Social Media Is All Theater [Content Made Simple]

Issue #226: The $10 million disc golfer, TikTok's creepy algorithm, and more.

Social media is all theater. Your personal finance is the next act



Conversations around money were always sensitive when I was growing up. Even sensible topics like how you manage your finances, never mind something as personal as your salary, were off limits. It was understood that you didn't bring up the subject to anyone beyond your immediate family.

Things have changed. Social media has shattered old taboos, turning the topic of money on its head. Rather than being a taboo subject, wealth is something to be flaunted on Instagram, shared on Venmo or excruciatingly detailed on the WallStreetBets subreddit.


Interesting commentary on how social media and our collective communication is changing the ways we talk about money, specifically focusing on how money is becoming additional fodder for the performative nature of social media.


Link #1: The Rise of the $10 Million Disc Golf Celebrity

Super interesting article on the collision of niche sports and influencer culture.

The surest path to profitability is to go viral. And the kings of the viral clip are the dudes from Dude Perfect. What began as a series of stunts by college roommates at Texas A&M has turned into the most popular sports channel on YouTube. Dude Perfect has nearly twice as many subscribers (56 million) as four major U.S. sports leagues—the NBA (16.7 million), NFL (7.8 million), MLB (3.0 million), and NHL (1.6 million)—combined. Its water bottle flips and ping-pong tricks have reshaped what constitutes athletic accomplishment online. And its influence echoes across the niche sports landscape. (The dudes declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Link #2: I’m Scared of the Person TikTok Thinks I Am

The TikTok algorithm is, without a doubt, the most accurate algorithm on any social media platform today. This author is creeped out by it (and understandably so).

This is disturbing because the recommendation algorithm that TikTok uses to pull videos for the personalized “For You” feed is known for being scarily precise, to the point where intelligent people have expressed concern that it might be used for mind control. TikTok users often refer to the process that produces the feed in front of them as “my” algorithm, as if it really were an extension of self. So I ask—though I do not want to—what does my TikTok algorithm say about me? (And can it please say something else?)

Link #3: Facebook Launches Live Audio and Podcasting

Facebook is getting into the podcasting and Clubhouse-like audio game.

In April, Facebook announced a series of planned investments in new audio products, including a Clubhouse live audio competitor as well as new support for podcasts. Today, Facebook is officially rolling out these products with the launch of Live Audio Rooms in the U.S. on iOS, starting with public figures and select Facebook Groups, and the debut of an initial set of U.S. podcast partners.


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