designed to gain followers?

    Jepson, Balegde, and Hamilton all agree that they think Gen Z's approach to social media and influencers is a positive change: "I do think TikTok is paving the way in allowing people to be who they are and look the way they do with no pressure," Jepson says. "There's no place for the idea that influencers have to fit a certain beauty standard anymore."

    "I feel so lucky that unintentionally I created a situation where my job is just being myself [on the internet]," Balegde says. "Over lockdown, people realised that some of the best content on the internet was from people just sitting in their dressing gowns with no makeup on so I think, from that, people have new priorities when it comes to what they want from influencers."

    So if your New Year's Resolution is to become a TikTokker, forget the vlog camera, ditch your make-up and simply film yourself being as weird or embarrassing as you can. Ugly selfies are optional, but encouraged.