Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Web Secret 604: OK Boomer

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah. My gift to my Baby Boomer readers is to understand the phrase "OK Boomer."

Know Your Meme gives the history of this expression: OK boomer is a viral internet slang phrase used, often in a humorous or ironic manner, to call out or dismiss out-of-touch or close-minded opinions associated with the baby boomer generation and older people more generally.

The exact origin of the phrase is currently unknown. The earliest instances of its use on Twitter can be traced to April 2018, with users utilizing the catchphrase to respond to tweets written by politicians and to tweets criticizing Gen Z generation and Millennials.

The catchphrase did not see significant spread until January 2019.

Starting in mid-January 2019, the image received spread on Twitter as a reaction and was reposted on multiple Instagram accounts.

Through 2019, the catchphrase saw extensive use in memes on Instagram, iFunny, Reddit and other social networks and maintained popularity as a reaction, primarily used to mock and debase opinions offered by baby boomers and older people in general.

On October 29th, 2019, The New York Times published an article "'OK boomer' Marks End of Friendly Generational Relations", reporting about the meme.

Per the New York Times:

"“Ok boomer” has become Generation Z’s endlessly repeated retort to the problem of older people who just don’t get it, a rallying cry for millions of fed up kids. Teenagers use it to reply to cringey YouTube videos, Donald Trump tweets, and basically any person over 30 who says something condescending about young people — and the issues that matter to them....

“The older generations grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective...A lot of them don’t believe in climate change or don’t believe people can get jobs with dyed hair, and a lot of them are stubborn in that view. Teenagers just respond, ‘Ok, boomer.’ It’s like, we’ll prove you wrong, we’re still going to be successful because the world is changing.”

And now you know.

How you use this knowledge is up to you, but I didn't want you to enter 2020 without knowing.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Web Secret 603: Secret consumer score

Call me horrified, but it appears little-known companies are amassing your data and selling the analysis to clients.

Last month, a New York Times article said we all have “secret scores”: hidden ratings that determine how long each of us waits on hold when calling a business, whether we can return items at a store, and what type of service we receive. A low score sends you to the back of the queue; high scores get you elite treatment.

These systems are largely invisible to the public, most people have no inkling they even exist. As an example, a company called Sift has a proprietary scoring system that tracks 16,000 factors for companies like Airbnb and OkCupid. Sift judges whether or not you can be trusted.


The companies gathering and paying for this data find it extremely valuable for rooting out fraud and increasing the revenue they can collect from big spenders. Sift has this data because the company has been hired by Airbnb, Yelp, and Coinbase to identify stolen credit cards and help spot identity thieves and abusive behavior. Still, the fact that obscure companies are accumulating information about years of our online and offline behavior is unsettling, and at a minimum it creates the potential for abuse or discrimination — particularly when those companies decide we don’t stack up.

As of this past summer, though, Sift and other similar companies must produce your file upon request.

Here's how to get your data:

Sift asks you to email

Zeta Global, which identifies people with a lot of money to spend, lets you request your data via an online form.

Retail Equation, which helps companies such as Best Buy and Sephora decide whether to accept or reject a product return, will send you a report if you email

Riskified, which develops fraud scores, will tell you what data it has gathered on your possible crookedness if you contact

Kustomer, a database company that provides what it calls “unprecedented insight into a customer’s past experiences and current sentiment,” tells people to email

Just because the companies say they’ll provide your data doesn’t mean they actually will.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Web Secret 602: Euphoria

I had no intention of watching the HBO series "Euphoria."

From the trailer, it looked like an updated "Beverly Hills 90210"about angsty, unrealistically attractive, upper middle class teenagers - with more graphic sex and drug use. - because "hey, it's 2019."

But my 25 year old son, (who is either a very young Millennial, or a very old Gen Z,) assures me this is not the case.

It appears Euphoria can serve as a field trip to understand what Gen Z is all about.

Gen Z. They are the children born in the ashes of 9/11. Cursed from the start. One of the major characters in the series deadpans "The world’s coming to an end and I haven’t even graduated high school.”

One day after work, my son asked an 18 year old intern, (from Idaho no less,) if that is what she believes.

She said yes, without any hesitation. Her generation will suffer the consequences of climate change, the imminence of mass extinction events. A decline in living standards. Insurmountable college debt.

Now I'm going to watch it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Web Secret 601: the Intellectual Dark Web

I have been watching the #MeToo movement from my perspective as a woman molested in her teens by a family friend, and a prior career as a certified sexual harassment prevention trainer.

While I cheer the downfall of the Epsteins and Weinsteins of this world, and a climate in which women feel empowered to come forth, I am concerned about the way corporations and not for profit institutions are handling many of the accused: immediate termination and accompanying career annihilation.

From my vantage point, the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is out the window. And firing the perpetrator seems to be the only option.

Before #MeToo, this is how accusations were handled in the organizations I worked with:
  1. The person was accused
  2. Individuals accused of breaking the law eg accusations of rape - were turned over to the police - not to be fired but to be investigated and potentially sent to prison.
  3. Employees accused of making insensitive comments, and lesser offenses were investigated.
  4. If the accusations were verified and not egregious, they were educated and given a final warning that a repetition of the offense would result in being fired.
These days, whether on the left or the right, there aren't very many people open to nuance, or living in the grey.

This got me interested in the emergence of a controversial group of individuals, the Intellectual Dark Web.

The core principles of the group are:
  • A willingness to engage in conversations with people who have different beliefs and political viewpoints
  • Rejection of identity politics (and a recognition that it has become the dominant ideology in mainstream media discourse)
  • Ideas worth listening to
  • Honoring of freedom of speech
  • People who don’t want them to speak their truth and try to silence them
Critics argue the group is a collective of public personalities who oppose what they see as the dominance of progressive identity politics and political correctness in the media and academia.

It's more complicated than that.

That's the problem, it's all more complicated.