Should you Google that person? Handy flowchart resolves the great moral dilemma of our time

February 6, 2014 | 1 comment

Whether it’s your future boss, your daughter’s new boyfriend, or the guy who just asked you out, we’ve all checked the internet to see what dirt information we can find about someone on Google or Facebook, right? It’s in the public domain, so it seems innocent enough. Besides, the more information we know about someone new, the safer we feel about them.

Yet when I randomly looked up a friend online in a moment of boredom once, I discovered that he was a convicted felon. Given the timing and impact of his offense, I immediately questioned how well I really knew my friend. More than that, I couldn’t help but wonder how ethical it was that I had “snooped around” in the first place and found that piece of incredibly sensitive information that he no doubt wanted kept private.

Thankfully, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton have created this useful flowchart to help us when we’re considering looking up someone online. The flowchart’s advice to me would have been, “Don’t Google; Pick up the darn phone and ask them directly.”…

Google Flowchart

(via Design TAXI)

Old Spice is uproariously pranking people who search for embarrassing products online [9 pictures]

January 23, 2014 | No comments

For their latest viral campaign, Old Spice has littered the internet with garish, spammy sites purporting to sell things that nobody would want others knowing they bought. Well, it turns out you can’t actually buy these hilariously embarrassing products.

After a visitor has been at any of these sites for a few seconds, Old Spice spokesman extraordinaire Isaiah Mustafa walks out and starts shaming you…until you buy deodorant, I guess.

Here are some of their prank sites. Click the pic if you want the full-on experience…

Bargain Tattoos

Old Spice Prank Sites - 7

Flavored Soul Patches

Old Spice Prank Sites - 8

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Can you tell actual clickbait “viral news” titles from fake titles made up to parody the viral web?

January 8, 2014 | 2 comments

There’s a relatively new genre of clickbait titles around the web these days mostly used by sites not entirely dissimilar to this one. They’re ambiguous, dramatic, hyperbolic, and full of promises that they don’t always fully deliver on. They’re often smarmy and emotionally manipulative, if you want to be really negative about it.

But they work. You click on them, I click on them, everybody clicks. That’s why they exist.

Human nature being what it is, however, we don’t just click on them — we also become inured to them. We used to be interested in things that were amazing or incredible, but now amazing isn’t good enough. We want mind-blowingly breathtaking at bare minimum, preferably with a side of brain explosion. So the clickbaiters’ titles adapt to keep up, and we keep clicking.

Just because they’re effective, though, doesn’t mean they aren’t utterly silly. The site Headlines Against Humanity takes advantage of this increasing absurdity and turns it into a game. They ask, “Which headline is real?” and then give you two options and you have to guess which one they made up and which one is an actual article that you can give your coveted click to.

Here are a few examples…

Headlines Against Humanity - 04

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Google Maps’ glitches as abstract, other-worldly digital art [20 pictures]

December 30, 2013 | 1 comment

As Google continues to create the freedom to explore the globe from in front of your computer, there are of course small mistakes along the way. So there is a link at the bottom of every Google Maps page for users to report these errors. So it is a race against other vigilant users for artist Emilio Vavarella as he collects and shares these images of Google’s glitches in a series titled “Report a Problem.” He explains…

I traveled on Google Street View photographing all the “wrong landscapes” I encountered before others could report the problems and prompt the company to adjust the images.

The resulting collection is random and absurd, but also at times accidentally fascinating…

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 14

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 15

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 16

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How one blogger used Facebook likes to get Mercedes to give him a car

December 19, 2013 | No comments

Hannes Coudenys is a blogger in Belgium. Not unusually, he likes nice cars. Also not unusually, he can’t afford one. But what does make him unusual is that he devised a way to get a car company to give him one of the cars he couldn’t afford.

His scheme was to take the free car, create a Facebook page, and then only drive the car one kilometer per like that the page got. After hearing his simple but unique pitch, Mercedes agreed.

On his first day, Hannes got 84 likes. “Not enough to get back from work,” he says, “but still…”

Since then it has continued to grow…

Despite doing well, he’s still only at 32,000 likes. I wonder how long he can keep the momentum going before he has to hand back the keys.

Regardless of when that happens, it’s been a good run based on a cheap and impressively creative idea. If you feel like helping him (and Mercedes) out, go ahead and like his page.

Upworthy was ranked first on Facebook in November. You’ll never guess who came in second…

December 10, 2013 | 18 comments

Today, The Atlantic looked behind the scenes of the viral web by analyzing Facebook shares in November. In addition to other numbers, they ranked sites by number of Facebook shares per link posted. Blowing away all competition is Upworthy.

But coming in a distant second is…

22 Words!

Best Website on Facebook

This success is mostly due to six posts that were popular last month…

These got shared, people visited, and traffic spiked. It’s been quite a ride.

But that isn’t all that makes a site like ours worth running. We like the spikes, of course, because they keep us solvent, but what we appreciate most — the people we’re most thankful for — are our regular readers who stick with us even if we have a boring day from time to time. Or, to put it another way, we like readers who are interested in a post like this one. :)

Thanks a lot for reading 22 Words and for making it (in November, at least) the second best website on Facebook.

YouTube sensations as books — 5 very viral videos that are now also in print

December 3, 2013 | No comments

With six million views and counting, Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman’s “How to Be Alone” has moved into print, part of what seems to be a growing trend of repurposing YouTube content for bound editions. Even publishing powers such as Disney and Simon & Schuster have jumped on board.

Here are several more examples of YouTube videos turned into books…

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What happens when you miss a drone delivery from Amazon

December 2, 2013 | 6 comments

By now you’ve almost certainly heard that Amazon is developing drone delivery that will bring you what you order in less than a half-hour via unmanned helicopters.

Well, QuantumPirate was just lucky enough to be an early tester of this service, but unfortunately missed his delivery. Instead of his package he got this notice…

Missed an Amazon Drone Shipment - 01

His pic has gone viral, and now he’s having to deal with Amazon’s corporate ire…

Missed an Amazon Drone Shipment - 02

Where the designs and symbols you see on your computer come from [8 pictures]

November 29, 2013 | 3 comments

The folks at Visually have put together an intriguing look at “The Origins of Common UI Symbols“…that is, the little icons that you don’t really even think about on your computer but that inform you where to click and what buttons to push all the time.

Here’s a selection…


Origins of Common UI Symbols 1


Origins of Common UI Symbols - Version 3

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Amazing stop-motion film made with 852 Instagram photos from 852 different people

November 21, 2013 | 4 comments

For most people, Instagram is a great way to share images of the random things we all see and do during our days. So to compile over 850 of these images to create a short film following a theme is no small feat. Art directer Thomas Jullien set out to do just that.

He writes…

Instagram is an incredible resource for all kinds of images. I wanted to create structure out of this chaos. The result is a crowd source short-film that shows the endless possibilities of social media.

The video consists of 852 different pictures, from 852 different instagram users. If you are one of them, shout and I will add you to the credits.

(via Devour)