The Promise of the Internet: Sleep Influencers and Dancing to Death on a Moving Truck | Opinion

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

If you’re not from an era when phones had a purpose, and an hour-long call to New York City could set you the equivalent of a monthly payment on an i-Phone from AT&T when it was known as Ma Bell, perhaps a little explanation is a must.

A pen you may ask? It’s a low-tech device once used to communicate over long distances when you used your hand to press it against paper.

And if it were something of significant life impact, profound or witty, it would eventually make its way into thousands, if not millions.

As for who F. Scott Fitzgerald was, he was a curious forerunner of social media influencers/bloggers who were referred to as essayists, short story writers, and novelists.

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

No, the Jazz Age isn’t when point guard John Stockton led the Utah Jazz to the promised land of the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 only to miss both times.

It refers to a time when America was shocked by the launch of instant communication to the masses better known as commercial radio.

“Influencers” could reach thousands of people who turned a knob with devices connected to wireless technology known as radio frequency instead of those just within earshot.

No longer did you have to go to a jazz club in New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles to hear trendy music. You could turn on the radio in Peoria and listen to everything.

It laid the groundwork for the creation and standardization of cultural tastes and patterns of discourse that override regional and local interpretations.

Radio was a medium that spread racial stereotypes like wildfire across the nation with shows like “Amos ‘n Andy.”

People didn’t have to leave the comfort of their living room to interact, even one way at a time, with complete strangers

Radio, as it matured, introduced demagogy to the airwaves.

The extravagant attire of the costumes of the time was adopted by young people.

Flapper dresses — long, skintight flapper dresses — which today’s Kardashians would see as frumpy burlap sacks — were all the rage much to the chagrin of the old fogies.

The shocking 1920s equivalent to the crack addiction of many of today’s young males were baggy, pleated, deep-cuffed pants.

Fitzgerald would have had a field day in the internet age exploring the excesses, superficiality and interplay of the self-proclaimed enlightened that masks emptiness and becomes boring due to its repetitiveness.

This also applies to those who are on the cutting edge and need to go further to stay relevant to the digital world in which they circulate.

Consider the evolution of social media as a hint of the potential of the superficial quantum and vast void of face-to-face human interconnection as a harbinger of Mark Zuckerburg’s Meta Universe yet to come.

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

It’s here you’ll see the stunts that made John Belushi’s character in “Animal House” look like he was being held and channeling Emily Post.

It’s also where Andy Warhol’s theory of 15 minutes of fame is whittled down to just 15 seconds, if that’s the case.

It’s a place where not one sucker is born every minute, but about a dozen every second.

Facebook’s younger cousin, TikTok, the latest refinement of the technology that landed men on the moon, gave us risky dancing on moving dance floors and sleepy influencers.

First the moving dance floor. We’re not talking about the gymnasium floor portraying itself in the prom scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life” playing the Charleston sending revelers splashing into the pool below.

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

A 25-year-old man died on a Houston highway on Monday.

Police, based on a video the man was apparently recording and sharing on Facebook, said he was dancing on the roof of an 18-wheeler trailer as it hurtled down the highway.

Whether he jumped onto the trailer or climbed onto it while it was parked doesn’t matter.

His desire for 15 seconds of fame in the vast bowels of social media cost him his life when the truck went under a bridge and he crashed into the overpass.

As far as sleep influencers go, this is an expansion of the marketing gimmick in the 1930s when a man was paid to “sleep” in a store window in New York City in his pajamas to demonstrate how restful a mattress was. specific while passers-by gasped.

While that was likely a one-off gig, TikTok has elevated it to a career.

The king of sleep influencers — even if he looks like he’s sleeping on a single bed — is Jakey Boehm.

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

Boehm says he makes an average of $35,000 a month.

Boehm adds to the entertainment value by having trick lights, sirens, and other sounds that “wake him up” when someone buys him a virtual gift that he allows them to choose from.

They can also shell out over 50 cents to $600 for a variety of other irritating disruptions, hence his $35,000 monthly take.

Other sleep influencers aren’t so funny. I’m just a big nap if, as Fitzgerald might say of the rich he’s distorted, a “big bore.”

Duane Olson, who is 25 and lives in Hyde Park in New York, just sleeps.

He goes to bed with a sign above his headboard that says “Only me sleeping.”

He has around 13,000 followers of which more than a few volunteer to send him some cash while they watch him sleep and supposedly dreams of no sheep but shearing TikTok followers.

He was able to make about $400 a 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.