Kit Connor Social Media

Kit Connor: ‘if you look for people saying bad stuff about you, you’ll find it’

Kit Connor and Joe Locke share the cover of the GQ UK Men of the Year issue. It’s a great interview and the spread is lovely. Kit and Joe are the stars of Netflix’s Heartstoppers. I didn’t realize that nobody expected Heartstoppers to go anywhere, so everyone was caught off guard by its overnight success. Kit has been acting since he was eight. He’s had some big credits too, like a young Elton John in Rocket Man or as Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz’s son in The Mercy. But he led a relatively ‘normal’ life until Heartstoppers. Now he’s being chased down by fans for pictures and autographs and getting invited to things like Paris Fashion Week and film premieres. He’s also seen the ugly side of fame, like his recent brush with social media. The interview was done, at least in part, after Kit came out as bisexual following fans harassing him about queerbaiting. Kit said it was inevitable because if you go looking for it, you’ll always find the bad stuff on social media.

On the instant success of Heartstopper: (It’s) like you’ve just got your licence and you’re suddenly asked to be a getaway driver. There are certain things that you’re asked and expected to do, but you feel so unbelievably unequipped.

On attending his first Paris Fashion Week: It was the first time it felt like a new world. I did not deserve it at all. I felt like a little kid. You’re doing it on a big stage for people to see and you’re just not prepared.

On deleting his Twitter: Social media is not a window into my soul at all… so [it] was the best decision of my life.

On the downside of social media: In many ways it’s great, but as someone who’s in the public eye, if you look for people saying bad stuff about you, you’ll find it. You want to know what people are saying. Everyone wants to be liked, which is slightly heartbreaking when you’re in the position of someone like me or Joe.

[From GQ]

Kit’s right about finding what you’re looking for, especially if it’s bad. What’s sad is sometimes you aren’t looking for bad, but you find it anyway. The problem is the bad jumps out so loudly, even in a sea of praise. There’s something about social media that amplifies everything as well. When it turns against you, it feels like a mob all at once and there never seems like enough space to defend yourself. And trying to decipher the trolls from the rational critique – it’s maddening. Especially for a couple of people like Kit and Joe who, like Kit said, just want to be liked.

The GQ interview gave some context for Kit’s experience with the queerbaiting incident. So many kids have held the cast up as role-models. The end of the article is a sweet scene of a fan coming up with a fresh tattoo symbolizing the show. Her mother, a teacher, congratulates the men on giving a voice to so many. Kit said in the interview the show, “was for us and the representation we never had.” So I understand fans wanting to know the honesty of the characters and the actors playing them. But there’s a difference between asking a question and badgering an actor into addressing the matter to the fans’ satisfaction. Kit was robbed the opportunity to come out on his own terms. Again, that’s a lot to take from an 18-year-old whom fans claim to love.

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Photo credit: Instagram and Getty Images

Kids Parents sarah michelle gellar Social Media

Sarah Michelle Gellar compares social media usage by kids to getting a face tattoo

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. have two kids, Charlotte, 13 and Rocky, 10. For the most part, they’ve kept the kids out of the spotlight, choosing to speak about their parenting instead. Both Freddie and Sarah have spoken about the fact that they consider themselves to be stricter parents than most. They really target the kids’ phones when it comes to rules, like limiting time and not allowing phones at the table. Sarah recently told Yahoo’s So Mini Ways parenting series that she also restricts the kids on social media and doesn’t allow them to have their own accounts, primarily because once it’s on social media, it’s out there forever. Sarah likened posting online to getting a face tattoo, saying what her kids want now, they’ll regret later.

As a mom of two children, Sarah Michelle Gellar runs a tight ship.

The Do Revenge star, 45, says she and husband Freddie Prinze Jr. don’t allow their children, 13-year-old Charlotte and 10-year-old Rocky, to have their own social media accounts.

“Our rules are probably stricter than most. Our kids don’t have social media,” Gellar tells Yahoo Life’s So Mini Ways. “They’re allowed to look sometimes when it’s our phones. Sometimes, our kids will be like ‘you guys are the strictest household!’ But I say, ‘yes, but everyone still wants to come here!’”

To emphasize the permanence of what’s posted on social media, Gellar told her kids that it’s the equivalent of getting a Paw Patrol tattoo on your face at age 5.

“Because at that age, there’s nothing better than Paw Patrol. And now you’re 10 and [13], and you still have these tattoos on your face and it’s not even who you are anymore,” explains Gellar, who rose to stardom on All My Children and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “That’s a very hard concept for young kids to grasp.”

Still, she has no qualms about enforcing the rules with her busy family.

“I believe kids need to know what their limitations are, and they actually thrive in that environment. We’re not mean, we’re not unnecessarily strict, but we have rules,” the actress says. “And the same way I abide by my code of rules, I expect the same from our children.”

[From Yahoo]

Sarah and Freddie’s sense that they’re strict is likely relative to raising kids in Hollywood. Social media is used differently in their circle. Many people, including Sarah and Freddie, use it as a part of the livelihood. So they’re more liberal when it comes to their kids because it’s so prevalent in the home already. In that environment, I’m sure Sarah looks like the strict mom not letting her kid have a TikTok. By contrast, their rules are pretty normal for my kids and their friends, and I’m not considered strict. But everyone follows my rules when they are in my home, just like my kids follows their friends’ parents’ rules in their homes. But that’s suburbia, not moneyed Hollywood.

I like Sarah’s face tattoo analogy, actually, because of the reasons she cites. And those are the kinds of calls parents need to make for kids before they get free reign of unlimited content. Because a child grows and matures so much in those years. And Sarah and Freddie aren’t isolating their kids from their Hollywood world, just introducing it slowly. Sarah recently brought Charlotte to her Do Revenge premiere, which was incredibly rare to see a Prinze child on the Red Carpet. Charlotte looked adorable in a hot pink double-breasted suit and tennis shoes, too. So maybe Sarah and Freddie are Hollywood Strict, but they seem to have it figured out for their family.

Side-note: this clip of Sarah getting emotional watching Selma Blair compete on Dancing With the Stars will also make you emotional. *sniff*

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Photo credit: Avalon Red, Getty Images and Instagram

instagram Social Media

Instagram is losing users to more photo-centric apps after trying to copy TikTok

Kylie Jenner is the most popular person on Instagram with 365 million followers

I keep hearing about this on NPR and it’s worth talking about. Instagram has recently been testing changes to its algorithm, particularly by favoring reels – short videos that mimic TikTok’s format – and more heavily featuring ads and suggested content. Instagram is not staying in their lane and is instead going after that sweet Gen Z market share. This is annoying many users, particularly artists, and high profile users like Kylie Jenner have complained about it. What’s more is that users are going to more photo-centric platforms like old school Flickr and Tumblr and new alternatives including Glass. Axios has a quick writeup that breaks it down very well and there’s more at the source:

Photographers, designers and other creative types turned off by Instagram’s pivot to TikTok-like features are tentatively moving to alternative platforms.

Why it matters: Instagram has long been a digital gallery space for artists of all kinds, helping them find an audience, connect with other creatives and land paid gigs.

But the Meta-owned platform’s gradual evolution into an ad- and shopping-heavy app that favors short-form video and algorithmically selected content has left the future of digital art-sharing in flux.

The context: Instagram has been de-emphasizing still imagery for years. But more recent changes, such as a focus on shopping and a big increase in the amount of suggested content that appears in users’ feeds, has forced a reckoning.

Instagram became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to its focus on “visual storytelling,” writes photographer and tech journalist Om Malik. But, he says, it’s now “all about marketing and selling substandard products and mediocre services by influencers with less depth than a sheet of paper.”

Instagram head Adam Mosseri recently walked back some of the most controversial changes, though he signaled that the Instagram of yore will not be returning.

A handful of rival apps and platforms are reporting recent spikes in user activity.

They include relatively new upstarts, like Glass (for photographers of all kinds) and Grainery (for film photographers, specifically).

Even old favorites like Flickr — a pioneer in digital photography-sharing that owned the loyalty of serious photographers in the mid-2000s — are seeing a boost, and some creatives are turning back to Tumblr, another longtime artist haven. Still others are headed to VSCO, which got its start as a photo editing tool before pivoting into a sharing platform.

[From Axios]

I used to use TikTok occasionally but have uninstalled it because it’s incredibly addictive. I also noticed that it was changing what I was interested in. I only use Instagram a few times a day and of course it’s not as immersive as TikTok, but it’s for photos and those don’t keep your attention as long. I have noticed more reels and suggested posts in my feed there so I just haven’t used it as much. The change in Instagram’s format shows what the apps strive for – to keep us glued to them to capitalize on our time and shape our interests as consumers. They don’t want to provide a service, they exist to make money. It’s what happens when companies favor growth above user experience, and it has such a chilling effect on individuals and on society. They try to get us hooked so that they can sell our time. Instagram surely did all kinds of calculations about the trade off in revenue for changing their business model. They rolled some of that back but they’ll keep pushing to favor cash over people.

As an aside I’m so grateful that Twitter remains the same. It will surely change eventually but it’s my favorite platform. Pinterest deserves credit for staying true to their userbase too.

Plastic Surgery Social Media

Young influencers are getting free plastic surgery in exchange for promotion

There is a horrifying uptick of young influencers receiving discounted cosmetic procedures in return for promotion. And the result is not just teens and early 20-somethings endorsing alterations to fellow teens and younger. Once they’ve had a taste of cheap procedures, the influencers can’t stop, giving rise to a new a form of body dysmorphia brought about by availability. And the core of this tragic trend is a cash grab for an industry already out of control. NBC News has an in-depth look at this and here’s a segment from that.

From Botox to breast implants, medical providers have turned to social media for a new kind of personalized advertising that comes directly from influencers. And in the growing industry of cosmetic providers, there are few to no rules when it comes to advertising body modifications, which opens the door to offering teenagers free, unlimited cosmetic procedures.

NBC News spoke with 12 social media personalities with audiences ranging from under 100,000 to more than 10 million followers who detailed how they feel pushed to look perfect in real life and online. This has led younger creators in their teens and early 20s to get cosmetic procedures, ranging from lip filler injections to plastic surgery — many of which they received at discounted rates. Many expressed regrets about some of their procedures. Six of them described feeling addicted to body modification.

“If you have an iPhone, it has affected you,” Sebastian Bails, a TikTok star with 12.8 million followers, said. He said he got his first cosmetic procedure, lip filler injections, when he was 18.

“I got my lips done, not because I was insecure, but because I was offered free lips,” he said. “Who is going to say no to free lips?”

[From NBC News via Yahoo!]

I would say no to free lips – and I have thin lips. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to change was my nose, but I don’t know that I would even do that if it was offered. Would I have accepted all this crap at 18? Hell yes. Because at a certain age, a person makes a choice to alter something because *they* have never been happy with it. But the message people this young must hear is that someone else is not happy with their features so they *need* whatever procedure is being offered to them. People quoted in the article admit they love attention, which is apparent from their vast followings. And having this work done is giving it to them. Sebastian Bails, who’s quoted above, saw his “likes and views and shares” go up with every procedure and he just kept getting more work does because if it. At one point, he said he had almost 20 syringes in his face every time he went to the doctor.

But there are age restrictions in place so how is this happening? Only board-certified plastic surgeons get reviewed, but med spas don’t, and they’re doing most of the work.

Individuals between ages 20 and 29 only receive 3 percent of total filler procedures and only 1 percent of total Botox procedures, according to 2020 data collected from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ pool of board-certified surgeons. Teenagers make up an even lower percentage, according to the same data.

But that data doesn’t account for med spas, an industry valued at $4.8 billion in 2021, that is loosely regulated. The spas have become popular destinations for simple procedures such as Botox and fillers.

I appreciate the few people quoted in the article who came clean. But almost everyone involved is doing major CYA. TikTok said they aren’t to blame because they don’t allow unethical sponsored ads. So the influencers do “shoutouts” and tag the businesses instead. It’s a simple workaround that everyone knows. The influencers say they aren’t to blame because they make it very clear they are just doing these procedures for themselves and never push them on anyone else. They are influencers solely because what they post sways their followers, they know that. The below board businesses don’t try to absolve themselves while the board certified businesses say they counsel their patients before having procedures done. I don’t buy it. I was “counseled” out of a procedure at the age of 36. If they honestly thought the patient shouldn’t have one done, these numbers would not exist in people this young. This is all frightening. I need to recheck all my kids’ social media to see who they are looking at.

This influencer quoted in the article is 19 years old:

Photo credit: Instagram

ashley tisdale Books Social Media

Ashley Tisdale bought hundreds of books the day before a tour of her home

As if we didn’t have enough controversy this week, Ashley Tisdale has entered the fray. Only she did so unwittingly when she asked her husband to buy some books. Here’s how she pissed off book lovers. Ashley enjoys renovating homes, having grown up watching her contractor father, Michael, her whole life. And she loves to show them off. So Ashley invited Architectural Digest over for an Open Door video. For the AD video of Ashely’s current home, there is a particular scene that caught everyone’s attention, the one in which Ashley said she padded her bookshelves for the shoot. Here’s the video. I’ve queued it up to the bookshelf/admission part at the 3:22 mark:

For those who can’t watch the video yet, Ashley stood in front of a bookshelf, the only bookshelf in the video from what I saw, and admitted that those shelves had been empty a few days prior. She explained that her husband, Christopher French, believes books should be collected and bookshelves filled throughout a lifetime. However, when Ashely got the AD call for this video, she kiboshed the slow-growth plan and told him to go out and “buy 400 books.” And people took exception:

I… am speechless.

— Sarah Caldwell (@sarahccaldwell) March 29, 2022

you did NOT buy 400 books just to fill up your stupid shelves @ashleytisdale girl what???

— 👁🖤👁 (@cindita_m) March 30, 2022

I hope @ashleytisdale donates these books, otherwise this is a sad moment. This is supposedly a look at your home, why fake it? Either you, your publicist, or @ArchDigest have decided that authenticity is overrated.

— RHOHalifax (@aj_hfx) March 30, 2022

It’s not snobby to call out pretend libraries. It’s snobby to populate shelves with books to appear as if you have a library. Just put pictures and vases and curios and call the shelving a display case instead of a book case. 🤷

— Agora the Masked Hermit (@whosphobic) March 31, 2022

Because it‘s an accomplishment. You wouldn‘t put a diploma you didn’t earn on your wall. So why put books you didn‘t read on a shelf? The art is *in* the book. Not the book itself. People doing this tell me they‘re shallow without telling me they‘re shallow.

— Agent of Change (@escalisation) March 31, 2022

That’s a sampling, Buzzfeed has more and, of course, Twitter is on fire. Many people also had the same reaction I did, which was “we’re mad about her buying books?” That means some bookstore had a banner day. This is not an unheard-of practice. Bookstores have a thing called Books by the Foot (or Yard) specifically for these types of requests. I wouldn’t have been bent out of shape if they had just grabbed a bunch of books for their shelves, but Ashley also specified that her husband purchased the books. So if I’m forced to defend this, my guess is he probably selected a bunch of titles he or they were interested in. I can’t justify questioning someone for this and I consider myself a book enthusiast. Ashley also said she rarely uses her pristine kitchen that has no pantry or her gorgeous pool because it’s usually covered in shade. Where’s Cooking and Swim Twitter on those comments?

Ashley caught enough heat that she actually felt she had to address it. She explained – wait for it – she was exaggerating. That and she merely admitted to something almost everyone else does for their videos:

Let’s clear this up. There are some of my books from over the years in there but yea 36 shelves that hold 22 books I did not have and any interior designer would have done the same. They do it all the time, I was just honest about it.

— Ashley Tisdale (@ashleytisdale) March 30, 2022

The only negative thing I could say is that instead of medicine cabinets, I go through people’s bookshelves, so if it doesn’t reflect who she is, I wouldn’t know it. But I don’t look at shelves to judge people, more to see if our tastes are similar enough to ask for book recs. And I always ask first, so they could tell me if they hadn’t read the books. Anyway, poor Ashley. She wanted to show off her beautiful home, which I grooved on. I like color more than she does but I love the design of the house and most of the furniture. Not wild about her kitchen, but she admits she went for style over function. I love her yard. Her drought resistant landscaping is gorgeous! I could grab one of those phony books off her shelf and read by her neglected pool all day.

ps – Christopher replied to the brouhaha as well:

(1) Support local used bookstores when (2) staging for photoshoots and (3) don’t worry if people have opinions about it, because some people will always feel the need to have an opinion about anything, no matter how trivial.

We got most of them from @IliadBookshop ! The best.

— Christopher French (@iamfrench) March 31, 2022

Photos via Instagram and Twitter

Anderson Cooper Social Media

Anderson Cooper on Instagram: I feel worse, I can’t imagine what teens feel

I have mixed feelings about social media due to my age and some of the horror stories I’ve read. While I love to check in with the people I’ve met online, I’m sometimes left with feelings of inadequacy. And it turns out, I’m not alone. Anderson Cooper expressed the same thoughts on his show, 360 with Anderson Cooper. He was speaking with his guest Jennifer Gryglel, an associate professor of communications at Syracuse University. Recent testimony by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has brought more attention to how Instagram negatively affects teen body image and self esteem. Anderson said that while he enjoyed the sites he frequented, he often felt worse about his own life. And if he, an adult, felt that way, he can’t imagine what an insecure teen feels.

“What we’re seeing on Instagram is an imminent threat to teenagers. I am seeing self-harm,” Jennifer (Gryglel) said on the program. “I’m talking about starvation… teenagers cutting themselves.”

“I’m on Instagram and I enjoy it. I follow friends and look at art sites and things like that,” Anderson said, but then added, “But I gotta say, it depresses me. I mean, I leave feeling worse than when I got on.”

He continued, “I feel worse about my own life, I cannot imagine what a teenager feels. I mean, I’m supposedly an adult. What some kid feels looking at other people’s lives and how their lives seem much more exciting than their own.”

[From Just Jared]

As I have said before, what Anderson is talking about is exactly why I left Facebook. (Eliminating all the toxic misinformation with it was just a bonus.) But I really felt bad about myself while scrolling through my friends lives. I know people tend to post their best days, but I still couldn’t convince myself my life was equal to theirs. I tended to focus on parenting, about which I am insecure anyway. I was left feeling woefully inadequate as a mother every time. It happens on Instagram but I’ve gotten better about logging off when I need to. I don’t have to worry about comments. I rarely get them and when I do, they are almost always nice. (Thank you to my IG followers – you’re the best!) So I believe Anderson. Even with his money, fantastic blue eyes, famous family, exciting job, gorgeous homes and fancy friends, I’m sure even he gets depressed on Instagram.

The comments Jennifer Gryglel made about the threats to teenagers – man. I’m sorry to be a broken record but I don’t know how teens cope today.




Photo credit: Instagram

instagram Social Media Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney on social media: ‘It’s the most unhealthy part of my life’


You may know Sydney Sweeney from her work in Euphoria or The White Lotus, which has been

picked up for a second season. (Season two will be following an entirely new cast at a different resort. Euphoria is also coming back for season two, having filmed earlier this year.) Sydney stars alongside Justice Smith in Amazon’s erotic psychological thriller The Voyeurs, out this Friday. The movie is about a young couple who spy on and get entangled with their neighbors. Director Michael Mohan has said that the film is an statement on social media stalking. In a recent interview, Sydney called social media unhealthy and explained that it gives her anxiety. Below are a few more details from The Independent:

Director Michael Mohan has called it a commentary on the culture of “stalking” social media has enabled.

“It’s the most unhealthy part of my life,” Sweeney, 23, told the Press Association. “The fact that I am second guessing and having anxiety over posting a picture is sickening.”

She said she believed this particular side of internet culture is a topic that has not been explored in film before.

“I’ve never seen a movie, especially present day, explore the detrimental side of our society,” she said.

“Because you’re constantly comparing yourself to their lives, what they’re wearing, where they are, what they look like, and I think that’s something that [my character] Pippa totally has a lot of problems with, and she’s comparing herself to across the window and the couple.”

[From Independent]

For me social media is not just about voyeurism and cyber stalking although I find that concerning. My biggest issue is people comparing themselves to other people’s curated lives. Sydney said she gets anxiety before posting a picture and that she is constantly comparing her life to others. It is so dangerous to have this mindset. So many people create a fantasy life on social media that isn’t real. Honestly I don’t know the solution to this. We could encourage folks to not compare or compete with what they see on their timelines. But that would be like speaking to a wall.

I agree with director Mohan that social media has enabled people to participate in exhibitionism, voyeurism, and stalking. The sad truth is most people who are addicted to social media don’t recognize what they’re doing. I have spent less time on Instagram lately because I don’t want to put so much on display or watch other people’s lives. I look forward to seeing The Voyeurs and am waiting for season two of Euphoria. In the mean time I hope Sydney and others like her are able to find balance in their social media usage.

Here’s the trailer for The Voyeurs:

photos via Instagram