Are We Entering a New Age of Vaudeville?

This Ecosystem of Diverse, Constantly Changing Variety Acts Was Once America’s Most Popular Form of Entertainment. Now It’s Back—on TikTok

If the viral petition that made the rounds this summer to “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN” is any indicator, Instagram’s lurching attempts to try to become more like TikTok haven’t been going well.

Synonymous with the highly edited lifestyle post, Instagram has long functioned like a high school in a John Hughes movie: accruing “likes” is a popularity contest for visibility—except that if you’re voted “prom queen” on the platform it can translate to some serious brand and sponsorship deals.

But TikTok has tailored its algorithm in a radically different way. A …

When the Public Narrative Fails | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When the Public Narrative Fails

In a Nation That’s Lost Its Way, Literature—the Private Narratives of Others—Can Guide Us

Leave it to Joan Didion. In her essay “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” published in 1967, she identified a kind of slippage in our culture, the breakdown of collective narrative. “The center …

Ukraine Shows Us the Power of the 21st-Century Citizen | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Ukraine Shows Us the Power of the 21st-Century Citizen

From Crowdsourced Community Organizing to DIY Weapons, Ordinary People Are Waging a New Kind of War

This is a new kind of war, waged by a new kind of citizen.

The failure of the Russian forces to subdue Ukraine quickly has astonished experts, officials, and journalists worldwide. …

Are We All Narcissists?

A Valentine’s Day Reflection on Ovid, Freud, and #WestElmCaleb

Tens of millions of people, myself included, watched last month as multiple strangers pieced together in real time the fact that they’d all been led on and ghosted by the …

Please Tweet @ Your #History Teacher

Navigating Misinformation, Hashtags, and Trolls Helps Teach Our High School Students to Be Good Digital Citizens

For most teachers, social media has no place in a classroom. When they do use it, they often retreat to or remain within the safer confines of “walled garden” discussion …

Ending the Disinformation Era | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Ending the Disinformation Era

In an Age of Distrust, Local Media Is Our Secret Weapon

After an election, an attempted insurrection, and a transfer of power defined in part by a massive amount of disinformation, what would it take to get Americans to begin trusting …