The promise of the Internet: Sleep influencers and dancing to one’s death on a moving truck

TikTokers, as F. Scott Fitzgerald may have written, “they are different from me and you.”

If you’re not from the era when phones had a single purpose and an hour-long call to New York City would set you back the equivalent of a month’s payment on an AT&T i-Phone back when it was known as the Ma Bell, maybe a little explanation follows.

A pen you might ask? That’s a low-tech device that was once used to communicate over long distances when you use your hand to press it on paper.

And if it was something that had a profound, profound or intellectual impact on lives it would eventually reach thousands, if not millions.

As for who F was. Scott Fitzgerald, was the forerunner of social media influencers/bloggers who were called columnists, short story writers and novelists.

He tried to make a living enlightening humanity about the brilliance – and excess – of the Jazz Age.

No, the Jazz Age is not the time when point guard John Stockton took the Utah Jazz to the promised land of the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 but he came up short both times.

It refers to the time when America was encouraged by the release of fast communication to many people better known as commercial radio.

The “influencers” could reach thousands who responded with devices connected to a wireless technology known as radio frequencies instead of the ones in the ear.

You no longer had to go to a jazz club in New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles to hear trendy music. You can turn on your radio in Peoria and import it all.

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It has set the stage for creating and establishing cultural preferences and speech patterns that go wild over local and local takeovers.

Radio was a platform that spread racial misinformation like wildfire across the country with shows like “Amos ‘n Andy”.

People didn’t have to leave the comfort of their living room to interact – albeit somewhat at the time – with complete strangers

Radio, as it grew, introduced deagoguery to the airwaves.

Outerwear according to ancient times is adopted by young people.

Flapper dresses – the long, slinky flapper dresses – today’s Kardashians would consider gunny sacks – were all very offensive to the old fogeys.

The shocking equivalent of the 1920s and the crack addiction of many of today’s young boys were wide, fringed, and deeply buttoned pants.

Fitzgerald will have a field day in the Internet Age that explores the excesses, shallowness, and interactions of self-proclaimed enlightened people who fill in the blanks and get bored with your repetition.

That goes even for those on the fringes who have to push the envelope to stay relevant in the digital world they surround themselves with.

Consider the evolution of social media as a demonstration of the power of how little and how big the gap is for face-to-face interaction as a precursor to Mark Zuckerburg’s coming Meta Universe.

Turn to TikTok to see where we’re headed on a journey that began on Nov. 2, 1920 when KDKA in Pittsburgh became the first commercial radio station to go on the air.

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This is where you will see the scenes that made John Belushi’s character in “Animal House” appear to be banned and driving Emily Post.

This is also where Andy Warhol’s famous 15 minutes of fame theory was reduced to 15 seconds, if that.

It is a place where a sucker is not born every minute, but often a dozen or more every second.

Facebook’s younger cousin TikTok – the latest technological development that took man to the moon – has given us dangerous dancing on mobile dance floors and sleepover influencers.

First is the moving dance. We’re not talking about a high school dance floor gym in “It’s a Good Life” as it plays in Charleston sending revelers plunging into the swimming pool below.

Instead, we’re talking about challenges – made and said – on TikTok.

On Monday, a 25-year-old man met his death on a Houston highway.

The police, based on a video allegedly recorded by the man on Facebook, said he was dancing on the roof of an 18-wheeler while running on the highway.

Whether you jumped on the trailer or rode on it while it was parked doesn’t matter.

His desire for 15 seconds of social media fame cost him his life when a truck passed under a bridge and hit the road.

As for sleep promoters, this is an extension of marketing in the 1930s when a man was paid to “sleep” in a New York City storefront window in his PJs to demonstrate how relaxing a particular mattress was as passersby stared.

Although that was a one-and-done gig, TikTok elevated it to work.

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The king of sleep advocates – even though it looks like he’s sleeping in a twin bed – is Jakey Boehm.

The 28-year-old from Australia’s Gold Coast climbs out of his bed every night at 10pm to entertain TikTok fans around the world by tossing and turning.

Boehm says he earns about $35,000 a month.

Boehm adds entertainment value by having lights, sirens, and other sounds that “wake” him up when someone buys him a physical gift that he lets him choose from.

They can also rake in upwards of 50 cents to $600 for many other annoying distractions, hence his $35,000 monthly take.

Some sleep promoters are not so exciting. They just snoozed a lot if Fitzgerald could say about the crooked rich, “a lot of boredom”.

Duane Olson, 25 years old and living in Hyde Park, New York, recently fell asleep.

He goes to sleep with a sign above his headboard that reads “I’m just sleeping.”

He has about 13,000 followers and more than a few volunteered to send him a few bucks as they watched him sleep to advertise that he may not be dreaming of sheep but TikTok fans ran away.

He was able to collect about $400 or more per month just by sleeping.

So much for the breathless promise made in the 1990s that the Internet would usher in a new Age of Enlightenment.

This column is the opinion of the editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the views of the Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. They can be reached at [email protected]


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