It Is Impossible to Believe How Mindblowing These Amazing New Jobs Are

Is this you? It might be you. Please let it be you.

Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidly growing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!

As explainer sites like and grow in importance, we are seeking a first-class EXPLAINER EXPLAINER to help readers make sense of the people who would make sense of the world for them. You will have the enviable position of capturing recent trends in explainers by writing between five and ten blog posts a day outlining those trends. While most of your time will be spent creating explainer explainers, you will also occasionally round up other explainer explainers to create explainer explainer explainers. To apply, explain yourself.

The modern newsroom is data-driven and traffic-driven. That’s why we’re looking for a DATA CHURNALIST. Like John Henry battling against the steam hammer, you will be responsible for tunneling through mountains of Excel spreadsheets and government FTP files to produce at least two dozen articles a day illustrated with pie charts. Also like John Henry you won’t be in a union. The ideal candidate has proven experience in correlating.

Feminism is changing—we’re changing with it! Our legendary women’s vertical launched as “Dworkinville” (2001-2007), was renamed “” after a rollup (2008-2009), then re-rebranded as “Slutbox Junction” (2010-2014). Now we’re just calling the site “Tits” and targeting it to men 15-79. Our last editor (aka Edit Queen) left to work for some magazine with salaries, so we need a new QUEEN, TITS. Who is the ideal candidate? He or she is a fifth-to-ninth wave feminist who can speak with authority about the patriarchy while mollifying advertisers and reviewing panties, simultaneously appealing to men but never mentioning the issue of class. If that’s you, send us a photo of you at the beach.

To the entire media establishment BuzzFeed is a big deal—its traffic is besting that of more established peers and it has hired nearly one-third of the people in New York City. That’s why we need an EDITOR, BUZZFEED. You will not edit BuzzFeed (apparently someone does that already) but instead will edit a new vertical totally dedicated to repeatedly explaining how BuzzFeed, despite simply being a very large and well-funded blog, represents the future of the media. Articles we’d like to see include: “Is this the future of media?” “Is the future of media this?” and “Media’s future?” The ideal candidate can work the words “platform” and “ecosystem” into anything.

Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketech platishforms? Then come work with us as an in-house NEOLOGIZER and reimaginatorialize the verbalsphere! If you are a slang-slinger who is equahome in brandegy and advertorial, a total expert in brandtech and techvertoribrand, and a first-class synergymnast, then this will be your rockupation! Throw ginfluence mingles and webutante balls, the world is your joyster. The percandidate will have at least five years working as a ideator and envisionary or equiperience.


Come help maintain viral aggregation’s secret shame! As READER, REDDIT, you will read Reddit and create the Redditorial that drives most of our traffic! Successful applicants will demonstrate the ability to avoid eye contact.

Our enterprise is seeking a full-time FAT SHAMER who can work across social media and blogs. Every day you will identify celebrities who have gained small or large amounts of weight and make remarks like “step away from the buffet table” &c., including the classic “oink!” Truly great fat shamers will not limit themselves to criticizing the bodies of famous women but will also draw attention to regular women who have been forced into the news cycle, including victims of violence and the mothers of slain children—because who couldn’t stand to lose a few? Successful candidates will be able to write the words “just sayin’!” seven thousand times per month without killing themselves. No fatties.

#Trendit! We have an immediate opening for a world-class OUTRAGE OPTIMIZATION EXPERT to furyhack our traffic across social media. The ideal candidate has proven abilities at composing rage pegs for any story and has demonstrated the ability to prefix any tweet with “THIS.” or “LISTEN.” Candidates will be required to flame out in two years and disavow their past views while encouraging their still-seething acolytes to “moderation.”

As our animal-based verticals have grown we are in need of someone with a liberal-arts-degree who can blog in the voice of a MEERKAT NAMED PHILBIN. For whatever reason the meerkat is like 80% of our traffic and the last person left to run the new Quantum Physics vertical at BuzzFeed. Help.

All positions are unpaid.

Next Story — Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace
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Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace

This is the third installment of a three part story. Read Part I, II.

III. Crime!

Real-Talk About The ‘Net

During a classroom discussion on screen names, Babs mentions that she thinks it’s weird that both of the screen names she wanted in her poetry group, “Huff” and “Puff” are taken. Teacher Bob has to explain that it’s not at all weird, it’s a coincidence that other people had those names. Babs, dibs exist in cyberspace. Babs is going to lose her damn mind when she has to get a new email address or a Twitter handle. Teacher Bob then asks Cousin Fred to define “coincidence” and cousin Fred does because he reads encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun (it says that) and he will grow up to correct people on Wikipedia.

“Of course, coincidences happen all the time,” said Teacher Bob. “And most of them are ordinary everyday coincidences. We’ve all had the experience of running into somebody you didn’t expect to see at the supermarket or the Burger Bear. Or when you’re about to call somebody on the phone, the phone rings and it’s the person you were about to call (51).”

I wish Teacher Bob was around when Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” dropped.

Teacher Bob then adds, “But some coincidences could be dangerous! (51)” Because foreshadowing.

Better Know A Rich Person

Eventually, Bonnie explains to Brother that she hadn’t been around because her uncle told her to keep her laptop use quiet until he rolled out the laptop program. One of my friends has pointed out that Squire Grizzly is giving off some strong Howard Hughes vibes. Anyway, Bonnie invites Brother over to the Squire’s, where she lives, for some homework and chill.

Squire Grizzly’s mansion is more like a castle than a mansion. There are at least four different architectural styles going on here.

This House Is Almost As Big Of A Mess As This Book

Squire Grizzly’s mansion is the Winchester Mansion, the Versailles house or any of these houses on the list of the largest homes in the US. It’s really ugly.

The Squire is building a moat because everyone hates him. Bears are good at swimming, so that seems like a waste of resources but whatever.

“My uncle is very security-minded,” Bonnie explained. “He has a good reason to be. While he’s a darling at home, he’s a very tough businessbear. You don’t get to be the richest bear in Bear Country without making some enemies (60).”

Bonnie also reveals that people also want to steal his paintings and antiques. And, I’m basing this on a strong hunch and nothing else, the Bear Feds probably will seize Squire’s assets one day.

Squire Grizzly just looks like an asshole.

Squire Grizzly will go on to be an early investor in Facebear, helping Mark Zuckerbear get to 500 million friends while making a few enemies. I’m extraordinarily interested in Squire’s backstory. How did he make his money? How illegal is what he is doing?

Brother wonders what it is like having a rich uncle bear and then the butler brought cheeseburgers, so the short answer: very dope. The Butler and Babs Bruno’s parents are the only adults at home in this entire book.

Free Cheeseburgers Are Well Worth The Drama That’s About To Happen

Poetry Doesn’t Pay

Babs was on a poetry chatroom/message board where all kinds of terrible poetry is being shared. Two users trade poems.

No idea what this could mean!

Before going to bed that night, Babs prints out all the poems in the chatroom. The next morning she goes through the poems and decides that she’s going to use the good ones to make a book.

That’s right, this kid is straight-up stealing intellectual property. I made a haiku for your book, Babs.

Hey Babs here’s a poem
Stop stealing people’s hard work
J/k you’ll get rich

I now know where The Fat Jew learned to steal.

On the way to school, Babs saw several more poems between Huff and Puff and freaked out. She ran to the schoolyard and shouted, “Emergency! Some kind of big crime is coming down on the Internet!” The kids all rush to tell Teacher Bob. Yes, she said “coming down.” Who speaks like that?

I Guess The Lesson Here Is That Threatening Violence Is Sometimes Justifiable.

Teacher Bob is justifiably skeptical of the student’s claims that a crime is being planned in a poetry chat room but he still has a look. He reads the notes aloud, because if there’s a murder plot, all the kids need to know about it. Brother realizes and shouts that “SG” is squire Grizzly. The classroom spins into chaos. Bonnie Brown, as anyone would upon finding out people want to murder their loved one, is freaking out. Teacher Bob then removes himself and Bonnie from the class and goes to get Principal Honeycomb.

Just kidding, that would make too much sense.

Teacher Bob continues reading poems while Bonnie continues to freak out. Babs Bruno runs and calls her dad, the police chief. Because this is a situation that needs to be handled by a child.

Babs gets Officer Marguerite on the phone but Officer M won’t put the chief on the phone because he’s dealing with an emergency too. At this point, Teacher Bob resumes adulting.

Teacher Bob grabbed the phone. “This is Teacher Bob, Officer Marguerite! We’ve got information about a crime — a threat to Grizzly Mansion! It was picked up on the Internet, and we’ve got the printouts to prove it!” He paused to listen. “Okay! Okay! Will do!” He crashed the phone down and said, “They’re dealing with the same emergency! They want us at the police station right away with these printouts (81).”

Teacher Bob then piles into the mini-van with the kids and they go to the police station.

Teacher Bob’s Mini-Van Fits His Entire Class Because It Is The TARDIS
  1. There’s a principal. He should be in the loop.
  2. There are other teachers, leave the kids.
  3. No cops could make it down to the school to pick up this info?
  4. The parents really should be notified of this.
  5. I can’t believe the police are using kids to help with your terrorism investigation.
  6. Is there 911 in this town or do they just depend on a connected cub?
  7. How many cubs does Teacher Bob’s van seat? By the way, there’s a cub in a wheelchair. There’s room for him and his wheelchair?

Moving on.

When the cubs get to the station, they’re impressed by how “calm and business-like” the station is. No part of what is happening is business-like.

The police display a threatening letter Squire had received earlier in the day next to Babs’ printouts. The chief points out that the first note is an extortion letter.

Bonnie, who is still watching this all go down, wants to know what they’re going to do about her aunt and uncle. The police chief calmly responds.

“They’re perfectly safe,” said the chief. “They’ve moved into one of the squire’s hotels. They and their entire staff have taken over the top two floors. Security at the hotel is one hundred percent. That’s where you’ll be living until we deal with this threat.


It’s still morning. Why was Bonnie allowed to go to school? If they moved the aunt and uncle in the time that she went to school, why didn’t someone tell the school or come and get Bonnie?

Chief Bruno goes on to explain that the SWAT team from Big Bear City has been called and then offers to show the cubs, including traumatized Bonnie, how the police use computers.

Teacher Bob wants to know why the extortionists are using the internet.

“It’s hard to say,” said the chief. “Maybe one of them is the mastermind and stays far from the action. Or, maybe, they’re afraid of phone taps. You can’t tap the Internet. Actually, the Internet is a pretty safe place for criminals. It was a zillion-to-one chance that Babs picked up their traffic on the Young Poets chat room. But I’ve got to get to work. We’ve got to start somewhere (86).”

The chief pulls up a list of all the criminals in town known for extortion. Based on Bab’s printouts he narrows down the list to bears who like bombing stuff. One suspect sticks out.

J. Arthur Bruin, who goes by the amazing alias “Lord Huff ’n’ Puff.” He certainly looks like the guy on paper:

Couldn’t be the guy, he’s in prison!

Oh, nevermind it was that guy and the case got solved.

The Aftermath

Gather ‘round kids, you’re about to see a clinic in poor journalism!

Later, Teacher Bob’s class is watching Chief Bruno being interviewed by a reporter.

And is it true that it was Teacher Bob’s class at Bear Country School that picked up on the computer traffic that solved the case?…And..that it was your very own daughter, Babs Bruno, who found that traffic on the Young Poets chat room? Have I got that right — the Young Poets chat room?”
“You’ve got it right,” said the chief with a glow of pride.

Bear Country News clearly has no ethics when it comes to revealing the names of minors involved in criminal investigations and, more importantly, why is the police department releasing this information? The police chief just went ahead and confirmed that his daughter and her classmates were responsible for bringing down this criminal syndicate. For a police chief that is very concerned about keeping kids safe of this internet, this is…it’s something.

And now we come to my favorite part of this story: why Lord Huff ’n’ Puff was allowed online. Was it a Bear Country jobs program? Nope. He doesn’t need computer training, he “…is a real computer expert. So much so that he was put in charge of the whole prison computer system (95).”

Screenshot from “Polar Bear’s Cafe.”

They put this criminal in charge of the entire prison network. Y’all. Y’ALL.

But surely the anchor will ask who let this happen and why.

“But wasn’t he supervised?” asked the anchor.
“Well,” said the chief, “the prison listens in on all phone calls and all talks between prisoners and visitors, but it’s pretty hard to supervise a computer. It takes just seconds to get messages out over the Internet. And the Young Poets chat room was a perfect cover (95).”

I would have asked why someone who was convicted of a plot to bomb a bank remotely was allowed near a computer. I’m also wondering about the area employment situation. They couldn’t find someone who wasn’t a inmate to be the sysadmin for the prison? Did they not have a budget?

I also like how the police chief just pulls a Jeb! Bush and says, “Stuff happens!” The police chief then went on to explain that his brother kept America safe after the first Lord Huff ’n’ Puff almost-attack. Probably.

But what a time it was when we were so young and free that we didn’t worry about mass internet surveillance and Tor was three years away from launching.

Although, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 restricted which internet communications the government could intercept, so the government clearly knew they needed to start paying attention to some people’s online habits. And in 1996, the first internet wiretap led to Julio Cesar Ardita pleading guilty of breaking into Harvard’s network and attacking other sites. A timeline of government spying that was a jumping off point for this paragraph can be found here.

Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that Lord Huff ’n’ Puff isn’t going to get away with what he did. According to Chief Bruno,

“I think it’s fair to say that his sentence will be extended and his computer privileges will be taken away (96).”

It’s not a privilege to be in charge of the entire computer network at the prison, it’s a job. There is a serious problem with inmates being exploited and paid significantly below minimum wage. Something tells me Bear Country Prison also contracted out its prisoners to make cheese for Bear Foods, a subsidiary of Whole Foods. I’m going to guess that the Bear Country Prison did not have a budget to hire a legit sysadmin. Well, at least Lord Huff ’n’ Puff is going to have a boring offline job now.

Chief Bruno does have some limits on what info he will spill to the press. He refuses to confirm whether the entire gang has been captured. Unlike his daughter’s name and school, the public does not need to know whether the violent criminal syndicate is still operating in their town.

Teacher Bob knows that Babs Bruno has the goods on the case, so he turns off the television and asks her if she has any details. Of course she does.

The SWAT team from Big Bear City caught Huff, the outside guy, in the moat outside of Squire Grizzly’s mansion with a bomb. The rest of the gang was up the road in a getaway car.

Given that the police had a ransom note already, they could have easily cracked the case by doing a simple stakeout. This book was written in 1999, I find it hard to believe no one involved watched Law & Order. Then again, based on everything in this book, that just might be the case.

But yay, the class helped solve the big crime. Everyone in the class is pretty stoked. Except one person…

Don’t Cry, Bonnie, You Got To Learn How Police Used Computers Today

Bonnie Brown. Bonnie is crying in a corner because HOLY SHIT, HER FAMILY ALMOST GOT MURDERED.

Does this school have any kind of support services for the kids?

Too-Tall makes Bonnie laugh and the kids tried to get to work.

In the end, all the students went back to normal. Nerds were doing nerdy things and bullies were bullying. That weekend, the entire class decided to go see a movie together and Bonnie Brown and Brother Bear sat together holding hands.

Enjoy Your Lady Friend…Until Squire’s Next Experiment Rolls Around

Wrap Up

That’s it. Thanks for sticking with this! I wonder what would happen if you gave a tween this book today. How would they reconcile the anonymous nature of 1999's internet with today’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? Would they have some of the basic logistical questions I had?

I could write some grand observations about children and the internet (and cybercrime, privacy and technology in education) but I’d rather not. I just wanted to share the most ridiculous book about the internet that I’ve ever read.

Next Story — Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace
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Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace

This is the second installment of a three part story. Read Part I.

II. A Catfishing To Remember

At one point, Teacher Bob has some real-talk with the cubs about internet safety. He gives them a lot of rules and, of course, several cubs ignore them.

Let’s have a look at the rules:

Just Some Suggestions For Staying Alive

The first rule should probably be: “Don’t use your real name for your email address” but instead it’s just don’t tell anyone in the chat room your personal information. Remember when people didn’t use their real names for social media? Thanks Zuckerberg.

It’s pretty hard to ask your parents about meeting someone from a chatroom when they have no idea what a chatroom is (because the school neglected to explain any part of this experiment to them) or they’re just not around.

Anyway, Babs Bruno shows this list to her dad, Police Chief Bruno and he stresses how important it is for cubs to stay safe on the internet. So I guess someone’s dad is home.

But Queenie McBear does not care about these rules.

Queenie McBear has a cousin named Bermuda who had been online for years and is allowed to date. She used Big Date! (“the biggest dating site in cyberspace”). Bermuda pressures Queenie into dressing older and trying internet dating.

The dream of the 1980’s is alive among 1999 Bear Country’s teens! And yes, that is really the chapter title.

Toot-toot! All aboard the question train!

How old is Bermuda? Is she over 18? There were not teen dating sites, per say. You just went to a chat room. She’s allowed to date but are her parents okay with her meeting strangers from the internet? I need more of a backstory on Bermuda and her hip, mature, fast cub life.

Bermuda accompanies Queenie to meet a boy from the internet at Pizza Shack.

“He said he was very tall and he’d be wearing a really sharp suit, a wide-brimmed hat, and a stud in his nose,” said Bermuda as she scanned the busy Pizza Shack scene. “Do you see anybody that looks like that? (69)”
That 1930's Gangster Lurking In The Corner Looks Like He Could Be Queenie’s Date!

They found the guy and he turned out to be Too-Tall in disguise. His gang dared him to “computer-date an older girl.”

Queenie and Too-Tall (and his wing-bear friends) all have a good laugh about this mix-up and go on their merry way to Burger Bear, where the younger cubs hang out, having learned that the worst thing that could happen to you if you meet strangers from the internet is that they could be your current boo. It doesn’t say that’s the lesson they learned but it’s the only one I could find.

Initially, Bermuda was pissed. She thought that she’d been set up by Queenie but then she realized it was all an innocent mistake and she went off to find her own date. Congrats on not getting murdered, kids.

LOL, This Is The Worst Possible Outcome!

Onward to Part III: Crime!

Next Story — Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace
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Brandi Reads: The Berenstain Bears Lost In Cyberspace

The following is a recap of the book The Berenstain Bears: Lost in Cyberspace, published in 1999. It’s allegedly for children 8–10 years old. You’ll see why I say allegedly. This 112-page book starts out slowly but, whew, the end is pure madness and you’ll want to stick with all three parts of my write up.

I. The Kids Get Laptops

The teacher, aptly named Teacher Bob, explains to that laptop computers are called “laptops” because they’re small enough to sit on your lap. The class bully, Too-Tall Grizzly, has clear rules for what goes on his lap.

“The only thing allowed to sit on my lap is my girlfriend, Queenie,” said Too-Tall…Queenie turned and made a nasty face at Too-Tall. She and Too-Tall had an on-again, off-again thing that was off at the moment(4).”
Screenshot from “Polar Bear’s Cafe.”

This book is for children in third through fifth grade? How old are these cubs? When I was in third grade, a bunch of the popular kids in my class decided to start “dating” each other and had fake dating ceremonies during recess. My pretentious prep school found out about this and brought in a psychologist to talk to all the third graders.

I get the feeling that Too-Tall also says a lot of homophobic stuff that got omitted from the story. But he just seems like he would be very upset that words typed by boys are on a screen on his lap.

A reoccurring theme in the book is Teacher Bob ignoring the insane things his students say and just wanting them to shut up. These kids are exhausting.

Teacher Bob tells the cubs that they each have a laptop (and will each be getting a printer) because the class is part of an experiment by some rich guy.

Upon hearing this, Queenie McBear asks all the right questions.

“Who chose us to be guinea pigs in an experiment?” she asked. “My mom says cubs can’t be used in experiments without their parents permission.” 
Teacher Bob smiled, “But Queenie, this isn’t a medical experiment or a psychology experiment,” he said. It’s just an ordinary school experiment. We do them all the time. Why, every time I try to teach you cubs something, it’s an experiment (5–6).”

Who is responsible? Squire Grizzly, Bonnie Brown’s uncle. He bought Bonnie a laptop. Since then, her grades had been going up and she was learning a lot inside and outside of school. Therefore, he’s sure that all the kids need laptops and everyone will be on their way to Brown Bear University or Williams Pawlege or Oxfurd University. Squire wanted to donate laptops and to the school and the principal, Mr. Honeycomb, agreed to a pilot program to determine if the whole school should get laptops.

Using your money to champion a project and then not really having an plan for implementation or consulting experts? Oh yeah, Squire is peak education philanthropist. One year at my prep school, someone donated a caboose to the playground. A full-size train car that we weren’t allowed to play in. It just sat there off the field we used to play touch football.

Shouldn’t parents know about this? Definitely. The internet at home is definitely their business. By the way, “Where are the parents?” will be a reoccurring question.

Is this experiment harmless? Ordinary school experiments can be psychological experiments. Can someone please get the Bear Country internal review board over to this school, stat. Every time you teach students it’s an experiment? Do you just 100% wing it every year? That’s cool that you’re not teaching to a test but…whew boy, how long have you been in the teacher game?

But maybe we all need to stop asking so many questions. Squire Grizzly’s rich niece with support at home got a laptop and now she has good grades, so just give all the kids laptops. Done and done. Fixing American education seems super easy. I’m going to open a charter school.

Across the room, Brother Bear finally has some answers about why Bonnie, his crush, has been so distant.

That Face When Your Girl Leaves You For Cyberspace

Oh, lost in cyberspace the title of the book! She’s just not into you, buddy. She’s not lost but she might have even found a new boyfriend, a polar bear in Canada.

Teacher Bob goes on to explains that the internet is called the Information Super Highway but then Ferdy, the nerdy cub corrects him.

“I feel that I must point out to you,” said Ferdy…“that hardly anyone calls it the Information Superhighway anymore. The new term is cyberspace.”
“All right, Ferdy,” said Teacher Bob. “Then cyberspace it is. Now, if you’ll all open your laptops, we’ll blast off (15).”

Teacher Bob has the patience of a saint.

Look At All The Magic In Cyberspace!

Getting On The Internet

At home, Brother tries to get online be he doesn’t know how so he calls Harry, the computer whiz. At first he can’t get through because everyone is calling Harry for help. He assumes because others are calling Harry but, I, a 90's kid, know it’s because Harry was on the internet.

Buckle up, I have some questions.

How the hell did these kids get on the internet? Was there a service? It’s 1999, so this is dial-up. How aren’t the parents yelling for these kids to get off the phone line? Do the parents even know why a printer showed up at their house earlier in the day? Why didn’t Teacher Bob explain to the kids how to get on the internet before they left school. Queenie McBear’s mom is going to be steamed!

At one point an “email” pops up on the screen from Teacher Bob, reminding the cubs to do their homework.

Let’s Make he Term “Laptoppers” a Thing

They know it is from Teacher Bob because he signs it with his web address: Look, I’m going to be honest with you, no one was learning much about how the internet worked in this book.

The cubs hang out in chatrooms that are actually message boards/chatrooms. Too-Tall hangs out in The Macho chatroom. The Macho chatroom is a place for cubs to trade bullying tips. It’s probably been shut down several times in recent years by bear authorities. Meanwhile, Brother Bear ignores his sister’s pleas for homework help to hang out on sports chatrooms.

The Face All Cubs Have When They Discover “Sports” On The Internet.

Throughout the book, the cubs are encouraged to consider whether the internet is good or bad. Spoiler alert: it’s both. Teacher Bob ends the experiment after realizing that computers help good students be good students and bad students continue being bad students. He and Principal Honeycomb decide not to expand the program.

Squire Grizzly is upset that because he paid a lot of money to donate those laptops. You know, the ones that no one asked him to donate. The ones that he agreed would be part of a pilot program that may or may not go forward. Unable to grasp the economic principle of ignoring sunk costs, Squire tries another tactic.

He concern trolls Teacher Bob. But what about the children?! They’ll be so disappointed! Teacher Bob, not here for Squire’s bullshit basically says, “Welp.” He then suggests that Squire trade the laptops in for desktop computers in a lab for all the students to use.

Squire Grizzly agrees to this plan because he’s probably going to try to run more experiments on students before opening a bullshit charter school across town.

Look at Squire Grizzly Plotting His Next Educational Conquest

Onward to Part II: A Catfishing To Remember!

Next Story — Stupid Tricks with Promoted Tweets
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Stupid Tricks with Promoted Tweets

Twitter’s Promoted Tweets are, at best, a necessary evil. At worst, they’re tweets from @Satan himself — brands shoving their unwanted products into your carefully-curated timelines.

But with today’s news that we’ll soon start seeing Twitter Ads outside of Twitter, I thought I’d take a deeper look to see if I could exploit Promoted Tweets for my own personal enjoyment.

I found this on Twitter’s official brand assets site, so I’m going to assume it’s safe to use.

Targeting individuals

Twitter supports promoting tweets to “tailored audiences,” a list of email addresses, phone numbers, or Twitter usernames for the people you want to target.

My first impulse was to use this to promote a tweet to a single person. This could come in handy in the workplace:

Or maybe saying hi to a friend:

Unfortunately, Twitter predicted this and returns a “too few users” error when uploading a list with less than 500 matching users.

So much for my plan to use Twitter for meeting requests.

(In theory, you could create a list of 500 inactive users and then add the one person you’re actually hoping to target, but that seemed like a lot of work.)

Targeting groups

You can, however, promote a tweet to a group of 500 or more Twitter users like, say, Twitter employees.

Or how about campaigning legislators for something you care about for a change?

Magic tweets

While making these campaigns, I noticed a little dialog box:

What does this mean? Anyone can post magical tweets in a semi-private and unlisted state, even without running a campaign. (Twitter originally referred to these as “nullcasted” tweets, but now calls them “promoted-only.”)

Each tweet will get a permanent link, but won’t show up in your timeline, Twitter’s search engine, or to anyone who follows you. Weirdly, they will be seen by anyone you mention in the text of the tweet:

And they’ll be the only person that sees it — until they reply to it publicly. At that point, Twitter will show the conversation to anyone who follows you both.

As far as I can tell, it’s absolutely impossible to discover a promoted tweet’s URL if you don’t run the campaign and don’t mention another user. Update: Alex Dunn points out that these tweets are discoverable through third parties like Topsy that have access to the full Twitter stream.

Want to have a tantrum on Twitter without the accompanying consequences? Go nuts.

It’s out there, but good luck finding it.

This seems like a particularly potent technique to use with fake social media predictions. I’m sure there are more creative uses too — let me know if you come up with one.

Keyword targeting

Twitter also offers the option of targeting people who’ve tweeted with keywords you enter, or exclude terms you don’t want. Pretty standard stuff.

But the fun comes with their Keyword Recommendations Tool, which taps the zeitgeist of the Twitter community to recommend “additional keywords we believe could be relevant to your audience.”

These matches can be, oh, a bit quirky. For example, on Twitter, if you enter in “idiot,” it recommends “asshole” and “deals.”

“Losers” suggests “Twilight.”

And “fucking” returns “iPhone.”

And you can click a link to get two full pages of recommended keywords, like these for “normcore”:

With “garbage,” we get Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Lana Del Rey:

Or “Gamergate”:

This could potentially be used for researching terms unique to individual subcultures or hashtags, or gauging audience sizes for particular terms on Twitter.

But mostly, it’s just stupid.

(Thanks to Neven Mrgan for the original inspiration for this post.)

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