Social Media Shines A Bright Light On How To Save Wild Animals, But It's Also Got A Dark Side
People's passion to save animals is a beautiful thing — until it isn't. (Heads up: Some content is NSFW.)
Good for her for standing up for her child's culture.
A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.
Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:
“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."
"I felt absolutely appalled when she said this, as me and the teacher have, up until now, always maintained a very friendly relationship. She added that the lunches I’m packing my son are ‘very distracting for the other students and have an unpleasant odor.’ I told her that I understand her concerns, as the lunches I pack are definitely not the healthiest, but the lunches are according to my son’s preferences.”
The mother added that she usually sends her son to school with small celery sticks, blue cheese and goat cheese, kimchi, spam and spicy Sriracha-flavored Doritos.
“I ended the call by saying that I very much appreciated her worries, but that at the end of the day, I am not going to drastically change my son’s lunches all of a sudden, and that it’s not my fault if other students are ‘distracted’ by his meal,” the mother continued. “It is very important to me what my son enjoys, and I want him to like my lunches.”
The teacher replied with an email saying the mom's response was "unacceptable" and that his lunches were “just too inappropriate to be sent to school any longer.”
“I haven’t responded yet and don’t want to. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with my son’s teachers. I am confused as to what to do,” the mom ended her story.
It’s clear that the teacher is way out of line in this situation because the child is eating food that is entirely normal in Korean culture. It may have a strong odor to those who aren’t used to it, but that’s just an opportunity for the teacher to explain to the children how people from different parts of the world eat different types of food. It’s not that hard.
The only reason the teacher should have any choice over what the child eats is if it is egregiously unhealthy and may cause them harm.
The most popular commenter on the forum suggested that the mother bring the issue to the principal’s attention.
"Report her to the principal," Thatshygal717 wrote. "Her comments regarding your son’s food are 'disgusting' and 'have an unpleasant tone' aka cough cough racist tone. She’s too inappropriate to be teaching at the school any longer."
Another commenter, muffiewriters, assured the mother that she was doing nothing wrong. "Your son's food is perfectly normal," they wrote. "For a 5-year-old. Your family's food is normal. The teacher is TA for not recognizing that.”
The mother hasn’t shared what she did next, but she’s handled the situation perfectly so far. She told the teacher that it’s not her fault if other kids are distracted by her food and that she will not change her son’s diet to please other people.
The beauty of America is that we are a country of many different cultures mixed like a beautiful bowl of salad. It’s great that so many people supported the mother and reminded her that her family has every right in the world to eat the food they love, and if it bothers anyone, they can keep it to themselves.
P.S. That teacher has no idea what she’s talking about. Korean food is delicious.
Here's how they work.
It’s bizarre to think about seeing sound, but nowadays we can do just that. If you haven’t seen an acoustic camera before, that’s because they’re mainly used for industrial purposes, but they’ve been available commercially from gfai tech since 2001.
YouTuber Steve Mould, who has a science channel with over 2.1 million subscribers, took the complicated concept of the acoustic camera and made it easy to understand in his latest video, “Acoustic cameras can SEE sound.”
In the video, Mould explains how an acoustic camera is much like your smartphone's video recorder. But it also creates visual representations of sound emanating from where it’s generated within the video.
“They can show you where, in a scene, sound is coming from,” Mould says. The videos also allow you to isolate images within the recording and listen to any sound they produce.
The video shows how acoustic cameras are used in industrial settings for noise reduction and machine maintenance. For example, if a train is flying by at top speed, the acoustic camera can separate the sounds from each wheel as it passes. This allows engineers to analyze the sounds produced by each wheel to determine if they need to be fixed or replaced before there’s trouble.
To record the sound and visuals simultaneously, each camera has an array of strategically placed microphones to reproduce spatial information about sound. They even work in slow motion, and the echoes look amazing.
It’s not hard to imagine a world where, in addition to the video we take on our smartphones, we’ll be able to get a three-dimensional look at the soundscape as well.
"I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money.”
Insults of any kind are painful, but jabs towards someone’s financial status are their own breed.
In January 2023, Singapore-based Zoe Gabriel was on the receiving end of this particular flavor of mockery when she posted a TikTok about a purse from local retail brand Charles & Keith—a gift bought for her by her father.
In her excitement, the 17-year-old called the bag, which costs around $80, a “luxury” item as she unwrapped it. Her excitement was sadly cut short by some of the negative comments she received.
One comment seemed to stand out above the rest and prompted Gabriel to post an emotional response video.
The now-deleted comment, which read, "Who's gonna tell her?" followed by a laughing emoji, showed in the background as Gabriel tearfully explained why the purse meant so much to her as someone who grew up without a lot of money.
@zohtaco Replying to @cressy ♬ original sound - zoe 🦋
“We couldn’t buy new things as simple as bread from BreadTalk,” she said, referencing a popular Singaporean bakery. “That kind of thing was a luxury to us…Every time we passed by a store, my parents would just say next time, but next time would never come.”
With this context, Gabriel shared why the shameful comment was so inconsiderate.
"To you, an $80 bag may not be a luxury. For me and my family, it is a lot, and I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money.”
Gabriel’s video quickly went viral, even making its way to the actual founders of the Charles & Keith brand, Charles and Keith Wong. According to The Straits Times, the brothers were so “impressed” with Gabriel that they invited her and her father to have lunch and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the company’s headquarters.
But they didn’t stop there.
The brand later posted a photo on its Instagram page showing Gabriel modeling a lilac-colored Charles & Keith bag for International Women’s Day, even announcing her as a new brand ambassador.
You’d think it would go without saying to just let people enjoy things, but we know that on the internet simple courtesy sometimes goes out the window. However, this is a heartwarming reminder that for every ignorant remark, there are also those who want to lift others up.Gabriel might have been ridiculed, but she has since seemed to come out on top, posting videos of herself wining and dining and dancing and traveling and basically having the time of her life. Sounds like the ultimate luxury to me.
"This healed a part of me. Thank you for doing this with your daughter."
Raising kids is no small feat. Just the basic logistics of caring for a human being from their helpless newborn stage to the full-fledged adult stage is a lot, much less doing the countless other things that will actually help that human thrive.
Parents who go above and beyond to create a nurturing environment and build strong core memories with their kids are inspiring examples for us all, and one dad's spa day with his daughter has people positively gushing.
Mason Smith (@thedadsocial) shared a video of a special spa day he gave his young daughter when her mom and older sister were having their own pampered outing. "Mom and sister went to the salon so I couldn't have her feeling left out," he wrote.
The video shows Smith putting his daughter's hair up and gently rubbing a homemade avocado mask on her face. He then appears to attempt to do something with the cucumber slices (which usually go over the eyes but may not feel particularly comfy for the preschool set).
Next comes the moisturizer, which the sweet dad smoothed into his daughter's face and neck, massaging her temples and tickling her ears as he went. She clearly loves it.
Next up: some hairstyling, with spritzes and pigtails, followed by a nice little mani-pedi.
It's as soothing to watch as it must have been to experience:
People in the comments raved about what a simple-yet-special day Smith created for his little girl.
"Every girl deserves a daddy like this, 🥺❤️" wrote one person.
"I really miss my dad, he was a great friend and same like this, even when I was 18, he use to help me straighten my hair, but he's no more, passed away on Feb 10th.. missing you dadaaaa," wrote another.
One commenter said it made them "cry in an incredibly cathartic way" and thanked him for being "this kind of dad" and "sharing it with pride."
"She will never forget her daddy," shared another. "This is fantabulous. She loves what he is doing and she admires and loves him for taking the time to make her feel special like mommy. God Bless."
"This healed a part of me. Thank you for doing this with your daughter," wrote another.
This isn't Smith's first foray into at-home-spa-day-making with his daughter. Another video shows him pampering both of his daughters in this way and it's just as precious.
It doesn't take a lot to let your kids know they are loved, and these kinds of special moments go a long way. Three cheers for good dads.
It really seals the deal.
Job interviews are one of the most stressful situations people go through. A recent poll of over 2,000 people found that job interviews are the fifth most stressful experience a person can have, right after health and financial problems, family issues and running late.
That’s why it is vital to be prepared to handle any questions you have to field during the interview. You’ll be less nervous and make a better candidate. However, many people never think to have a question prepared for their potential employer at the end of the interview when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”
Communications director and consultant Jennifer Reardon, who goes by the name @notjenneeree on TikTok, says that she has the perfect question to ask at that pivotal moment at the end of the interview. And she claims that she got the job every time she’s asked the question.
Reardon has over 48,000 followers on the platform and nearly 3.7 million likes. She talked about her go-to question in a TikTok post and it received over 3.7 million views.
SOMEONE ELSE MADE A VIDEO ABOUT HER PROFESSOR GIVING THE SAME ADVICE (tag her I can’t remember who) & I STG THIS IS MY SECRET TRICK AND IT WORKSSSSSSSS TRY IT immediately.
"Every job that I've interviewed for where I've said this, I got the job," she opens her video. "Do your interview, be normal. Before you're done, the last question you're going to ask them is something along the lines of, 'Are there any concerns that you have about me that we can address before we end?'"
Reardon covered her mouth in anticipation and then said:
"They will have concerns, and then that's your time to address them, and then once you're done addressing them, they'll have no concerns,” she added.
It’s a pretty brilliant strategy because you’re taking the opportunity to address any questions they have about you that they may never get to ask. It’s like putting a button on the interview and sealing the deal by addressing any potential objections. If they have other unresolved issues with candidates, you’re in a much better position to get the gig.
The video inspired countless others on TikTok to share interview questions that have worked for them in the past.
"My favorite question along these lines is 'When thinking about your top performers, what skills and qualities make them stand out?' They eat it UP," Maura replied.
Mateo has a fool-proof line: "It’s 'based on our conversation do u have any reservations about me moving to the next round?' There’s ur answer too if u got the job.”
"I DID THIS!” Sadwook wrote in response to Reardon’s video. “I heard it on TikTok and tried it in the final panel interview with the job I really wanted and they went feral lmao."
Another added the question of all questions: “I always say 'Can I have the job?' and 90 percent of the time I get it."
Obviously, you will need more than one line to guarantee you get a job on your next interview. However, Reardon’s suggestion is a solid reminder that a job interview isn’t just about selling yourself. It’s about addressing your potential employer’s needs as well.
Let us give you a peek behind the editorial curtain here.
The adage, "If it bleeds, it leads," refers to the media's tendency to headline stories involving death or violence, but it can also be used to point to people's negativity bias. Simply put, people tend to pay more attention to negative news stories than positive ones.
A new study seems to reinforce this idea. And much to our surprise, it's centered on headlines used in Upworthy stories.
Using a public archive of Upworthy headlines and traffic data from 2012 to 2015, two separate teams of researchers analyzed whether people's click tendencies changed with negative or positive words in headlines. In those olden days of Upworthy, a handful of headlines for a single story were tested on the website to see which one would receive the most clicks. The research teams analyzed those results and found that negative words in headlines led to more people clicking on a story (2.3% more), and positive words in headlines led to fewer clicks (1.0% fewer). They also found a preference for headlines that express sadness over those that express joy, fear or anger.
The two research teams submitted their findings to the journal Nature at the same time in a bit of kismet shared here: "Two Research Teams Submitted the Same Paper to Nature – You Won’t BELIEVE What Happens Next!!" (For those outside media industry circles, "You won't believe what happens next," is a mocking pseudo-headline that came into use during the past decade and has generally been used to degrade the editorial choices of Upworthy and similarly-minded publishers in the early days of social media news.) The teams ended up combining their results in a joint study whose title sums up its conclusion: "Negativity drives online news consumption."
While we appreciate the researchers' work, we're not convinced that 10-year-old Upworthy headlines and traffic are the most appropriate data to draw such a conclusion from. From our perspective, "negativity drives clicks" isn't a clear takeaway here due to the fact that 1) the fast-changing media landscape quickly makes data obsolete, 2) the increases and decreases in clicks were quite modest, which matters a lot since 3) a negative word being used in a headline does not automatically equate to "negativity."
To illustrate these points, let us offer a peek behind the editorial curtain here.
Upworthy gained unprecedented fame in the early 2010s for mastering the "curiosity gap" headline, and for a hot minute, it was incredibly successful. The "Upworthy-style" headline became all the rage and was emulated to some degree by media outlets of all stripes before losing its novelty and falling out of favor somewhere around 2014.
That was a decade ago.
A lot has changed since then, both in media at large and here at Upworthy. "You won't believe what happens next," is several proverbial lifetimes of change in the way all media outlets, including Upworthy, approach storytelling and how our audiences engage with that content. Headlines that got people clicking in 2013 wouldn't be written or clicked on the same way today at all in our experience. So, it feels like conclusions about people's click habits are being drawn from outdated data (a bit like comparing the respective value of a thrift store TV antenna with optimizing your 4K Netflix stream).
People have pointed out some irony in a seeming preference for negative words and sadness here at Upworthy, a website branded as a "positive news outlet." However, that's a simplistic characterization of our content. Upworthy has always shared positive, uplifting stories, to be sure, but it's an ongoing misconception that Upworthy only covers "positive news."
The original idea behind Upworthy was to "change what the world pays attention to" by sharing meaningful stories that highlight our common humanity, and that core ideal hasn't changed. Often, yes, that means telling feel-good stories. But it also means shedding light on and exploring solutions to challenges facing humanity, which aren't always positive or uplifting. Sometimes it means sharing a viral celebrity story that touches on an important issue or an experience many people can relate to. Sometimes it looks like tapping into people's curiosity to help us all better understand the world we live in. We tell stories that uplift and stories that deserve to be uplifted, and our headlines reflect that range of storytelling.
So what should we take from an Upworthy headline study that found people were a little more likely to click on headlines with negative words and sadness in them?
Honestly? Not a whole lot.
We already know negativity bias exists. None of this is revelatory to us (except perhaps the finding that anger does not appear to drive more clicks—that one was a bit of a surprise, to be honest). We've always known that if we wanted to, we could sell our souls and exploit the crap out of people's baser tendencies with our headlines to drive cheap clicks and make bank from it. But we don't, because that's not who we are.
Upworthy's current editorial team takes a different approach to headlines than the folks who were here a decade ago. We don't test multiple headlines anymore to see what clicks. Our process is more organic and intuitive, partly due to our own experience, partly due to lessons learned from our predecessors' data-driven approach and partly due to appreciating the art of a conscientious-yet-effective headline.
Speaking of which, the term "clickbait" gets thrown around with the Upworthy name a lot, including in the study. We have some thoughts on that, too.
Upworthy pioneered a specific headline style that drove a ton of website traffic and lots of people copied that style because it was effective. But a headline that makes people want to click on a story and read it does not automatically make it "clickbait." As long as the story itself is solid, a "clicky" headline is simply a good headline. There is no point in writers creating articles for a website if no one clicks and reads them, and a good headline will make people want to click and read. That statement shouldn't be the least bit controversial.
Genuine clickbait is when a headline promises something that isn't delivered in the story. It's a bait and switch, purely to rack up pageviews. That is not and has never been Upworthy's MO. Of course, we want people to read our stories—we wouldn't be here if we didn't think what we share was worth reading. But headlines are not articles, and every detail of a story can't be included in a 90-character headline. Being misled by a headline and clicking into a story that doesn't deliver is a clickbait problem. Having to actually click on and read an article to get the full story behind a headline is not.
Okay, back to negative words in headlines. Do we ever use them today? Of course, but not for clicks. The top negative words analyzed in the headline study were wrong, bad, awful, hate, war, worst, sick, fight, scary, and hell, and some stories honestly lend themselves to including such words in the headline. And more importantly, a headline with negative words is not necessarily negative.
The researchers point out that they removed headlines that included both positive and negative words to avoid muddying the waters. But searching our website archives from the time period in question for the negative word "wrong," for example, reveals headlines that are not actually negative (unless you think proving an incorrect assumption wrong is a bad thing).
"The classic image of a farmer is a man. These stunning pics prove that wrong." (Certainly not a negative story.)
"5 times Jimmy Carter proved the haters wrong" (This one has two negative words, "hate" and "wrong," but still isn't actually a negative headline or story.)
"The world tells us there's something wrong with us if we don't want to have sex. One chart proves the world wrong." (The word "wrong" in here twice—still not really a negative headline and definitely not a negative story.)
We could go through countless examples like this, not to prove that negativity bias isn't a thing (because we know it is) but to show that not all negative-word-including headlines are created equal. There are headlines in the archives that we'd never write today, some of which truly were negative, but many included a "negative" word but weren't actually negative at all. In light of that and considering the small increase in clicks for headlines containing negative words, we're not convinced that our archive of decade-old headlines is the best measuring stick to use when determining whether people are more drawn to negativity than positivity in news headlines.
We're also not convinced it's a particularly useful question. What we're most interested in is whether people are drawn to content that highlights our shared humanity, connects people around important causes, brings people together in celebration of joy and helps them learn something fascinating about the world we live in. And sure enough, our audience keeps proving time and again that that's what keeps them clicking, reading and sharing our stories, regardless of how many "positive" or "negative" words we include in our headlines.