Why I Don’t Care About Being Called a Basic Bitch

Courtesy of GlamBistro.com
Courtesy of GlamBistro.com

Most people could categorize me as a Basic Bitch, and I really don’t care.

I love ballet flats and sweater vests (I’m wearing both as I type). I think that headbands are killer when styled correctly. Nothing gets me going like a well-structured matching set or a crisp oxford button-up paired with mid-rise skinny jeans. I curl my hair in loose waves because the simple style flatters my face shape (not all of us are blessed with pixie-worthy cheekbones).  I love fall foliage and sweater weather, though I’m not a huge fan of the whole pumpkin-spice thing (that makes me different right?! I’m original, right?! I’m not basic, am I?!).

This desperate quest for originality must be rather exhausting. People who are “different” don’t spend the majority of their time avoiding being called “basic,” they’re far too busy following the path that most intrigues them while carving out a lifestyle that inspires others—whether or not said lifestyle includes daily trips to Starbucks is none of your damn business.

I understand that the term “basic bitch” is meant to represent more than fashion and beauty tendencies, but the whole concept is just such…bullshit. The entire obsession is just another form of marginalization, as explained in this article by The Cut:

“…the woman who calls another woman basic ends up implicitly endorsing two things she probably wouldn’t sign up for if they were spelled out for her: a male hierarchy of culture, and the belief that the self is an essentially surface-level formation.”

When you call someone basic, you are BASICally implying that a she who enjoys a glass of Pinot Grigio and a fashion magazine while winding down from work in a pair of leggings and UGG boots is incapable of having a complex set of dreams, desires, and life goals.

Hopefully some “Non-Basic-Bitch” comes up with another self-serving catchphrase soon. I personally prefer the term “Classic See-You-Next-Tuesday,” but I’ll leave it up to the professionals.

Are You a Savvy Tweeter?

twitter logo

A character count connoisseur? An algorithm aficionado? As it turns out, the big bad internet has got you beat. (Okay, at least it had me beat).

Yesterday afternoon The Upshot, the data-driven section of New York Times, put tweeters to the test. A new algorithm developed by three Cornell University computer scientists’ claims to outperform the average person in telling which of two similar tweets will be retweeted more. As I made my way through the quiz, I was pretty impressed with myself (though I tended to predict Diddy’s tweets better than President Obama’s so I’m not exactly sure what that says about my journalistic credibility), only to find that the algorithm beat me by 4 points.

This corresponding article by Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, goes on to explain why social media-ites and the rest of the digi-sphere must remain calm. While this algorithm is tremendously impressive, it doesn’t mean that we should all go pulling out our resumes just yet, and here’s why.

Correlation does not equal causation

You  thought I was done making Psych 101 course references in my blog, didn’t you? #Nope.

“We care about predicting retweets mainly because we want to write better tweets. And we assume these two tasks are related. If Netflix can predict which movies I like, surely they can use the same analytics to create better TV shows. But it doesn’t work that way,” write Mullainathan.

Basically, you could change your tweets to mimic those being retweeted more, but it won’t promise any change in your followers’ behavior. If I’m a bartender and 5 dudes order Michelob Ultras consecutively, it still wouldn’t make sense for me to keep one on deck for the next dude (because hopefully, he would NEVER order a Michelob Ultra and then we would date).

Quality vs. Quantity

The algorithm found that longer tweets were more likely to be retweeted…but that’s only because the lengthier tweets contained more content. Your best bet is to stick with the “less is more principle” when it comes to character count, but to pack as much content into your tweet as possible

Novelty

Another fault (IN OUR STARS! LOL!) of the algorithm is its inability to predicting what’s interesting…which is good, because otherwise I (along with other content creators and trend forecasters) would be out of a job.

Take viral videos for example. How much did you laugh at that baby that falls down when somebody sneezes? How hard did you laugh the 5th time you saw it? The same goes for celebrity/entertainment news. It’s novel to see how Justin Bieber is effing his life up when one source breaks the story, but when your entire feed consists of different sources relaying the same information you read before lunch, you’re more likely to skip over it. Therefore, while the tweet predictor can pick up on something that is drawing attention, it’s more likely to exploit it than anything else.

So go forth, my fellow tweeters! Tell me about your annoying co-workers or how you’re going DTS this weekend and I will proceed to retweet you if and when I feel like it.

Namaste.

Move Over Psychology, Facebook Is Making Some Serious Personality Assessment Moves

Attention incoming college freshman: I suggest you pre-order your Psychology 101 books instead of trading upperclassmen for a hand-me-down edition with a case of Bud Light. Why? There’s a new personality theorist in town: Facebook.

Skinner, Eysenck, Maslow and Freud are going to have to make some extra room at their lunch table (we hope that Zuckerberg wears pink on Wednesdays) because according to a new app created by Five Labs, our everyday actions on Facebook showcase enough of our personalities to generate immediate assessments (how are you feeling about that ” haha BRB lightin this blunt, YOLO” status right about now?)

After reading this NY Times post last week,  I decided to give the personality tool a try, and I’m definitely not complaining about being compared to industry leaders like Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg along with my forever WCW Jennifer Lawrence (I can’t take all the credit on this one- I post about red wine and embarrassing moments a lot), but Facebook still doesn’t seem like the most…reliable judge of personality.

blog 1What do you think? Is your Facebook Personality on point?

 

Finding Clarity in the Unexpected

chrisopher poindexter quote

The butt-dial has been a first-world burden since the dawn of the touchscreen phone, but late last week I was introduced to the butt-stalk via Instagram. I woke up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in my side and realized that I was sleeping on my cell phone (I know, I know, it’s horrible to sleep with your phone in your bed, but what if I came up with a witty tweet in my sleep? Was I supposed to GET UP and walk to my phone before transcribing my punchy thoughts? I think not).

When I went to open my home screen, I was surprised to find this quote pulled up on an Instagram account that I had never seen before. After retracing my cyber-steps, I realized that I had left my account open to the “Explore” page and had visited two different accounts unconsciously (it was clearly a tossing-and-turning kind of night).

The truth and beauty in this quote really startled me, and it got me thinking about my tendency to romanticize all past experiences, regardless of their nature. At first glance this sentiment certainly has romantic connotations, and it’s true — I do romanticize past relationships, adding dramatic flair to the blandest of memories (though as a writer I will say that my imagination propels me to fantasy land more than I’d like to admit). But this quote also applies to the most recent, non-romantic period in my life — the few months I spent working for a kick-ass publication in New York City, learning from some beyond-incredible people, and living out my dream.

In a sense I’m lucky, because unlike most of my romantic experiences, I won’t have to exaggerate and re-create my LHJ memories in order to look back on them fondly. I have no idea what the future has in store for me, but I do know that I’m fortunate to have such an awesome scene in my rearview. #LadiesForLifechrisopher poindexter quote