Ordinary Corpse Collectors
In the eyes of Reddit users, hedge funds were nothing more than ordinary body pickers. Internet rebels rioted by buying up GameStop stock in droves. Fun and seriousness crossed in this action. On the one hand, it was a way to teach the establishment a lesson, on the other, it was a hobby. The promotion was extremely successful, as within three weeks they managed to raise GameStop’s stock price from $18 to $348. The surge was so unexpected and unprecedented that several hedge funds were forced to take a multibillion-dollar loss.
No connection but chaos and fragmentation
GameStop’s story is a striking example of how Internet culture is constantly affecting our society and economy, dividing it into two camps. To the previous example we can add the recent success of Will Smith, Elon Musk’s soap opera on Twitter or the Depp versus Heard lawsuit (see also Metagids #22). And in the Netherlands the Johan Derksen candle incident. People online are indiscriminately diametrically opposed to each other. Instead of connecting Internet culture, it paradoxically leads to the exact opposite: Internet culture is messy, chaotic, and fragmented.
Journalist Amanda Hess hits the nail on the head in her article “TikTok’s Amber Heard Hate Machine” for The New York Times. In the 1990s, the OJ Simpson murder trial ushered in a new era of 24-hour tabloid news, where celebrity worship and domestic violence merged into one nonstop national spectacle.
Turning reality into a simple meme
Almost three decades later, as the Depp-Heard trial makes clear, the presence of a camera in a courtroom is an invitation to use digital technology to adapt reality to one’s perceptions and encapsulate it in a simple meme. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube appear to be built solely for the purpose of “manipulating raw imagery in the service of a cult of personality, bullying campaign, or brand opportunity.”
Every day, hundreds of thousands of viewers huddle behind their screens to actively interfere with the lawsuit. Thus, in real time, they shape public opinion, which increasingly resembles a bad movie script. Johnny Depp is the hero of the quasi-cool movie and Amber Heard is the theatrical villain of an 80s erotic thriller.
“Television turned the celebrity trial into a 24-hour tabloid show. Social media turned it into a sport.”
The lawsuit between Depp and Heard ends this week. The internet crowd doesn’t care. The camps are already divided and prepared. The only thing missing is another victim. The media that colored the metaverse even more this week are the following:
1. Paris Hilton is the Queen of the Metaverse
Paris Hilton is the queen of the metaverse. Speaking to CNN Business, she says: “I’ve always been a covert nerd, obsessed with all things technology and the future. Now my new nickname is: The Queen of the Metaverse. Michael Inouye, an analyst at ABI Research, understands Hilton’s choice: “For celebrities, as it is for brands, it’s a new way to connect with fans and the public.
This can be at virtual events, concerts, performances, and more. It’s an opportunity to sell virtual stuff so fans can show their dedication in their real and virtual lives.” The question immediately arises, where is all the Web3 thinking? Didn’t Web3 intend to break the hegemony of the big technology companies, leaving control in the hands of the (decentralized) individual? Or is it again a utopian idea, which is already obsolete, because we are creating an even bigger dystopia with the metaverse?
2. Dominate the reptilians on TikTok
Reptilian creatures rule TikTok: As old as the road to Rome, this conspiracy theory seems to be making its way onto TikTok as well. The videos can be found under the hashtags #lizardpeople and #reptoid in which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle show strange facial expressions. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are also among the lizard people. Funny or very serious?