Where do people who get kicked off Twitter end up?


June 17, 2019

Today, safaris try something new and sleep trackers don’t do what they claim to, but first…
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As Twitter’s controversy continues, Parler’s rival platform attracts ex-Tweeters

Parler, which calls itself a “non-biased free-speech driven” social media platform, saw a surge of 200k new users in recent weeks as disgruntled users abandon Twitter.

Parler defines itself in opposition to Jack Dorsey’s little blue bird — but, in reality, the company’s fate is tied to Twitter’s.

A business built for the banned

In 2018, a number of politically radical accounts — ranging across the political spectrum from Alex Jones’ InfoWars to the antifa group Smash Racism DC — were suspended from Twitter, prompting backlash.

So Parler launched in 2018 as an “alternative” to “lack of transparency in big tech, ideological censorship and privacy abuse,” offering safe harbor to people banned from Twitter.

After the platform attracted a few high-profile Twitter defectors including ex-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani and far-right activist Laura Loomer, Parler became popular among people who felt “policed” by platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

People on Parler have one thing in common…

Hatred for Twitter.

Thanks to Giuliani (a famous Trump supporter) and Brad Parscale (Trump’s campaign manager and a proud Parler account-holder), most early Parler users were right-wing Americans who believed Twitter was unfairly biased against the American right.

But most of the 200k users who recently joined Parler are Saudi Arabian nationalists — who also hate Twitter. 

The rapid influx of new users doubled the amount of people on Parler in less than a week, causing the platform to continuously crash. Now, Parler’s focused on building its platform to handle even more future free-speech refugees.

Meanwhile, at Twitter…

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who has been in hot water for months for allowing too much hate speech on his platform, is under pressure from Congress to take an even more active role in policing his platform.

Technically, Twitter is currently not responsible for its users’ content — even if it’s fake or defamatory.

But, a coalition of lawmakers led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff is pushing for social media companies to actively moderate their platforms to prevent manipulation — which could drive even more Twitter users to Parler.

Quite the Parler trick, huh?
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Safaris go sustainable… because that’s what the (rich) kids are into these days

Wealthy foreigners have “gone on safari” in Africa since the 1800s. 

As tourists abandon rustic rhino-hunting for sustainable sightseeing, tour operators are constructing a new version of Africa for today’s tourists — and it’s built on imported Tesla batteries instead of imported rifles.

It’s time for… (*enthusiastic marketer leads drumroll*)… a rebrand!!

Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway went to Africa to kill its elephants; Prince Harry and George Clooney go to save its people. But some things never change: Celebrities who safari want to do it in style.

So, to attract celebrities with progressive preferences, tour companies are buying electric safari vehicles, building sustainable lodging, and focusing on eco-tourism.

But it’s still not exactly accessible to everyone…

Like people who actually live in Africa, for instance.

Most safari packages still start at prices of $750 per person per day — and can cost several thousand dollars depending on the level of luxury.

Like the lavish hunting expeditions of the Roosevelt era, these over-the-top eco-excursions are still geared toward wealthy foreigners, not local Africans. 

Sustainability itself is a win. But the fact that tour companies prioritize the environment for tourists — while members of the African middle class, who often can’t afford safari vacations, don’t share that commitment — shows that the impact of new, green safaris is complex.

» Safari, so good… or not
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When it comes to buying sleep trackers, some experts say… sleep on it

A new sleep age is upon us. From biometric wearables to night stand devices that track your movement, many sleep trackers aimed at improving your sleep have flooded the $28B sleep market.

But, when it comes to the effectiveness of these gadgets, The New York Times reports that some sleep specialists think companies like Fitbit and SleepWatch may be dreaming.

Welcome to the world of ‘Orthosomnia’

In a 2017 case study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a team of researchers found evidence to suggest sleep trackers often provide inaccurate data, and actually increase sleep anxiety — that could lead to heightened symptoms of insomnia.

It was in this journal that the unhealthy obsession with achieving perfect sleep was coined as “orthosomnia” — a fixation that could train you to practice bad sleep hygiene (like looking at a screen before bed). 

Of course, researchers at sleep tech companies defend the accuracy of their devices, which is all the positive reinforcement sleepyheads need to feel comfortable allowing a wearable to tuck them in at night. 

Is good old-fashioned shut-eye a tired notion?

Obviously getting enough sleep on a regular basis is crucial, but experts fear that consumers have moved away from listening to their bodies, and have become far too dependant on sleep trackers (even after doctors warn them of the potential pitfalls) — and it’s keeping them up at night.

» Sweet dreams

You may have overpaid for that Willie Mays card…

In the fine art world, masterpieces can be restored and not one yacht-owning billionaire bats an eye. But, when it comes to baseball cards, originality is everything.

Recently, purists came to suspect that PWCC, a card-selling service, allows corrupt sellers on its platform. Now, the collectible world is in full lockdown mode, leaving the legitimacy of a prominent marketplace and its long-standing grading system in question.

Hug your collections a little tighter today

The scandal started when collectors had reason to believe that a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card had been altered by a seller through PWCC, asking that it be removed for sale. 

But PWCC cried semantics, arguing the card had gone through a “conservation process,” NOT an alteration — and you better believe purists when into a collective tizzy. 

If they had justified a spit shine on the Mantle, how many other shady sellers had PWCC let through? 

Fraud in collectible markets is anything but rare.

Altered cards are actually on the rise in the marketplace. Some baseball cards can fetch thousands of dollars more than similar cards with scuffs or worn edges.

But sellers can easily improve the appearance of a card by trimming its edges or removing residue, and, unlike the fine art world, there isn’t an “expert” in every city who can verify the authenticity of an “Oil Can” Boyd rookie card.

» A card-tastrophe
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