I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “The internet is forever,” but it’s not true. Once-vibrant internet communities with hundreds of thousands of users can disappear forever at the moment some corporation deigns to unplug a server, and people delete their own social media histories and all the time. So this week, I’m taking a look at a handful of minor trends, events, dangers, and more that will likely be forgotten forever by next Tuesday.
Rumor of a Mr. Beast appearance causes supermarket chaos
It’s easy to forget how famous online celebrities seem to younger people—certainly their kind of stardom doesn’t lend itself to red carpets or press junkets like “traditional” famous people—but a recent near-riot at a Piggly Wiggly supermarket demonstrates the pull of the e-famous.
The mob scene at the Piggly began with a rumor that YouTuber Mr. Beast planned to show up there to pay for the groceries of everyone shopping. Check out the video to see how many hopeful people loaded up carts with food, only to find that Mr. Beast was not, in fact, picking up the tab.
Whether Mr. Beast ever intended to film a video in which he pays for people’s groceries is unknown; neither is how the shoppers came to believe the rumor in the first place. It could have been a real appearance that got leaked, someone pulling a prank, or just baseless speculation that got out of hand.
It wouldn’t be out-of-character for the Beast to pay for strangers’ groceries—he’s known for acts of performative generosity, from giving a YouTube subscriber their own island to paying people $100,000 to quit their jobs—but giving away groceries seems pretty “basic” for his channel, which is usually larger-than-life.
On the other hand, the grocery clerk in the video seems very authoritative when she says, “Mr. Beast is not coming today due to security issues… he can’t even get here,” suggesting that word of a planned secret appearance actually leaked.
Dangerous TikTok trends of the week
People stop me on the street all the time and ask, “Steve, why do you occasionally highlight the dangerous trends spreading among the youth on TikTok?” Well, I do it because I’m here to save lives.
This is part 3,426 of my 8,043-part series “Don’t ever do anything you see online.”
Did you have an “almond mom?”
As every parent knows, your children watch you as closely as members of the German Stasi watched their neighbors in East Berlin in 1973. And kids remember what you do too. Case in point: the growing number of Millennials on TikTok posting about their “almond moms.” Almond moms are those mothers who make their entire lives about dieting.
Toxic diet culture has been around for a long time, and I’m happy that young people are starting to unpack that by pointing out that their mothers slurping down Slimfast, devouring fad diets books instead of food, and saying things like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” probably weren’t sending the best messages about food to their children. Videos like this one, in which model Gigi Hadid confesses to her mom, “I was feeling really weak; I had like half an almond,” are heartbreaking, especially since her mom responded, “eat a couple almonds,” instead of “Honey, eat a goddam turkey sandwich or something.”
Two minor trends you didn’t know existed
Here are a couple of never-going-to-be-huge youth trends that are still kind of cool and interesting:
- There is a small community of people online whose hobby is collecting retro yearbooks. I totally get it—there’s something fascinating about paging through someone else’s memories. The inexplicable in-jokes and hints of scandal left in the notes left from friends, the forgotten hairstyles and clothes, the club photos and bad graphic-design—it all adds up to a do-it-yourself biography of someone you will never meet.
- There is another small community of people online who are into “crying makeup.” That is, makeup that gives the illusion that you have recently been crying. A video from Zoe Kim Kenealy addresses these “unstable girlies” and advises applying cosmetics to give yourself a puffy lower lip, reddened eyes, and the illusion of tears to complete that “I have just been weeping” look. I am in favor of redefining traditional beauty standards, but this makes me want to ask, “is everything OK?” to a whole generation of women.
YouTuber Danny Gonzalez doesn’t seem like the kind of person I would like to spend time with, but he has nearly 6 million followers on YouTube, so I’m clearly in the minority. In Gonzalez’s latest video, “Trying To Find The Worst iPhone Game 2,” he scrapes the bottom of the app store barrel in search of the very worst iPhone game ever made.
I’m fascinated by the concept of the “worst” anything, because the choices people make for the “worst movie” or “worst game” are almost always uniquely, remarkably bad, and once something is unique and remarkable enough to make you ask WTF? can you really even call it “bad” anymore, let alone “the worst ever?” To me, the worst iPhone game are totally unremarkable—so unremarkable that no one will ever play them, probably. Either way, all of the iPhone games in this video look extremely unpleasant, so I’m happy I can see them in a video instead of actually playing them.