Category: psychology

“The internet is a devastating wasteland”: How…

“The internet is a devastating wasteland”: How social media could be making musicians sick:

Making and sharing music has never been more accessible than it is right now. Even as listeners, we know this: we can get our music on Bandcamp and SoundCloud, no major labels required. But along with the access to technology and the unprecedented ability to share music with people anywhere in the world, the emotional baggage that can come with fame can plague even the smallest independent artist.

“[The internet] is this devastating wasteland where everybody is emoting and creating,” says Sally Gross, a music industry vet turned course leader and principal lecturer in the Music Management graduate program at University of Westminster, London. “Social media and the democratization of the distribution of music, which so many people see as an amazing new frontier, had me thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, what is going to happen to all these people?’”

Gross’s previous experience working firsthand with artists and her current role teaching young musicians about the business inspired the study “Can Music Make You Sick?” Co-authored with Dr. George Musgrave, a senior lecturer in Gross’s MA program, the study was commissioned by Help Musicians UK, a charity established in 1921. Currently under the leadership of Richard Robinson, Help Musicians UK’s goal is to support musicians from the early talent development stages through to retirement; the organization also provides assistance during times of crisis, including crises related to mental health.

Part One of “Can Music Make You Sick,” a pilot survey with input from 2,211 participants, was published in 2016 by University of Westminster’s non-profit music industry information hub, MusicTank. The survey participants are self-identifying musicians in the UK. With the survey, Gross and Musgrave set out to discover how these musicians feel about their working conditions and how they perceive working in the music industry to affect their well being. “[With] the unbelievable amplification of the abundance of music and the value of music seeming to disappear, what was going on in the lives of musicians?” Gross says. “If music and artistic expression is so good for us, what’s on the other side of that?”

In their research, they found that huge numbers of musicians suffer from anxiety and depression and that musicians are at risk to suffer depression three times more than the general public. Although artists “find solace in the production of music,” the study describes trying to build a career in music as “traumatic.” “Musicians feel there are gaps in existing provisions and that something needs to change,” the study reads.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

Rise of the Internet Metal Stars: How the game…

Rise of the Internet Metal Stars: How the game is changing:

I moved to Los Angeles over a year ago to take another stab at professional music, and one of the first projects I became involved in was called Meytal. It is a band created around YouTube megastar drummer, Meytal Cohen. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Meytal is an Israeli female drummer, who made a name for herself doing covers of rock and metal songs on YouTube.

Her online stats are astronomical – Over 128 million plays and 850,000 subscribers on YouTube, over 1.3 million Facebook “likes”, and a Kickstarter campaign to create an album of original material raised over $140,000. What’s really incredible is the level of engagement. Meytal recently posted a picture of her with a cat on Facebook, and it has 28,000 “likes”, 173 shares, and 450 comments. Even massive bands with 4-5 million “likes” don’t get that level of engagement; especially for something as quaint as a selfie with a cat. I was brought into the band near the completion of the album that was crowdfunded. The other band members include Threat Signal’s Travis Montgomery on lead guitar, Eric Emery of Skyharbor on vocals, and the multi-talented Anel Pedrero on bass and backing vocals. The Meytal album, Alchemy, has already sold over 10,000 copies in a little over a month of release, and even charted #104 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, #1 on the New Artist chart, and #5 on the Metal/Hard Rock chart during the album’s first week of release. All of this has been accomplished with no label, no radio, and no touring. It’s astonishing.

Before meeting Meytal and dipping a toe in this world, I had no idea this type of success was possible without taking the traditional path of joining a band, slugging it out in shitty clubs, sleeping in vans and on floors, peddling demos to labels and promoters, and dealing with general grind of trying to make it. Even going back to the Myspace days, there were questions whether these social media numbers would translate to real world album, merch, and ticket sales. New media has proven those questions have been answered with a resounding, “Yes!” I wanted to highlight some talented musicians who have made an impressive name for themselves almost strictly through social media and promotion via the internet.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

The Follower Factory

The Follower Factory:

In November, Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations. Yet their creation and sale fall into a legal gray zone.

“The continued viability of fraudulent accounts and interactions on social media platforms — and the professionalization of these fraudulent services — is an indication that there’s still much work to do,” said Senator Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating the spread of fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Despite rising criticism of social media companies and growing scrutiny by elected officials, the trade in fake followers has remained largely opaque. While Twitter and other platforms prohibit buying followers, Devumi and dozens of other sites openly sell them. And social media companies, whose market value is closely tied to the number of people using their services, make their own rules about detecting and eliminating fake accounts.

Devumi’s founder, German Calas, denied that his company sold fake followers and said he knew nothing about social identities stolen from real users. “The allegations are false, and we do not have knowledge of any such activity,” Mr. Calas said in an email exchange in November.

The Times reviewed business and court records showing that Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality television stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED speakers, pastors and models. In most cases, the records show, they purchased their own followers. In others, their employees, agents, public relations companies, family members or friends did the buying. For just pennies each — sometimes even less — Devumi offers Twitter followers, views on YouTube, plays on SoundCloud, the music-hosting site, and endorsements on LinkedIn, the professional-networking site.

The actor John Leguizamo has Devumi followers. So do Michael Dell, the computer billionaire, and Ray Lewis, the football commentator and former Ravens linebacker. Kathy Ireland, the onetime swimsuit model who today presides over a half-billion-dollar licensing empire, has hundreds of thousands of fake Devumi followers, as does Akbar Gbajabiamila, the host of the show “American Ninja Warrior.” Even a Twitter board member, Martha Lane Fox, has some.

Three Types of Twitter Bots

  • A scheduled bot posts messages based on the time. The Big Ben bot tweets every hour.

    Watcher bots monitor other Twitter accounts or websites and tweet when something changes. When the United States Geological Survey posts about earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area, the SF QuakeBot tweets the relevant information.

    Amplification bots, like those sold by Devumi, follow, retweet and like tweets sent by clients who have bought their services.“Social media is a virtual world that is filled with half bots, half real people,” said Rami Essaid, the founder of Distil Networks, a cybersecurity company that specializes in eradicating bot networks. “You can’t take any tweet at face value. And not everything is what it seems.”

  • Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    Jered Threatin

    Jered Threatin:


    Jessica Lussenhop’s article is bloody brilliant, one to mull over with a nice hot drink and ponder – don’t skim good journalistic writing.

    Update: 19 December 2018

    “The publicity stunt for this is done,” Jered Eames assured me at the end of our interview. “Anything I’ve said to you is factual.”

    To prove that he was indeed the one that tipped off the media to the hoax Eames forwarded me 16 different news tips sent from the “E. Evieknowsit” account. Four of them were sent to two different general BBC news tip email addresses, and the earliest of those was dated 4 November – five days before the first stories broke.

    My colleagues looked for the emails, but because those inboxes are routinely purged, they had nothing.

    After we first published our story, I began reaching out to reporters at the other outlets who had allegedly been sent emails. The earliest one was reportedly sent on 2 November to the “tips” inbox for the entertainment magazine Variety.

    “Yes, we got this email,” a helpful Variety reporter wrote back, attaching a copy with the exact same text that Jered had shared with me.

    Then I looked closer. The timestamp on Jered’s copy said it was sent on “Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 12:16 PM”. The copy from the Variety reporter read, “Sat, Nov 17, 2018 at 4:32 PM”.

    An editor at MetalSucks, which did some of the earliest breaking stories on Threatin, could not find an alleged 7 November email that Jered shared with me. Instead, he found a different email from Evie in their inbox, pointing him to a YouTube clip from one of Threatin’s empty shows. It was dated 17 November.

    As I went down the line, I found that the New York Times, Ultimate Classic Rock and Metal Insider all got the “E. Evieknowsit” email on 17 November. But by this date, these outlets had already extensively covered the Threatin story.

    Finally, the BBC’s IT specialists managed to recover two deleted messages from “E. Evieknowsit”.

    Both were sent on 17 November, less than an hour apart.

    When I texted Jered to tell him what I’d found, he said he would respond.

    RICHARD BENTALL: Delusions, Paranoia and Socia…

    RICHARD BENTALL: Delusions, Paranoia and Social Identity:

    Lunctime lecture for you guys from Professor Richard Bentall. A fascinating breakdown of how social identity and mental health are so closely connected.

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    Joe was great guest to have on – the interview…

    Joe was great guest to have on – the interview ran long as it was just fun chatting to him. The Awakening was featured in today’s show but we could only fit a snippet, so here it is in full.

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    It was fun recording with The Sunny Devils at …

    It was fun recording with The Sunny Devils at their rehearsal, but it meant only my bootleg recording got on the show. So, here is My Undoing as it should be heard.

    They’ve also got more on their website and spotify, go check ‘em out.

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponso…

    Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content:

    Tapping through Palak Joshi’s Instagram Stories recently, you might have come across a photo that looked like standard sponsored content: a shiny white box emblazoned with the red logo for the Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus and the number six, shot from above on a concrete background. It featured the branded hashtag tied to the phone’s launch, and tagged OnePlus’s Instagram handle. And it looked similar to posts from the company itself announcing the launch of its new Android phone. Joshi’s post, however, wasn’t an ad. “It looked sponsored, but it’s not,” she said. Her followers are none the wiser. “They just assume everything is sponsored when it really isn’t,” she said. And she wants it that way.

    A decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out. Now it’s a sign of success. “People know how much influencers charge now, and that payday is nothing to shake a stick at,” said Alyssa Vingan Klein, the editor in chief of Fashionista, a fashion-news website. “If someone who is 20 years old watching YouTube or Instagram sees these people traveling with brands, promoting brands, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do everything they could to get in on that.”

    But transitioning from an average Instagram or YouTube user to a professional “influencer”—that is, someone who leverages a social-media following to influence others and make money—is not easy. After archiving old photos, redefining your aesthetic, and growing your follower base to at least the quadruple digits, you’ll want to approach brands. But the hardest deal to land is your first, several influencers say; companies want to see your promotional abilities and past campaign work. So many have adopted a new strategy: Fake it until you make it.

    Sydney Pugh, a lifestyle influencer in Los Angeles, recently staged a fake ad for a local cafe, purchasing her own mug of coffee, photographing it, and adding a promotional caption carefully written in that particular style of ad speak anyone who spends a lot of time on Instagram will recognize. “Instead of [captioning] ‘I need coffee to get through the day,’ mine will say ‘I love Alfred’s coffee because of A, B, C,’” Pugh told me. “You see the same things over and over on actual sponsored posts, so it becomes really easy to emulate, even if you’re not getting paid.”

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusi…

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

    threatin Archives | MetalSucks

    threatin Archives | MetalSucks:


    To be honest, if you want to get a handle on all the twist and turns in this story you’ve gotta go back and read from the beginning. Going backwords works too if you’re that way inclined I guess.

    Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion