My daily social media ritual includes searching Twitter for trending topics. I usually do this two or three times a day, as trends change depending on breaking news (e.g., election), sports (e.g., NCAA Final Four), and entertainment (e.g., The Walking Dead, or #TWD).
Twitter, Facebook and other platforms have made it incredibly easy to stay in tune with what’s relevant. In fact, according to a July 2015 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, many of us turn to social media first when looking for news.
Twitter and Facebook have also provided relevance for seemingly irrelevant topics, including holidays that only exist because of social media.
We refer to these as hashtag holidays.
Hashtag holidays are a favorite for social media users because, for the most part, everyone can participate.
For example, Wednesday was #NationalPuppyDay. This generated millions of posts with images and videos of adorable puppies that likely generated millions of “awws” and “so cute” as replies.
These holidays vary in their importance. Some are federal holidays, some are not, and others are, well, made up. Still, these hashtags provide us with avenues to connect with others who want to celebrate the same things on the same day.
For example, today’s relevant holiday, Easter Sunday, will undoubtedly provide us with ample hashtags to use. Go to Twitter or Facebook and search for #Jesus, #Eggs, #Peeps and #CreepyBunnies to see the trends.
However, today is also #NationalJoeDay. According to NationalDayCalendar.com, it’s a celebration of everyone named “Joe” or those who have some variant of the name (e.g., Josephine, Joanne).
It’s also #NationalSpanishPaellaDay. Why make ham for Easter when you can make a tasty rice-based dish from Spain?
That we use hashtags to legitimize lesser-known holidays is certainly peculiar, but nonetheless entertaining. Some of these holidays are the Hallmark type, created primarily for commercial purposes, used to sell cards and candy (e.g., Sweetest Day in mid-October).
Other holidays come out of the blue. For example, yesterday was #NationalSpinachDay.
Giving credit where credit is due, Darryl Villacorta of Sprout Social uncovered an interesting list of hashtag holidays. You can see Villacorta’s list by searching Google for “Hashtag Holidays Sprout Social.”
Here are a few of Villacorta’s interesting holidays to add to your 2016 calendar:
April 16 is “Wear Your PJs to Work Day” accompanied by the hashtag #PJDay. I have to admit, I’ve always been a little jealous of my elementary school- and preschool-aged children who get the occasional pajama day at school. May 3 is “Teacher Appreciation Day.” As a teacher, this is one of my favorite holidays. Be sure to celebrate on social media using the hashtag #ThankATeacher. Pull out your yearbook and find some pictures of your favorite teachers and post your gratitude.
Aug. 15 is “National Relaxation Day,” a day set aside to unwind and relax. Meditate, do some yoga, read a book. If social media stresses you out, today is the day to unplug. You can always use Aug. 16 to tweet about how relaxed you feel using the hashtags #DayAfter #NationalRelaxationDay.
You can follow Darryl Villacorta on Twitter at @TheMiddle.
(Part 2 of 2)
Sherri Shaulis knows something about transparency.
As an editor for AVN Magazine and a member of the Adult Video News Awards selection committee, Shaulis has seen it all, including a lot of things she wishes she didn’t see.
Her tweets during the selection process are both entertaining and revealing, without giving away too much information about the actual performers and plots.
“It’s a fine line to keep them vague enough to not give away who or what we are talking about, but still entertaining enough to grow the audience,” Shaulis said. “Every single tweet was something that was actually said in our meetings.”
As funny as the tweets are in context, they are even funnier out of context.
Sure, her tweets are meant to be amusing. They’re also used to validate a selection process dogged by criticism from performers and directors. They accuse AVN of a conflict of interest: Buy an ad in the magazine and you’ll win.
The selection committee’s tweets prove otherwise.
Shaulis is known for posting pictures of the stacks of movies her committee has watched, and quotes that are said during the meetings.
“I use the hashtag #avnawardsmeetings,” Shaulis said. “And I try to keep it funny while at the same time let people know we really are putting in some serious effort.”
Some of Shaulis’ cleaner, more humorous tweets included:
The selection committee members know Shaulis is tweeting their comments.
“Many times when something funny is said, they yell to me, ‘Tweet that!’ I know there are still people who think it’s all fixed, but there are so many more now who realize we really are sitting in a room for hours and hours a day for weeks on end watching, reviewing and putting our hearts and souls into the process.”
In fact, each member spends all year watching and reviewing movies.
“When the studios send in the movies and scenes they want nominated, we spend weeks narrowing down the nominees for each category to 15.”
Every year, Shaulis gains a few more Twitter followers during nominations, and people in the industry tell her they love reading the tweets. “They try to decipher who or what movie we are talking about.”
Shaulis notes that watching countless hours of porn often leads to heated debates among committee members. “We work hard to recognize the best of the best.”
Don’t think for a second that Shaulis and the selection committee members enjoy their task:
It’s not all revulsion. Her tweet related to the selection of awkward parody titles says it all:
Follow Shaulis on Twitter at @AVNSher.
(Part 1 of 2)
It might surprise you to learn that in the information age, with instant access to data and facts, we still have issues with transparency.
Social media was supposed to fix that.
Yes, social media is heralded as the great equalizer. Social media gives voice to the voiceless. It’s a mechanism for righting injustices, for calling out political leaders, corporations and others to answer to the public when things go awry.
In essence, social media are the picket signs and bullhorns for our online public protests.
And yet problems with transparency persist.
Imagine how much more we would know if every industry shared more information online. How much would we want to know? Would we really care?
I posed this question about “caring” to some friends after reading a January mic.com article about transparency in the adult film industry.
Porn producers and performers actually want you to care about what they do, and they’re using social media to provide a more intimate picture of their industry.
As if it could get more intimate.
For years, the adult film industry has been utilizing social media as a way to connect with their fans. Love it or hate it, porn has made great strides, providing a clearer picture of the problems and pressures of their industry. They’re painting that picture on social media.
In case you think that their industry is already sharing enough and that no one would really care to know (or see) more, think again.
Sherri Shaulis knows a lot about transparency, porn and social media. Shaulis, a former Hubbard resident and Youngstown State University graduate, is the senior editor of pleasure products for the AVN Media Network.
One problem plaguing porn for years was the selection of nominees for its film awards. Shaulis set out to fix that misconception, and along the way, she developed a following on social media because of her role on the selection committee.
“For years, there was this idea that if a company bought an ad in [AVN] magazine, or if they had some sort of presence or sponsorship at the shows, it guaranteed they would win awards,” Shaulis said.
“At AVN, that’s simply not true.”
Shaulis turned to Twitter to shine a light on the selection process.
“When I became a member of the nominating committee, it bothered me that people still held this idea that the whole process was fixed,” Shaulis said.
“I wanted people to know how hard we worked, how much time we actually took to complete the nominations process and how seriously we are about the process. I had about 300 Twitter followers at the time, and many of them were in the industry, so I started live tweeting our meetings.”
During the selection process last November, she used the hashtag #avnawardsmeetings in her tweets as a means for capturing some of the dialogue overheard during deliberations. She did this to provide some proof that the committee is actually watching every film, every scene, and talking about what they’re watching – behind closed doors, obviously.
Shaulis’ tweets are priceless. You can follow her on Twitter at @AVNSher.
Check out part two of my conversation with Shaulis next week.
In the 1980s, slang words such as “bite me,” “righteous” and “chill” where a part of our everyday vernacular. TV, movies and music made these and many other words the jargon of a generation.
Uses of those words were often fodder for sitcoms. For example, in the ’80s, it was always funny to hear a 40-year-old say “gag me with a spoon.”
In reality, the older generation was using those words to connect to the younger generation. It was a poorly veiled attempt to communicate with teenagers or, what probably seemed like to older generations, alien life forms.
Fast forward to 2016 and, as a parent and a teacher, I’m constantly trying to stay hip to the new jargon, in hopes of making and maintaining connections to my kids and students.
The roles have reversed, and now I’m the goofy guy in his 40s trying to communicate with the aliens.
It is increasingly more difficult to stay ahead of this new slang today than it was in the ’80s.
With the proliferation of new media and countless social influencers, the adoption of slang seemingly happens overnight. And, unfortunately for old fuddy-duddies like me, these new terms are gone almost as quickly.
For example, terms like “bae” and “on fleek” are actually on their way out. You say you’ve never used or even heard those terms? Don’t worry. They’re so 2015.
In case you’re curious, “bae” is a term of endearment meaning “before anyone else,” often used in reference to boyfriends and girlfriends. “On fleek” is a compliment. Instead of saying, “her shoes look amazing” say, “her shoes are on fleek.”
According to popsugar.com, if you want the freshest jargon for your saucy social media updates, try these new cool terms.
Instead of “on fleek,” use the word “snatched,” as in “that outfit is snatched.” Or try adding “boots” to the end of an adjective for emphasis, such as “this is silly boots” or “I’m hungry boots.”
How these words are created and eventually adopted is a bit of enigma. But a group of Chinese researchers think they may have cracked the code.
In the January issue of the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Leihan Zhang, Jichang Zhao and Ke Xu of Beihang University in Beijing, China, found that the adoption of online slang ebbs and flows, but that adoption usually has two peaks: a small peak at the beginning by social influencers (e.g., celebrities), and a second, much larger peak when the social media crowd uses the new slang.
Their research team used Weibo, a popular social media platform similar to Twitter, to analyze slang birth and adoption. Webio has 500 million users in China alone, generating 100 million posts per day. These posts mirror the same kind of content we see on Twitter – status updates, opinions, news and entertainment.
Zhang, Zhao and Xu’s evidence suggests influencers don’t actually have that much influence on the adoption of new slang.
Sure, celebrities are important at the beginning of the life cycle of a new term. It’s the everyday users who deliver lexicon legitimacy.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.