The promise of the internet: sleep influencers and dancing to death on a float | Wbactive

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

Unless you’re from a time when phones only had one purpose and an hour-long call to New York City could set you back the equivalent of a monthly payment on an AT&T iPhone when it was still known as Ma Bell, maybe a little explanation is appropriate.

A pen you might ask? This is a low-tech device that used to be able to communicate over long distances by pressing it on paper with your hand.

And if it was something of significant life impact, profound or funny, it would eventually find its way by the thousands, if not millions.

As for F. Scott Fitzgerald, he was a painterly progenitor of social media influencers/bloggers labeled as essayists, short story writers, and novelists.

He tried to make a living educating people about the extravagance – and excess – of the jazz age.

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

It refers to a time when America was being turned on its head by the introduction of instant communication for the masses, better known as commercial radio.

“Influencers” could reach thousands who turned a knob with devices connected to wireless technology known as radio frequency, rather than those that were currently within earshot.

You no longer had to trek to a jazz club in New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles to hear trending music. You could turn on your radio in Peoria and take it all in.

It set the stage for the creation and standardization of cultural tastes and language patterns that ruthlessly transcended regional and local takes.

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 engage with total strangers — albeit in a way back then

As radio matured, it ushered demagogy into the airwaves.

Unusual clothing according to the customs of the time was accepted by young people.

Flapper dresses — long, form-fitting flapper dresses — that today’s Kardashians would see as stale burlap bags — were all the rage, much to the chagrin of the old smokers.

The shocking 1920s equivalent of the crack addiction of many of today’s young men was baggy, pleated, and cuffed pants.

Fitzgerald would have a great day in the internet age exploring the excesses, superficiality, and interaction of the self-proclaimed enlightened ones who mask the void and grow bored with their repetition.

This is true even for those who are at the forefront and need to push their limits to stay relevant to the digital world in which they navigate.

Consider the development of social media as a glimpse of the potential for how superficial and how vast the void of direct human connection is as a precursor to Mark Zuckerburg’s meta-universe to come.

Consult TikTok to see where the journey that began on November 2, 1920, when KDKA became the first commercial radio station to air in Pittsburgh, is taking us.

Here you will see stunts that made John Belushi’s character in “Animal House” appear as if he were demure and channeling Emily Post.

This is also where Andy Warhol’s 15 minute fame theory is reduced to just 15 seconds, if at all.

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

Facebook’s younger cousin TikTok — the latest refinement in the technology that brought man to the moon — has brought us risky dancing to moving dance floors and sleep influencers.

First the moving dance floor. We’re not talking about the gym floor that recedes into the high school dance scene in It’s A Wonderful Life as the Charleston is played and revelers tumble into the pool below.

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

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

Police said, based on video the man apparently recorded and shared on Facebook, that he was dancing on the roof of an 18-wheel trailer as he sped down the freeway.

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

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

As for sleep influencers, this is an extension of the 1930s marketing gimmick when a man was paid to “sleep” in his pajamas in a New York City store window to demonstrate how restful a particular mattress was while passers-by stared.

While that was probably a one-off gig, TikTok has made it a career.

The king of sleep influencers — although it looks like he’s sleeping on twin beds — is Jakey Boehm.

The 28-year-old from Australia’s Gold Coast climbs into bed at 10pm every night to entertain TikTok fans worldwide with his back-and-forth.

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

Boehm adds entertainment value by manipulating lights, sirens, and other sounds that “wake him up” when someone buys him a virtual gift to choose from.

You can also give over 50 cents on $600 for a bunch of other irritating breaks, hence his $35,000 monthly earnings.

Other sleep influencers aren’t as entertaining. They’re just a big nap when, as Fitzgerald would say of the rich he’s warped, a “big bore.”

25-year-old Duane Olson, who lives in Hyde Park in New York, just sleeps.

He goes to bed with a sign above his headboard that reads “Only I sleep.”

He’s got around 13,000 followers, with more than a few volunteers sending him a few bucks while they watch him sleep, and he probably dreams of shy TikTok followers rather than sheep.

He could rake in about $400 a month just by sleeping.

So much for the breathless promise of the 1990s that the internet would usher in a new age of enlightenment.

Leave a Comment