The WOW Post: The Potential Obsolescence of Social Media Capital?, Gangnam StyLe, Calling Out to El Segundo

Do Cheaters Ever Prosper?

Do they? I think so.  In the short term.  Case in point, here is an email I’d received at the tail end of last week:

So yeah. I do think that cheaters can prosper. And when they can, they can potentially make bank.


The value of social media lies (though ‘lies’ can become an operative word in some cases) in the real attention people are paying different outlets.  The more attention people publicly give your blog, feed or FB page, the more social media capital you carry.  As social media is currently the vehicle through which mainstream media and business outlets assign cultural and potential business capital, the importance of genuine followers is fairly integral to its direct or indirect monetary value.

I’m not saying the dude who sent me the email is the enemy and that we must shut him down.  What I am saying is that this dude is just the beginning.

And he doesn’t stop at Twitter.

This would apply to Facebook “likes” and blogs as well.

I think this would explain the influx of strange blog comments I’ve been trashing over the past year.  Comments like, “Wow, what an insightful blog post!  I need to add you to my RSS feed” when it’s a straight-up Youtube video post or “You know, you make a very strong point.  I never thought of it that way.”  Fluffer flattery.  I thought it was kind of odd, so I began marking them as spam.  But now that I examine them further, I’ve arrived to the conclusion that they were probably some beta testing phase for a project of this scope and magnitude.

Just imagine.  For the price of $199, you are GUARANTEED 10,000 VERIFIED blog comments, 10,000 verified forum profiles and article creation and submission.  For $1,000 you can probably surpass the number of followers K Kardashian holds on her Twitter feed.


Let’s take a break from the temptations of the flesh in this tech-driven channel of prostitution.  Certainly your FB page or Twitter feed will get a Pamela-Anderson-sized boob job, and from far away, it might look impressive, but you and everybody else who follows you will know that it’s fake.

You’ll have so much,  BUT IT WILL ALL FEEL SO EMPTY.

And the more and more prevalent these kinds of, erhm, enhancements become at bottom-of-the-barrel prices, the quicker and sooner a follower will be able to spot the obvious cheating.  Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G.

There is no work involved, no push to better one’s product, to improve the quality of one’s writing.  All you have to do is fork up a $29 minimum. Which is bad news bears for everybody involved.

How so?  It encourages laziness for the entrepreneur/writer/personality.  It can eventually flood the feed and comments section with a new species of spam, which consumers and readers aren’t too keen on scrolling through.  And by abusing the very mechanisms of social media, it will allow for this thriving beast (love it or hate it) to die by its own hands.

Besides, the very POINT of social media and for all the supposed good it stands for faces the potential of one day, eventually becoming obsolete.  A sad thing, indeed, because it’s still  young and so many companies big and small have so much riding on it.  And I’d be lying if I said our company didn’t benefit from this crazy, attention-stimulating, time-sucking, hype-driven, genuinely enthusiastic animal.

And so, in my eyes, this magnificent beast has choices to make: 1) to allow itself to be whored out by future pimps of popularity-inflation tools or  2) to grow up and figure out a responsible and accountable system.  System of what?  I don’t know, accurate measurement statistics, since that’s what social media capital is based on, anyway.  And hopefully a system that works towards generating the realness of human connection instead of the illusion of connection or the illusion of realness(ie. paid-for product advertisements disguised as personal product recommendations, giving enthusiastic shout-outs to companies who pay you money or celebrity nepotism towards promising underlings in which they have vested interests in).

Basically, there’s been a non-stop party that’s grinding heavier and drinking harder with each passing year and an influx of people abusing the excesses by selling the swag, Kool-Aid and extra tickets and backstage passes to the show.  And once you get there, the music is so loud, the drinks are so constant and every friend and coworker is telling you that THIS is the PLACE to BE, you have a hard time pausing to see if the party’s for you.

It hasn’t been easy, but I haven’t accepted most of the drinks passed my way and I do my best to make very conscious, respectful decisions.  The thing is, I really value our following, on and off line.  And the love is real.

Maybe this “HOW MANY FOLLOWERS CAN YOU GET AND HOW FAST?” mantra, maybe its time in the sun is over.  I mean, the party’s gotta stop at some point, right?  Or chances are that people are gonna go down with substance abuse (can’t sit through a dinner without your smartphone anybody?  feel the incessant urge to CHECK your Twitter feeds, Tumblrs, Pinterest and FB pages, FourSquare, etc.?), overdoses (TOO. MUCH. STIMULATION.) and total loss of consciousness(I have no idea why I’m doing this anymore, but I’mma still keep on keeping on keeping on keeping on keeping on)… and wake up in rehab or with a super nasty hangover.

Anyway, if this tool were to become ever more savvy at generating lifelike blog responses and tweets, then, really, WHAT WILL BE THE POINT?

I mean, isn’t the original purpose behind the now-prevalent public punditry is to have the opportunity to LISTEN, hear-out or come to understand the peoples following your blog, business, social project, creative endeavor? Supposedly it was all about breaking that fourth wall and creating personal connection — whatever that means anymore.

But who cares when you can BUY THAT and MORE! at a reasonably low, introductory price.

For all its good and bad, though, the number of social media-generated responses has been intelligently used and just as unintelligently abused in generating enough capital to have some clout in business opportunities and projects. Of course, if increasingly these responses are PAID for, then by the rules of inflation, the value of the number of followers will go down.

Check it: remember back in 2002 when culling even 35 friends on Friendster was an ambitious feat? Now you’re considered an extreme introvert if your number of friends is under a 3-digit number. And having 1,000 so-called “friends” is no longer daebak/impressive. As adding new “friends” to FB and Myspace became easier, the value associated with the number for “friends” also dropped.

This inflationary tool is doing the same thing. But it’s so much dirtier because one actually has to stoop to pay for it. And, really, who wants to BUY followers/friends/potential customers?

Wait. Don’t answer that.

Again, let me stress that this post is regards of the potential obsolescence of social media CAPITAL and not social media itself. A concern that is kind of ironic for a gal such as myself: let it be known that I never campaigned for new followers on Twitter. (We did have an awkward moment wherein which I had my cousin take over the FB page for a while and he campaigned for new “friends” or “fans” there. But let us not speak of those dark moments. –__–;;)

In general, it’s just not my cuppa tea or my style. So it’s kinda interesting that I am indirectly defending the peoples who very hands-on attempt to inflate their popularity with political alliances, mutually beneficial promotions and the like.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for underdogs and fighting the good fight.

Maybe Kpop Sensation PSY’s On(to) Something

If you’ve not heard of PSY or his recent single, “Gangnam Style”, you’re either not Korean or you’ve been living under a rock.  I’ve actually been allied with the latter up until yesterday.  AND YESTERDAY. CHANGED. EVERYTHING.

It took a few views to convince me that there is so much more to his music video than mindless entertainment.  And, for those who can give his video a closer look, I’m sure you’ll come to agree that Kpop’s just-left-of-subversive superstar Psy made this video with an agenda.  And that singular agenda is this: WORLD DOMINATION.

Yeah, I said it.  And you will TOO.

Watch the video below to get an idea of what I mean, and if you’re feeling especially cerebral today, feel free to scroll down to hear my case.  Oh, and before we begin, Gangnam is in reference to a highly affluent, uber trendy district in Seoul that’s bustling with plastic surgery clinics, expensive gyms, celebrities and the mega rich — or at least hangers-ons who are aspiring to become the mega rich.

Like a more youthful, hipper version of Beverly Hills with a touch more celebrity.  (Beverly Hills may be expensive, but it ain’t as hip as it was back in the 90s.)

As for the idiotically catchy chorus, “Oppa’n Gangnam style!” — “Oppa” is a pretty flexible term of endearment that women use for older brothers (it is literally what a girl would call an older brother) and boyfriends and special older boy friends.  “Oppa’n Gangnam style” literally translates to “Oppa’s Gangnam style” or “Oppa is Gangnam style.”

Now one may or may not have one of two immediate reactions: 1) Duh….that was funny!  Hur, hur.  Did you see the elevator scene?  Hur, hur.  2) Psy totally pulled a Blink 182 (see: “All the Small Things” music video) and is making fun of the Kpop industry. 2 fairly different ways to take the video.

I will venture to say that both reactions are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.  And what’s more, they are foolishly playing right into the diabolically genius hands of Psy and helping his persona’s move towards world domination.

It is no secret that the Kpop industry has been making its mark on an international level for quite some time.  Many of you might have gotten a taste of it years ago in Colbert’s faux altercation with the sensation-of-the-moment Rain.  And trust that it was only the beginning.  To illustrate my case in point, a year and a half ago our truck would park at a charter school for lunch once or twice a week.  There are just about zero Korean kids at this charter school.  So imagine our surprise when a 13-year-old Black student approached us with excited giggles and a 3-ring binder filled with magazine clippings and internet print outs of photos of this group called “Big Bang”, asking us if we knew them or heard of them.  When I asked about her favorite member, she almost died screaming in fangirl excitement.  She knew not a lick of Korean, but she had memorized all their lyrics and memorized all of their dance moves, having watched their videos repeatedly on the daily.  Had a Big Bang member shown up then and there, she would have died on the spot from a heart explosion.


Let it be known that he is graduate of both Boston University and Berklee College of Music.

I can almost imagine him in his super cave creating a check list of all the elements of a international Kpop smash hit music video:
1) Idiotic, aggressively catchy beat.  The kind that can potentially kill brain cells, it feels so good.
2) An internationally-friendly, no-brainer hook and chorus.
3) A stupidly simple and ridiculous dance.  (See: “the Superman”, “the dougie” and their predecessor “the macarena.”)
4) Lasers.
5) Sexy ladies.
6) Sexy gentlemen.
7) Dance off.
8 ) Slow-mo seduction sequence.
9) Explosion.

The genius is that PSY doesn’t make a choice between making fun of the Kpop industry and glorifying the Kpop industry.  Or if he does make a choice, he chooses to CHOOSE ALL POSSIBLE CHOICES.  He both lampoons and gives mad props to the industry of the viral Korean dance pop music video.  This would be why it might be a much more sophisticated video than “All The Small Things.”  It pokes fun at, but does not insult the kpop industry, even as he very tellingly “craps” out a mindlessly catchy song.  In doing so, he quite intelligently doesn’t make any enemies.


I could do another blog post JUST BASED ON dissecting and analyzing this video (much like I’ve done with Genki Sudo’s “Mind Shift), but I shall spare you the 3,000 words and do a quickie recap of all my favorite  moments.

MADONNA. SANTIGOLD. PSY. What is the deal with dark horses??? Ah. Could this be the secret behind their amazing choreography? Or a meta reference to their respective albums??? Or, as conspiracy theorists would theorize, reference to their devotion to Kabbalah as 'cabalists'? AN INQUIRING, OVER ZEALOUS MIND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW.

At around 0:37, he has a MJ moment with the wind machines.

the lyrics at this point are blaring, "YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL, SO LOVEABLY LOVELY."

This is actually a pretty interesting and telling moment in the music video.  We have 2 old men playing badook or some kind of checkers.  Basically, the Old Guard way of strategizing or doing things.

And after a ridiculously suave dance with a sexy young thang…

…he blows up and kills the 2 grandpas/Old Guard with a big bang, which is already fairly meta  This actually was an inside joke as well, in disguise, for the 2 men in old-timey-traditional-costume are actual members of the superstar Kpopular group Big Bang IN DISGUISE.  (It wasn’t revealed until the video became a hit a week later that Big Bang members faced fictional deaths-by-explosion.) Which is just meta on top of the meta!

I also love that he's king on a disco party bus filled with tourist ajummahs and halmonis.

NO WORDS. >__<

1) Appreciative ogling of objectified body parts? CHECK.

2) Aggressive dance off in an underground parking lot? CHECK.

3) Totally-unrelated-to-plot dance sequences? CHECK.

4) Slo-mo love-at-first sight moment with a hot young thang? CHECK.

5) The requisite wind machine? CHECK.

I also love that with each death, dance off or challenge, you see PSY building his army of Gangnam Style dancing bots.

As the world becomes his stage, PSY’s dancing bot recruitment culminates in targeting YOU, the everyday people, to join him in his quest for world domination (look at the costumes — from students to construction workers to nuns to cooks to flight attendants), Gangnam Style.

PSY is just SUPER self aware.  He’s not young.  He’s not ripped.  He’s not new.  And this is the prevailing style of an uber successful Kpop video.

If you can’t beat ’em, join em.  Enthusiastically.

And it’s most certainly worked for this Boston University, Berklee College of Music graduate.  In less than 2 weeks, his video’s generated well over 8 MILLION views worldwide with over a dozen Youtubed reaction videos by non-Korean kids.



photo courtesy of sravs on fLickr

But for the time being we can’t.  UNLESS YOU HELP US OUT.

So remember that loading zone we used to park out that was outside an apartment building?  So, before we used to eat up the parking tickets cuz you guys have just been so awesome.  Even the cops gifting us the tickets were pretty chill about it.  But as it turns out, the crowd of people that gathered around our truck has been bothering the tenants, which we can totally understand.

IT’S NOBODY’S FAULT.  Not you guys, not the tenants, not the cops.  It just is what it is.  I don’t think people hangry for their shortrib tacos were intending on getting all up in the apartment building’s personal space, just like we weren’t intending to be a nuisance.  But it is what it is and we’ve been asked to either leave or face a tank of a tow truck.

HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP:  Find us a safe parking spot, 200 ft away from operating restaurants and schools that won’t cause too much of a ruckas.

And we’d be happy to come back!

Feel free to either email me suggestions at or to put them in the comments section below.  (BEFORE THE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLATION BOTS OVERTAKE THEM.  AUUUGH!  AUUUGH!)

Love and tacos,

P.S. For those of you interested in the deep meaning behind the “Gangnam Style” lyrics, I shall copy and paste their translation below:

Oppa is Gangnam style
Gangnam style

A girl who is warm and down-to-earth during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m the guy
The guy who is as warm as you during the day
The guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
The guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That guy. I’m that kind of guy

Beautiful, loveably lovely
Yeah, YOU. HEY! Yeah, I’m talking about YOU. HEY.
Beautiful, loveably lovely
Yeah, YOU. HEY! Yeah, I’m talking about YOU. HEY.
From this moment onward, let’s keep going at it until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh – Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh – Sexy Lady Opp Opp Opp Opp

A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensible girl like that

I’m the guy
The guy who seems calm but plays when he plays
The guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
The guy who has bulging IDEAS rather than muscles
That guy. I’m that kind of guy

Beautiful, loveably lovely
Yeah, YOU. HEY! Yeah, I’m talking about YOU. HEY.
Beautiful, loveably lovely
Yeah, YOU. HEY! Yeah, I’m talking about YOU. HEY.
From this moment onward, let’s keep going at it until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

You know what I’m saying!
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady OPP OPP OPP
Oppa is Gangnam Style


0 Responses to The WOW Post: The Potential Obsolescence of Social Media Capital?, Gangnam StyLe, Calling Out to El Segundo

  1. Bill Comerford says:

    What about the parking lot of the old Sticks and Stein on the west side of Sepulveda, just north of Palm Ave. I know it’s next to an IHOP, but the Sticks and Stein has been closed for over a year now…

    We miss you in El Segundo!!!

  2. jgold says:

    Lovely exegesis of the PSY video – I spent all weekend staring at that thing.

    Also: do social-media inflation bots buy tacos? If so, win-win.

  3. Gabe says:

    There is a lot behind 300 Continental where there is a new truck parked every day. Not sure if they have different deals set up already, but we absolutely need you guys back in El Segundo. This oppression will not stand!

  4. Alice Shin says:

    Bill Comerford — Uf. That might be cutting it a little close to park up next to an IHOP, but we’ll give it a good look see. (( H U G )) I KNOW, EL SEGUNDO. I KNOW.

    jgold — yay! You read through the whole thing! Why does that not surprise me! YES. There is just something about that MV that got my braincells trotting in very happy circles. G-style. As for the social-media-inflation bots: that would be a win-win, indeed. Win-win, indeed. ::strokes invisible beard::

    Gabe — ::raises a fist:: I’m with you, brother. Seriously, El Segundo is a classic Kogi lunch stop. WE SHALL NOT GO DOWN SILENTLY INTO THE DAYLIGHT.

  5. naraytor says:

    korea’s got seoul. gangnam style

  6. Bill Comerford says:

    Alice- I checked the Sticks and Steins parking lot this morning on my way into work and the lot is wide open and a good sized space with lots of parking!

  7. Tim says:

    You make a good point with your post on how the value of social media is being undermined through greedy attempts to artificially inflate one’s number of followers. We need a gold standard for social capital! LOL

  8. Ant says:

    I like the idea of using Stick & Stein’s lot. I won’t have to bother parking over at Ralph’s and walking to Grand anymore to get my short rib taco fix. Lol.

  9. Bella says:

    Another truck I know parks at Sepulveda and Walnut on Tuesdays and is still doing so. Northeast corner in the red zone… they don’t seem to have a problem.

    But with the menu cuts, I’m not sure how often I will be visiting any more 🙁

  10. Sam says:

    We just agreed on the big lot on 11207 s la cienega blvd could be worthwhile. It’s right next to the 105 / 405 intersection and would do well as there are no restaurants or hotels near by. We’d love to have you guys here

  11. Pingback: YAYYY! LOOK! 100K!!!

  12. Bill Comerford says:

    Don’t forget about us in El Segundo – 5 WEEKS no Kogi????

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