Video game Elden Ring is hot this week. So are Medusa tattoos and sensible medical advice on YouTube. Travis Scott, hidden social media algorithms, and YouTube’s dislike counter, however, are decidedly not hot.
Why are gamers so hyped for Elden Ring?
The buzz is growing for upcoming action-RPG Elden Ring. The game, a collaboration between Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki and Game of Thrones novelist George R. R. Martin, is scheduled for release on Feb. 25. If it lives up to even half of the pre-release hype, it’ll be twice as awesome as you deserve. Elden Ring combines Dark Souls’ much-loved combat mechanics with a huge and detailed open world. This week, lucky gamers will get an early taste: The game’s closed beta will run between today and Nov. 15. Journalists have already had a chance to give it a spin, and the word has been very, very positive. Check 20 minutes of gameplay footage to see what the hype is about.
The Astroworld fall-out continues
In the wake of the Astroworld tragedy where a crowd crush killed nine people, rapper Travis Scott and concert organisers Live Nation are under intense scrutiny. None of it looks good: From reports that fire officials were denied access to the concert venue, to a suit alleging that Scott and rapper Drake incited the crowd, to questions about the appropriateness of Scott’s response to the tragedy (including partnering with BetterHelp, whose online therapy model has some outspoken critics). Perhaps the most personally surprising fact about the story: After the show (but before he’d learned about the deaths), Scott was partying at Dave and Busters. Dude’s a huge music star, and he’s at Dave and Busters?
Why is everyone getting Medusa tattoos?
Like just about every subculture, tattoo enthusiasts have their own corner of TikTok. Tats depicting Medusa are the flavour-of-the-moment, with more and more TikTokers emblazoning their bodies with the petrifying snake-haired figure from Greek mythology. Beyond being generally a badass image, Medusa tattoos have a special significance to many. The popular perception of Medusa as a monster is being reclaimed, and the Medusa tattoos are often a defiant response from survivors of sexual assault. Each tattoo means something different to its owner, of course, so check out the vids on the Medusa tattoo hashtag to learn more.
Viral video of the week: Doctor reacts to TikTok medical advice
There are a lot of bums and creeps on YouTube, but Doctor Mike is neither. His videos combine of-the-moment, designed-to-be-shared presentation with solid medical advice. Unlike the diseases he fights, when Dr. Mike’s videos go viral, it helps people. This week, the young, dashing MD is reacting to TikTok health trends, taking some of the dangerous, stupid, and/or hilarious advice offered up on TT and telling his many viewers the truth. Spoiler: It turns out you can’t delay your period with lime juice, it’s not a good idea to stick garlic in your nostrils, and injecting chemicals in your arms to make big, fake muscles won’t make everyone like and respect you.
The last days of social media algorithms?
I doubt too many young people are breathlessly following the bills introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives, but they probably should be. A bi-partisan group of Senators and Congresspeople this week introduced a bill that would re-shape the social media landscape we live in if it passes. The “Filter Bubble Transparency Act” will require social media companies to allow consumers to opt-out of allowing opaque algorithms to determine the content they’re served on social media. Should the bill pass, platforms would have to include a “prominently placed icon” so users can choose to view content ordered by secret algorithms or by “input-transparent algorithms.” So maybe in the future, Facebook will just remind me when it’s my friend Dave’s birthday, instead of secretly using personal information to try to radicalize and relentlessly market to me.
Youtube removes the “dislike” counter
Video sharing service YouTube will no longer display the number of people who dislike a video. The dislike button will be there, so you’ll still be able to register your displeasure at these “cats that will make you laugh your head off,” but only you and the cats will know how you feel. According to YouTube, the move is designed to reduce “dislike attacks” and will benefit smaller creators who are often targeted. Unmentioned by YouTube: The change will also help big companies who do unpopular things from having the extent of their unpopularity revealed. Thankfully, creators can still see their own dislike count, so you’ll still know how badly you suck. (The thumbs-down counter seems to still be there as of this posting, but YouTube promises it will be gone soon.)