Why are Katy Perry’s sharks famous?

As I mentioned in my blog last week, I did not watch the Superbowl. I did, however, catch recaps and commercials on the web throughout the night. I haven’t yet committed to watching the halftime show, but I have noticed one thing – those sharks have taken over the Internet.

Since the Superbowl last Sunday, I haven’t logged on to Twitter once without seeing a picture of those two back-up dancers dressed as sharks. Without even seeing the halftime show, I’ve become a huge fan of the shark jokes – I’ve retweeted a couple of them without understanding the context just because the sharks look ridiculous.

The popularity of memes takes things like creepy halftime costumes and non-responsive football players to the next level. It blows my mind how things go viral so fast – the Superbowl wasn’t even over and my Twitter feed was flooded with pictures of dancing sharks.

After some research, I’ve learned that the joke isn’t just about the shark costumes – Twitter also exploded with the hashtag #leftshark because the shark on the left messed up the choreography. The hashtag went viral. People tweeted things like “Are you #leftshark or #rightshark?” and “#leftshark for president!”

The most fascinating thing about this situation is that who played the left shark is still not completely clear. The right shark, Scott Myrick, wrote “right shark” in his Twitter bio and made jokes about how he “finally made it.” See photo below.

shark 1

The left shark, on the other hand, is more mysterious. One backup dancer, Bryan Gaw, uploaded a picture of the two sharks on Instagram and simply said “Yep. The rumors are true.”

We’re all pretty sure he’s the left shark.

It’s unclear how long these shark memes will dominate the Internet. Until something else happens in the media (cough cough… Grammys tomorrow night?) we will just have to continue making new jokes about the sharks. They still aren’t old to me, but I’m giving it a week. Until then… long live #leftshark.

shark 2

Social Media Makes Us Look Perfect

This school year, my best friends and I made it our mission to take more pictures when we go out and do fun things. We all did a terrible job documenting our freshman and sophomore years, and for some reason, that really bothered us.

This year, I have managed to take pictures every time I’ve gone out with my friends, with the exception of one night. And the morning after that one night, my first thought was, “Noo we forgot to take pictures!!”

No one can deny that our generation is slowly becoming obsessed with making our lives look awesome on social media. We document every moment of our lives, whether they are truly phenomenal or we’re just trying to make them seem that way.

Over Christmas break, I went to the beach for the day with my two best friends from home. It was my first time seeing them in over 4 months, and we had a great time – we went to lunch, walked on the beach and stopped at our favorite drive-in on the way home for burgers and shakes. Unfortunately, all three of us spent so much time on our phones filtering the Instagram photos we planned to upload and the Snapchat stories we posted that I don’t even remember the conversations we had.

This happens a lot lately. In fact, any time I do something slightly out of the ordinary with my friends, it seems like none of us are in the moment. It even seems like we care more about how we portray our lives on social media than how are lives actually are.

It’s important to keep in mind that people only share the best moments. The couple who posts #womancrushwednesday and #mancrushmonday pictures of each other every week on Instagram is most likely the same couple who fights every night. The sisters who post constantly about how perfect their family is most likely argued over who got to post the picture first. (I’ve witnessed this exact situation.)

Whether it’s a trip you go on with your family or a night out with your friends, I challenge you, and myself, to unplug. Make it your goal not to take a single picture and instead to actually enjoy the experience as it happens. In a world of constant Internet communication, this seems borderline insane – but I believe we’ll find the taste of the ice cream we just Instagrammed will be much better than the feeling of getting 100+ likes.

I kind of watched the Superbowl.

Tomorrow, if someone asks me if I watched the Superbowl, I’m probably going to say yes.

I didn’t actually sit in from of the TV and watch a football game, but through content shared on social media, I was able to get just as much out of the Superbowl as I would have if I glued myself to a couch for 4 hours. (The football game would have been irrelevant to me either way… I can’t follow a play to save my life.)

I watched about 30 of the best commercials on BleacherReport.com. I saw clips of Katy Perry’s halftime performance on Snapchat, and I know what each of her costumes looked like. I know Missy Elliott kind of stole the show. I know the Patriots won by 4 points.

Last year, there were almost 25 million tweets about the Superbowl on the night of the game. This number undoubtedly increased this year because social networking continues to grow in popularity. The ridiculous number of tweets about the Superbowl left no Twitter user uninformed about the game. In fact, viewing Twitter tonight, I got a literal play-by-play without even searching the Superbowl hashtag. If I wanted to know who was winning, I opened Twitter and refreshed my timeline. If I wanted to know which commercial to watch (this is honestly more interesting to me), I would read which commercials my friends were tweeting about.

For someone like me who would never dedicate 4 hours to a football game, media via social networks is a game-changer. It’s a great way for everyone to stay in touch with the Superbowl – an event that is important to football fans and pop-culture fans alike, even if it’s for different reasons.

I’m not saying I’ll never watch the Superbowl again. In fact, I love the idea of ordering a pizza and pretending to be invested in a game being played by two teams I have no connection with. But I will say the Internet came in clutch tonight.

Pinterest Problems

Despite the growing popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest has managed to stay in the race. I’m a Pinterest user myself – I scroll through a list of pins about fashion, food and fitness a few times a day for inspiration and the occasional cookie recipe. But if I want to shop online, Pinterest isn’t my source.

According to a study by Curalate, about 50% of Pinterest pins link to web sites that are either outdated or don’t exist. In other words, the sweater that I repinned this morning has most likely been sold out for a year. In fact, every time I get on Pinterest to browse pins, I see at least five pins that I pinned in high school. When I shared the Curalate statistic with my friends, everyone immediately related.

“Oh my god I know,” my friend Hannah immediately gave her two cents. “That literally happens to me every day. There’s a watch I’ve been wanting and every time I follow the link it says it’s been sold out. And I’ve been seeing it on Pinterest for two years.”

The problem with this is that looking at empty content isn’t a fulfilling way to use social media, and therefor Pinterest might not be a sustainable social media platform.

Twitter, Instagram, and now even Snapchat, thrive because of their constant feeds of new content. If I get on Twitter, I’m almost sure that I’m going to see original tweets and timely retweets of timely news stories. If I get on Instagram, the content is almost always new. If the photo was posted by a company, I know that product is probably still available. If I get on Pinterest, it’s because I have excessive time on my hands to look at photos that have no context.

The more social networks grow, the less time anyone will have to mindlessly scroll through old content. Unless Pinterest finds a way to connect pins to online retailers, and not allow sold out content to be republished, I imagine the app will slowly die out. But in this downfall lies the opportunity for Pinterest to become the ultimate online shopping network… more on that later.