FOTI #25: The Most Popular Girls in School


Fortnight on the Internets is watching you, xoxo 😉

On this episode, we’re joined by Carlo Moss, the co-creator of viral Youtube series The Most Popular Girls in School. We debate whether it’s now considered rude to leave a voicemail, and we evaluate a list of Flirty Text Message Ideas from Seventeen magazine and rule them either “acceptably flirty” or “scary and disturbing.” Plus great music from Mean Jeans and a festive new song from Neil & John!

Four ways to listen:

If you subscribe or become a Liker, you’ll be able to get to new episodes faster than everyone else. You’d also be wise to follow us on our @FOTIpod Twitter account, where we often have fun interactions with the people and sites we talk about on the show…

First off, this is our official St. Patrick’s Day and Alison’s Birthday episode, and we celebrate the occasion with the new song from friends of the podcast Neil & John:

If you liked it (and be real, you DID) then click here and give the homeboys a “funny.”

RIP Google Reader

In sad news for internet nerds everywhere, Google announced that it’s officially closing down its Reader app as of July 1st, 2013. Listening back to the episode, I realize that I didn’t properly explain what a “RSS aggregator” is — basically, it pulls content from all the blogs and sites you like to follow into one place for easy reading. Google Reader was the greatest and best RSS aggregator of all time. But NOT ANYMORE because Google is ditching us for good, after gutting the service in 2011 in an attempt to get everyone to move to Google Plus. Lame.

I guess there are other alternatives available, but it’s hard to believe any of them will reach the content-reading-and-sharing glory that was Reader in the late aughts. #ShareBros4Life

Internet Report Card

FOTI was in a feisty mood this episode! We dished out scathing evaluations of this fortnight’s top viral items…

#1. Nick Bilton Hates Human Kindness

This post from the NYTimes Bits Blog set off many an infuriated response, both online and off. Times scribe Nick Bilton takes aim at all kinds of inefficient communication, arguing that in the age of the text message, sending an email to simply say “Thanks” or leaving someone a voicemail should be considered downright rude.

Although we have some sympathy for his underlying argument — that we can utilize new technologies to bring more efficiency to routine communications — passages like this one are too damning to embrace:

Then there is voice mail, another impolite way of trying to connect with someone. Think of how long it takes to access your voice mail and listen to one of those long-winded messages. “Hi, this is so-and-so….” In text messages, you don’t have to declare who you are, or even say hello. E-mail, too, leaves something to be desired, with subject lines and “hi” and “bye,” because the communication could happen faster by text. And then there are the worst offenders of all: those who leave a voice mail message and then e-mail to tell you they left a voice mail message.

My father learned this lesson last year after leaving me a dozen voice mail messages, none of which I listened to. Exasperated, he called my sister to complain that I never returned his calls. “Why are you leaving him voice mails?” my sister asked. “No one listens to voice mail anymore. Just text him.”

My mother realized this long ago. Now we communicate mostly through Twitter.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO son. That’s just wrong.

The most all-encompassing takedown of Bilton’s post came from Freddie DeBoer:

“The anthropologist Margaret Mead once said that in traditional societies, the young learn from the old. But in modern societies, the old can also learn from the young. Here’s hoping that politeness never goes out of fashion, but that time-wasting forms of communication do.”

“Learning” is a powerful word, a misunderstood one. I’m sure Mr. Bilton spends much of his time absorbing little facts, churning through the deracinated information that the internet spreads out endlessly, shorn of context or curriculum, just true enough to be mistaken for knowledge. Perhap this is how it has to be. Maybe Bilton is the wave of the future. For myself, I don’t think that there’s anything to be done; the punishment for people like Mr. Bilton is living the life that they’ve endeavored to live. I’m sure their manic effort to degrade and destroy any genuinely human connection is proceeding on with great efficiency; I have no doubt they will reach that rarefied territory where there is nothing human at all on the other end of that well-loved smartphone. I picture him writing this piece in a dark apartment, face lit up with the sickly blue glow of his laptop, chattering away in the dark alone about all the people who have failed him.

#2. “After Ever After”

Loved the production values. Amazing voice. Not sure what left-wing political talking points really have in common with Disney Princesses, though!

#3. Flirty Text Message Ideas

This list of flirty text message ideas to send your crush comes from Seventeen magazine, no doubt written by well-intentioned staffers. At first they seem fairly benign, until you put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving these texts. Then all you can think is CREEPER!! We review a number of the suggestions and rate them cool or creepy. (Mostly creepy.)

Our Musical Guest: MEAN JEANS

Billy Jeans, Jeans Wilder and Junior Jeans bring the punk fire from Portland straight to your stereo speakers. We’re listening to great tracks from their most recent album Life On Mars. Prepare to get rocked!

If you enjoy what you hear, like them on Facebook. They’re touring cool cities in the South (from Baltimore on down) this April, so if you dwell in those lands, get out and check ’em!

Internet Challenge Surprise!

These really have to be seen to be believed. This episode’s surprise is comedian Deven Green’s brilliant voiceover parodies of the lifestyle videos produced by former soap superstar Brenda Dickson. Thanks to friend of the podcast Tara T and Liker Andrew W. for tipping us off to their pompous glory!

And I wouldn’t wait to click on them if I were you — these things are getting takedown notices all the time from a vengeful B. Dick, who does NOT find them funny…

Perhaps the best thing associated with these videos is the reference to them in the actual Brenda Dickson wikipedia page. I’m not making this up (although it’s since been edited out, way to go wikipedians!):

She created a hit, runaway internet film she wrote, produced and directed called, “Welcome to my Home” that was put on by a fan. The film quickly garnered 3 million viewers. Sony Pictures (The Bells) took it down in a false copyright claim. Dickson produced the film into a DVD. This reality film paved the way for all of the recent reality series. It was taken over by a woman who decided to lip-sync over it, in an illegal, fraudulent copyright infringement. This so-called comedian attached onto the goldmine of the film that Dickson produced. It is believed that she has been hired to do these expensive lip-syncs over Dickson’s material to discredit her.

The film was way ahead of its time about fashion, diet and exercise and how to apply makeup properly. Dickson brought people into her home to spend the day with her. She showed her cat and dog and did a fashion show of over the top, couture gowns from the 80s. The industry took note of this film and suddenly a reality show was born. The Kardashians brought you into their home. Other shows did the same. High fashion became a Red Carpet must, and all of the industry was changed. Blue jeans and tee shirts were suddenly replaced by top designers.

There you have it folks — Brenda Dickson, creator of reality TV and trend-setter of high fashion. Ca-caw!

Carlo Moss from MPGiS


One of the creators of a webseries we love, The Most Popular Girls in School, joins us to explain how a comedy sketch turned into a viral breakout hit! We mentioned MPGiS on a recent episode, but with Carlo joining the conversation, insights were, how you say? OBTAINED.

Some of the highlights of this conversation include:

  • The origin of the “Deandra” voice and how it developed into a sketch
  • Director/editor/animator Mark Cope’s flash of inspiration and brilliant stop-motion pilot
  • Developing the series into a full-blown show with help from producer Lily Vonnegut
  • Inventing backstories to explain why he is shopping for Barbies for hours at a time
  • The social media strategy of giving the characters their own Twitter and Facebook accounts
  • Blowing up on Tumblr and the experience of receiving fan art and plot suggestions
  • The excitement of getting Kickstarter donations — and the hard work of delivering rewards
  • Dreams and schemes for Season 2 and beyond!

Well worth checking out for anyone who’s been interested in where viral success comes from. Sounds like hard work to me, man! So many thanks to Carlo for joining us — check him out on Twitter.

Shoutout to the Likers!

You should obviously be Liking our Facebook page. Thanks to all the listeners and Likers that helped us shatter the 300 liker barrier for our 1st pod-birthday!

Our Liker of the Fortnight is Liker Jeff H! He brings it every fortnight with good comments and contribs, but went over the top this time around after he told Rebecca Black in person about the FOTI podcast. Putting our name in the ears of the Internet’s top viral sensations? That’ll get you LOTF every time around. Check out the new episodes of Jeff’s webseries, A God Named Pablo,

Likers, we couldn’t do it without you! Thanks for listening, we’ll be back in two weeks.

Thanks to Carlo Moss for joining us, and to Mean Jeans for musical assistance.
Theme song
 by Snowplows: Check out their songs on Bandcamp!
Cover art by Vicious Rumors.

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