There Are No New Jokes On the Internet

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Rachel Anthony: From Lemonade in media the creators of in the bubble last they and at the car comes be interesting sometimes internet sensation vs spear needs more than a minutes bring you the news the popular under the desk news anchors spinning off their tik-tok show into a full lamp news deep dive and making it a can’t miss part of your weekly routine. Every Tuesday, we highlights the baffling details of timely stories we often overlook in the chaotic news cycle. Then on Fridays, we take the longer plunge into less reported issues that have nonetheless impacted society. They might even bring it some unexpected guests like their mom. And we’ll answer the questions on the minds of their listeners. Two Part Explainer, part thought starter show with the heavy dose of quirky personality and witty charm. Be as goal as make you the most well-informed and the interesting person in any crowd. The interesting from living out in media is out now on Apple, Spotify, tune in or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Rachel Anthony: Before we get into today’s episode, we wanted to take a moment to address the recent news about the overturning of Roe. We’re sad and we’re angry, and we recommend that you check out our episode from Saturday, May 7th on period trackers as well as the new season of Slow Burn, where host Susan MATTHEWS explores the path that led to the passing of Roe in the early 1970s. It’s really easy to feel helpless right now, but a lot of abortion activists have been planning for this moment for over ten years, and I will be looking to them for guidance, which means that will be donating to abortion funds today. And we recommend you consider the same.

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Rachel Anthony: And now for a break from the news. Here’s today’s issue. I’m-I’m.

Speaker 2: Okay.

Speaker 3: He’s a ten, but he has the exact same.

Rachel Anthony: Voice as your brother for three. I’m Rachel Anthony, and I’m Madison. Malone Kircher you’re listening to. I see. Why am I? In case you missed it, Slate’s Podcast About Internet Culture. Rachel We’re getting a treat for Pride Month this year. Thank God we needed Joe to see who is getting a show on Facebook watch. That feels kind of like when you have a chocolate chip cookie and it turns out to be oatmeal.

Rachel Anthony: I know, but. And I love oatmeal raisin cookie. But just tell me what it is. All right. Well, this particular oatmeal raisin cookie is called Jo Goes. And it’s kind of like a Simple Life docu series esque thing where Joe, Joe and special guests will try out some of the stuff that Jo-Jo missed out on because she grew up famous. She’ll be joining her volleyball team, going to summer camp, working in the medical field. Two of those three things are extremely formative where I don’t know about the medical field, one and more. I’m sorry, what part of working in the medical field is part of childhood? I don’t know. But I would let Joe. Joe, see what gave me my my second booster. I mean, all she has to do is jab you in the arm.

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Rachel Anthony: Right. That’s pretty easy. Not much can go wrong there. I do have to say, when I heard there were going to be special guests, I was excited. However, the oatmeal raisin cookie, perhaps the metaphor continues. Yeah. There’s not even chocolate chips in this oatmeal raisin cookie. Okay, so for volleyball, we have Olympian Misty May-Treanor. Which big name? No shade. I know who that is. Yeah, I. Of course I know. This is her Dancing with the Stars partner, Janet Johnson. The pop group X O-M-G.

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Rachel Anthony: Pop, exclamation point. Zo My God. XO OMG, Zo McGee. Oh, the phrase pop group, I feel like, is a bit complimentary towards this group that I’ve never heard of. I mean, the girl group founded by. Let’s see what family that’s currently appearing on America’s Got Talent. Oh, I see why they’re there. I feel like Jojo should have better guests, and there could be at least one good like Charli D’amelio. I look, maybe they could have wrangle better talent if they weren’t on Facebook watch.

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Rachel Anthony: But excuse me. Red table talk would like to have a fucking talk at the red table. They can. Incredible guests and it’s on Facebook watch for reasons I still do not know. At any rate, I will still watch it because I simply cannot overstate how earnestly I love watching Jojo Siwa thrive. So I guess we’ll say will Jojo. See ya later then on that topic. No, we won’t. I can’t say that. Okay. I will say it because on the show today, we’re going to be discussing a recent trend that highlights how social media has flattened humor across platforms and the return of.

Speaker 2: Shudder.

Rachel Anthony: Anonymous online forums. Because no one on the Internet has ever learned a lesson. A lesson on the Internet. Not today. All of that after just a quick break.

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Rachel Anthony: I see. Why am I or text easy. Why am I. 2500500. And we’re back. All right, Rachel, he is a ten, but he’s never seen a Twilight film. Oh, honestly, I still attend because then I get to show him the Twilight films. Okay. He’s a temp, but he doesn’t like Twilight. Oh two. So there’s this game that’s been popping up on my for You page recently that I want to talk about. Obviously, it is the he’s a ten.

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Rachel Anthony: She’s a ten. There are ten. But game where someone suggests that they have found you the perfect partner except for one glaring problem, and then the other person gives a adjusted rating. There’s also the opposite version of this, where someone is perhaps like a five or four on the scale but has some quality that immediately bumps them up to its end. Like he’s a five. He gets along with your family nine. She’s a six, but she owns a classic six on the Upper West Side, 12 million. So there are all sorts of variations on this game like we’re describing. So here are a few examples from Tick Tock. He’s a five and he works at Barstool Sports.

Chloe Corcoran: That means he knows like a lot of famous people.

Rachel Anthony: Three.

Speaker 5: She’s a six, but she streams video games.

Rachel Anthony: Really he’s a buddy is Minecraft betting.

Speaker 6: Tool to do?

Rachel Anthony: It’s a super fun game that I really enjoyed. SIEGEL By the things that people come up with are so creative in terms of what takes someone from a two to a ten or vice versa, which of course, means that even though we kind of just play a little bit, we have to go around her two already. He’s an eight, but he thinks the War of the Roses was a fight between two competing florists in the same small town. Honestly, Tim, that’s himbo quality. That’s adorable. He’s a seven, but he’s still using Tumblr like it’s 2010. Oh, that’s a red flag for. She’s a ten, but she thinks Jojo Siwa is for children.

Rachel Anthony: Is she a child? No. Yeah. Zero. Okay. Therefore. But they can perform the entirety of Yentl by themselves. That might still make them a four. Oh, that’s alarming behavior. That movie is so long. Dedication. That’s competency, baby.

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Rachel Anthony: Anyway, this is clearly all fun and games is a fun game to play at a party. It’s a fun game to play. I would say like two glasses of wine and beer should start getting a little weird, but as soon as I saw these videos kind of cross my fip, I. I just knew deep, deep in my soul that in approximately four days I was going to see this on Twitter. It was one of those perfect meme formats that is kind of tailor made for Twitter, just like the We Need an American Girl doll who it really is just the like sequel to We Need an American Girl Doll Twitter. I’m just going to regurgitate one that I tweeted. Go for it. She’s a seven, but she’s just the girl I’m looking for. Why the quick five?

Rachel Anthony: Yeah. This tanked on Twitter to announce I had something there. I’m sorry. Okay. Here’s a few from the last week that didn’t tank. At Tash GC she’s a six, but due to inflation, she’s a ten. I love it. I hate inflation. At Eve six, she’s an NYC ten, but she did.

Speaker 2: January six.

Rachel Anthony: Zero at Dick’s Payton. He’s a ten, but he’s 100 year old vampire at a high school in Forks, Washington. Oh, you snuck that in here? I, I did not. That was somebody else. I had nothing to do with that inclusion, but I would say that makes him six because why the fuck was he still in high school for all those years? Go to college. All very funny and just a little bit different from the question response format on tick tock but still in the same comedy.

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Rachel Anthony: Genus species, class phylum one of those. This obviously isn’t a new thing, but every time it happens, I just I laugh for a minute, truly. You know, she’s a New York City six, but she did. January 6th is incredibly funny. But then I sort of sigh and I’m like, Man, the like homogeneity of humor across the internet is such a bummer. Like, this is just the latest example we’re talking about. But if you look at any platform, you can quickly find an account that is just recycling or reposting jokes from a different platform. And the thing is, it’s not just She’s a ten or we need an American girl doll. Who or am I the asshole post? It’s quite literally everything, including my Elise, everything on the internet, which is prompt Twitter, which has migrated its way over to TikTok. Here’s, here’s an example that I hate.

Chloe Corcoran: What’s a scam that’s become so normalized that we don’t even realize it’s a scam anymore?

Rachel Anthony: I’ve seen that stitched so many people, but okay. I saw good one last night. I don’t think they’re not good. I just get bored. Tell me the good ones. The answer was lawnmowers. Oh, lawns themselves are scams. Well, yes. But if you feel the need to mow individual homes, all don’t need a lawn mower. You just need like one per neighborhood and a good schedule and a little can of WD 40. Well, yeah, that’s kind of the, the idea of a home gardening company. Right. But I want to do my own mowing. So you want a socialist, you want a communally owned home gardening lawn mower? Yeah. You know what?

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Rachel Anthony: Bringing this up with your home. But the thing is, this came up on TikTok and the original version is someone talking about student loan debt, which is objectively a scam. That is true. And then two days later, what did I see on Twitter? But the exact same question phrased the exact same way that went its own level of viral with over 10,000 retweets and likes eats. It’s literally the same question. Like we don’t even have to say the tweet again. It’s the same question. Yeah. I mean, this is the same as people who in reverse on TikTok just read tweets at the camera and if you’re lucky, they’ll credit you.

Speaker 2: I don’t get it when I see skinny people running. Aren’t you dying? Yo, ten year old me. I’m never going to be those boring adults. Always in a bad mood to tell. It’s so hot outside. I almost called my ex so I could be around something shady.

Rachel Anthony: Well, I don’t understand about that genre is that they all pretend like they can’t speak because they’re laughing so hard. But they curated the tweets themselves, so they’ve already seen them. So it’s really not that funny. Like I can tell they’re faking their laughter. I don’t know. But if you need a funny TikTok, I personally love to just watch them on Instagram reels. Yeah. Two weeks after they were posted. It’s just a TikTok seems and then if you need, you read it because just find multiple twitter accounts that just repost subreddit screenshots because why look for anything original when someone else will curated for you? Rachel I’m realizing we’ve set ourselves up really nicely for you to use your new favorite word. I do have to find a new favorite word because this one’s getting old. But this is indeed Ann Arbor’s of internet content that just cycles through itself and then eats itself. And then it’s council getting condensed down like what happens in a digestive system.

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Rachel Anthony: Okay. Firstly, if you have a new favorite word for Rachel, slide it into our DMS. And second, Rachel, is this a good thing? I mean, I feel like recently everyone’s been kind of mourning the death of monoculture because we don’t share anything anymore and everything is hyper specific. And these and I don’t find that argument compelling. I don’t really care about monoculture.

Rachel Anthony: Yes. Watching Game of Thrones all together was fun and cool and whatever. But also it just gets boring because I know I’m just going to not only see the same format recycled over and over, I know I’m going to see someone stealing someone else’s joke and be like, No one gives a shit that they stole this joke. And then I get upset. Also, like I feel as though monoculture moments of present just get forgotten too quickly. I’m sorry. Were you silenced or silent? We all live that we did. It’s true. We all watched that moment. I do. I feel like everyone when they talk about monoculture is the idea of people tuning in at a certain time. Watch the same television show, which, by the way, just happened at the elementary. If you’re not up on that, that’s your fucking fault. But I don’t actually. The point of the Internet is to find things that are hyper specific to you, something that only you and people like you will get. But now sometimes I scroll up and down my Twitter feed or through my Instagram for you to do my TikTok feed, and I feel like I’m seeing the exact same thing.

Rachel Anthony: It doesn’t help that in an attempt to eat each other for lunch, all of the horrible press. Yeah, that was what I was doing. But in an attempt to beat each other at the social media platform Olympics, pretend that made sense. You know what I mean? In an attempt to win. Platforms are just cloning each other. They’re just ripping off the best stuff that Tok has to bring it over to Instagram and Twitter is borrowing from Tumblr and they’re just all becoming sort of clones is, I think, the closest word I can come to.

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Rachel Anthony: So of course. Of course. It just feels like you’re seeing the same crap over and over and over again. That’s by platform design. And I hate it because none of these platforms recognize what makes each of them special. I don’t want Instagram to become Tik Tok. I don’t want Twitter to have a notes app function in it. I don’t want Tik Tok too. Honestly, TikTok is just doing its thing. Tik Tok hasn’t taken anything from anyone else because they’re like, We don’t need you, and I appreciate that has taken lots of personal data from all of us.

Rachel Anthony: Okay, that is true. But what platform hasn’t? Okay, you know what? Tik Tok is borrowing from Facebook and taking lots of personal data from us. Honestly, it’s no surprise that this is happening. Virality continues to be the holy grail of the online experience, which you’ve experienced it. Yes. Listen, I love a little serotonin boost when people like my post, but what happens when that boost gets slightly bigger and suddenly you have people in your DMS being like your third grade teacher hated you, you ugly cow. That actually would be a nice DM compared to what people who go viral online for stupid things experience going viral is miserable.

Rachel Anthony: So it is very funny to me that it remains the goal online, especially for people who aren’t doing it professionally. I mean, but I think that’s part of it is that everyone is attempting to do this thing professionally and the thing is exist on the Internet. And so we get these bits, we get these plays for virality. They all see the same. You’ll see something go viral on TikTok and then you’re like, Oh, easy way to go viral on Twitter.

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Rachel Anthony: I’m an ex Mormon too, and it’s boring. I hate it. He’s a seven, but he’s still tweeting about American girl dolls. She’s a ten, but she steals all of her jokes from TikTok and doesn’t credit anybody. We’re going to take a quick break from making these jokes because frankly, we’re running out of them and there seem to be funny. When we come back, though, we’re going to be discussing the the latest in everything new on the Internet is actually old, the return of the anonymous online forum. When will you people ever learn less learning? After the break.

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Speaker 5: Are we rolling? Three, two, one. Sounds, feeds. All right. Just start talking. What should I talk about? Whatever you feel like this is about you.

Chloe Corcoran: My name is Chloe Corcoran. Had I not been trans, I would have coach college football. Really? I’m sorry, Clark. Can I have one of those all dried up people who, like, already live their best lives? Okay. My name is Mariana marroquin. Mommy, what do you think about these books?

Speaker 2: I feel.

Chloe Corcoran: Too much. Yeah. My name is Jeffrey J. And so, like, I had to come out as transgender, but my mom had to come out as Republican about three months ago. A documentary crew followed us around recording our every move. They captured us navigating everything. And that’s what you’re about to hear.

Speaker 5: From being studios and eliminate a media and audio reality. Original.

Chloe Corcoran: This is being trans. This is being trans.

Speaker 5: Out April 28th wherever you get your podcasts.

Rachel Anthony: Hi there. Hope you’re enjoying today’s show. If this is your first time listening. Welcome. We’re so glad to have you with us. In case you missed it, our show actually comes out twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So make sure to scroll back and listen to this Wednesday’s episode, which is all about women focused dating apps. How hard it is to be a lesbian on a dating app. Happy pride. And we’re back doing my favorite thing, which is talking a shit about each other in secret. Oh, I thought we were just talking about talking shit. I’m sorry I didn’t read the prep.

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Rachel Anthony: So there’s this new app popping up on Instagram called NGL, which is short for not going to lie and error. It purports to be, quote, a fresh take on anonymity. When I tell you, when I tell you, my friend Cam posted the first not going to lie. I saw on an Instagram story and I just watched their story and the hair on the back of my neck just immediately stood up. I was 15. I am sitting in my childhood bedroom. I am holding a Dell laptop that barely works and sounds like it is going to take off for the moon at any moment. You know the. Wow. No, I think honestly, kind of soothing. And it’s so hot. It’s like burning your leg. Oh, yeah. There’s just, like, little, like, wire shaped indentations in my back. That was the that was a simpler time. It was not a simpler time, but not going to lie. Thinks it was.

Rachel Anthony: According to their website, we believe anonymity should be a fun, yet safe place to express your feelings and opinions without shame. Young people don’t have a space to share their feelings without judgment from friends or societal pressures. Not Going to Lie provides this safe space for teens that feels yet a god damned diary like a lie given what the actual app is. Also, can I say NGL is almost NGL is one of the worst things you could have named. Your company has terrible SEO. Okay, we named our podcast. I see. Why am I? Yeah. You know, the woman was to start.

Rachel Anthony: Okay. Well, as I think about our previous CEO mistakes, well, how does this app work? So it’s an app built to use within Instagram stories. You sign up and ask for your Instagram handle and then it provides you with a link you share in your insta stories. People click it and then they send you anonymous messages or questions. So you do have the choice. Once you read the hate speech that is inevitably coming your way too reposted or not. How is this? I am so people can write to me, but I’ll have no clue who’s on the other end. Which seems like a just great idea. One that will not immediately devolve into cruelty, especially given that it is marketed at children teenagers. Wow. According to the company website NGL is committed to keeping its users safe thanks to world class AI content.

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Rachel Anthony: Moderation. Oh. Oh. Oh yeah. Because, you know, algorithms and machine learning have really done a great job in the past of keeping platforms safe and free of harassment. And there’s no linguistic workaround. Yes. No. To call someone a slur on an Internet. We definitely don’t have an entire platform that’s developed its own lexicon to get around the content, moderation, tick tock quote. This means we stay on trend, we understand lingo and we know how to filter out the bad stuff.

Rachel Anthony: Why does that sound like my mom trying to pitch me on a social media app that she just started? Honestly, if your moms tried to pitch me on a social media app, I would join honestly. Say my mom would know what to do. I don’t trust this company, not least because it just reminds me of so many different apps that have come before. Also because yeah, the question asker is anonymous, but the person posting it to their story isn’t anonymous. So how is this in any way allowing teens to explore their anonymous identities? Like someone has a face attached to this? Also a thing that set off alarm bells in my head.

Rachel Anthony: Aside from the many, many typos on the website sorry that was petty is the a Q section has a question that reads can I have more hints and is that just an existential question? And they don’t really seem to specify anywhere how many hints you get to begin with. But what they’re talking about here is giving you hints to help figure out who sent a message, which sort of defeats the whole what is the purpose of this app? If you can just get more hints to figure out who is sending you question how would you like to know how one gets more hints?

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Rachel Anthony: I’m going to assume it involves some cold, hard American cash. Can I buy it in bitcoin? Honestly, probably. I have in fact check that. But you can pay from, you know, 199 and 1999. And I don’t know about you, but I’m just not about to pay money to be bullied. It’s not just therapy. You can, however, pay me money to bully you. I’m available.

Rachel Anthony: Although the hints that are given are things like a person’s location or their phone model. So I just I’m getting data scrape that. It has to be a data scrape if they know your location and your phone model, which if you’re a teen using this in your small town, knowing somebody’s iPhone model and their location probably isn’t going to help you that much because everyone has the same iPhone and location. But if you’re, you know, Madison and you decide to use this and then someone sends you a question from a small town in upstate New York, you can probably reasonably figure out who sent it to her.

Rachel Anthony: I will say the fact that I am seeing my adult friends using this thing gives me hope that it’s D.O.A. as far as actual living, raving teenagers are concerned. I mean, what’s fascinating about this is that there is really no way to tell how popular it is because of how it’s integrated into people’s stories. Like there’s no way really to capture how many people are using this. It’s also just a reinvention of the wheel, right? This platform concept is as old as well. Platform concepts, I don’t know. I’m just going to name some things and if they free associate curious cat.

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Rachel Anthony: A bit before my time, Baum sprang, vaguely familiar. I need you to know I mentioned a curious cat on Twitter yesterday, and I immediately had someone in my mentions being like, I can recall these verbatim. Someone was like, someone called me a beached whale and I’m still thinking about it. Like, these were anonymous Q&A platforms that were popular when I was in high school, and they were vicious, just awful. Yeah, we had, I think, ask that. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Which was really a way in my group at least, is to post your little thing and be like, I’m taking anonymous questions and then see all the popular kids, get all the questions, and you get absolutely none. Honestly, that was also my experience when I was in college.

Rachel Anthony: We also had similar anonymous spirited platforms like College CB or Juicycampus. I’m old, but they were college specific forums where you would go and start threads and anonymously comment on your classmates. And I. I caught like the tail end of this. I very distinctly remember there was a, like, hottest ten girls at my college list. Wow. My first week of school and in the freshman class, which, to be clear, I went to a really tiny college. So this was this is obviously a brutal Internet experience. But when you have a class that is like 400 kids, so let’s say half of that could be on this ten person. It just there’s cruelty in the math alone. I mean, this was kind of the thing about going to a slightly larger school.

Rachel Anthony: We had a Yik Yak. Mm hmm. I it was almost impossible to really tell who anyone was ever talking about. I feel like most people actually used to talk shit about professors, which was really funny. Yik Yak was an app that launched while I was in college. My my collegiate experience just straddles two generations of terrible, anonymous educational, educational, the inter-generational trauma that’s living within you. Julie So Yik Yak was this app where you would post anonymous things and it was geofence, so you had to be like within a given campus.

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Rachel Anthony: And I think you’re right. I think it was really quite nasty in my experience because I went to this very tiny school in this very small place. And I think a writer named Wil Haskell wrote a piece for New York magazine probably almost ten years ago now that I’m still thinking about about how I it was like a first person. I’m a high school senior. Yik Yak ruined my senior year piece about how within a small community, this thing just eviscerated people emotionally and mentally. And we just keep building these plot. We, you and I, keep building these, but we actually launch Not Going to lie. We love and actually this is our time to tell you, please, he’s not going to lie. So we can continue to find this podcast that 99, that nine, 99, it’s gone straight to our pockets, straight into our pockets, straight into my bike’s short fund. All those typos, those were me. All of these platforms obviously are built on that same psychological impulse to want to know shit you shouldn’t.

Rachel Anthony: You know, secret secrets are no fun unless they’re shared with me, specifically Madison Dot Kircher at Slate.com. I mean, that’s the beauty of gossip. Knowing gossip about people, you know, is obviously great, but there’s nothing quite as incredible as learning gossip about someone you will never interact with in your entire life. You’re just like, Who is a stranger? I don’t care. I just want to know why she was in the McDonald’s parking lot, getting ready to fight somebody. I just. I truly am having Olivia Rodrigo déja vu while having this conversation. Because the number of times I have written pieces about, like, the late after an anonymous gossip, and then you like, copy and paste in the same mental paragraph about like, this isn’t the first of its kind, it’s never the first of its kind. People always find ways to send themselves anonymous questions through another forum so they can pretend that people are interested in them. That’s what I feel like most people are actually using this for.

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Rachel Anthony: But I mean, these apps just prey on that exact thing where you just simply have to be involved, like the social pressures and the way it immediately sends you back to high school. I think that’s what all of these apps are running on a perfect breeding ground for cyberbullying. Hard not to picture, not going to lie. Should the teens actually pick this one up and run with it turning into one of those spaces?

Rachel Anthony: Also, no matter how good the intentions of the creators and they’re very smart. I really definitely trusted A.I. is the I can definitely tell when someone is harassing someone else. I see a little bit of like checks and balances trying to be put in place by linking it to Instagram. But at a certain point, you do have to wonder, are we ever going to get over this digital desire to give people the ability to anonymously harass each other? No, we’re never going to get over that. It’s never so the world will end, civilization will decay. There will be three people left, and there will be some way to anonymously ask each of the three people of. I sent through an online Google form. That is what the end of the world is going to look like. This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whisper. A former anonymous social network. They keep going.

Rachel Anthony: But all right. That’s the show. We will be back in your feed on Wednesday. Please subscribe. It is the best way to make sure you never miss an episode. Leave us a rating and review an Apple or Spotify. Those are anonymous. So do with that what you will. And I’m kidding. Be nice. You can also follow us on Twitter. We’re at I see my my underscore pod or you can always email us. I see why am I at slate.com? And so I’m asked is by Daniel Schrader, Manase Malone Kircher and meet Rachel Hampton. Alisha Montgomery is Slate’s VP of Audio. See online or on the inevitable next iteration of an anonymous gossip app. Do you want to say it?

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Rachel Anthony: Montage from eliminate immediate the creators of in the bubble last day and add the car comes be interesting sometimes internet sensation vs beer needs more than a minute to bring you the news. The popular under the desk news anchors spinning off their TikTok show into a full lamp news deep dive and making it a can’t miss part of your weekly routine. Every Tuesday, we highlights the baffling details of timely stories we often overlook in the chaotic news cycle. Then on Fridays, V takes a longer plunge into less reported issues that have nonetheless impacted society. They might even bring it some unexpected guests like their mom and will answer the questions on the minds of their listeners. Two Part Explainer, part thought starter show with a heavy dose of quirky personality and witty charm. B Whose goal is make you the most well informed and the interesting person in any crowd. The interesting from living out in media is out now on Apple, Spotify, tune in or wherever you get your podcasts.