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Netflix

Netflix Delivers New Culture Guidelines Giving Employees Ultimatum 

Netflix employees and viewers have been sharing their extreme dissatisfaction with the platform’s decision to upload content that can be seen as harmful or hateful to certain marginalized audiences. 

The company has now responded to all the backlash by updating their culture guidelines which laid out new rules on “artistic expression.” However, the biggest part of the guidelines that has people talking is the section where the company gives their employees an ultimatum in which they stated that if an employee is uncomfortable with the content being created, regardless of reason, they should quit. 

In the updated guidelines, the company states that “not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. In order to entertain different tastes and points of view, some TV shows or movies can be provocative.”

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“While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

This means that employees at Netflix don’t always have the choice of which movie or TV show they will work on, regardless of if it goes against their personal beliefs and/or values. 

“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

A Netflix spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that the company has spent the past 19 month discussing cultural issues internally within Netflix employees, and the new language in the guidelines allows prospective employees to make a “better-informed decision about whether Netflix is the right company to work for.”

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This also led Netflix and users to ask the question: what about current employees who don’t have the financial means to just quit because they don’t agree with the company’s perspective on certain projects. 

The conversation surrounding Netflix’s ethics became more mainstream when The Closer was uploaded to the platform, a Netflix original comedy special starring Dave Chappelle in which he continuously mocked transgender people. 

Netflix employees complained on social media about the decision to give Chappelle the platform to spread harmful statements regarding the LGBT+ community. The fact that Netflix also reportedly paid Chappelle over $20 million for the special had many audience members frustrated and confused on the company’s values. 

GLAAD, a major LGBT+ advocacy group, and the National Black Justice Coalition both took to social media to call out Netflix and demand they remove the special from the platform. 

Since the controversy around Chappelle’s special, three employees were suspended and one was fired due to talks of a company walk-out. Business wise, however, between their cloudy values and consistent pricing increases, Netflix is currently down 67.79%, and has lost over 200,000 subscribers within the first quarter of 2022 alone. 

CDs Receive Wave Of Support From Music Lovers As Sales Decline

Many major retailers have ceased selling CD’s as a physical format for albums. Tesco recently became one of the larger retailers to announce they would be clearing the shelves of all CDs, sparking a major wave of support online from music lovers who appreciate the versatility that compact discs offer.

In 2007, the CD market was at its peak, with more than 2 billion physical copies of albums being sold globally. The digital music streaming platform, Spotify, was then launched in 2008, revolutionizing the way we consume music. CD sales began to immediately decline with the launch of the platform.

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Last year, however, CD sales saw an unexpected rise in sales thanks to Adele’s ‘30’, ABBA’s ‘Voyage’, and Ed Sheerans ‘=’.

Rob Sheffield also published a love letter to CDs in Rolling Stone last month: “Compact discs were never about romance – they were about function. They just worked. They were less glamorous than vinyl, less cool, less tactile, less sexy, less magical. They didn’t have the aura that we fans crave.

“You didn’t necessarily get sentimental over your CDs, the way you fetishized your scratchy old vinyl, hearing your life story etched into the nicks and crackles …. But CDs work. They just do. You pop in the disc, press play, music booms out. They delivered the grooves so efficiently, they became the most popular format ever.”

“Things like CD box sets, bootlegs, mixes from friends old and new, young bands whose albums I buy from the merch table at live shows and lamented the ephemeral nature of streaming culture.

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A recent article in Wired magazine also praised the “CD format, and its ridiculous affordability. Streaming was for the masses, vinyl was for hipsters, said the author, but his experiment in CD listening had brought unexpected joys.”

Some music fans just prefer the tangible aspect of having their favorite artists work in a compact physical form. Adele’s album was able to help aid CD sales after she gave an interview where she discussed how albums “tell a story, and those stories should be listened to as we intended,” meaning in order of the tracklist.

“We may be seeing the end of CDs as a mass-market product, but we could also be seeing the beginning of the repositioning of the CD as a more fetishistic item,” Bassett said.

“It’s unlikely to match the vinyl revival of recent years. There is not the same romance, the magic of dropping a needle on to vinyl. The plastic cases cracked easily. I remember listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind on the school bus and every time that the bus went over a bump, your CD would skip,” he added.

Sean Jackson of Reckless Records in Soho said “some customers insisted that the quality of analogue sound was superior to digital. But unless you’re really concentrating, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. There’s a market for everything – vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes. Formats go in and out of fashion, but music doesn’t.”

Netflix

Netflix’s “The Witcher” Eclipses “The Mandalorian” as World’s Most Popular TV Show

The recent launch of Disney Plus was accompanied by a live-action TV show based on the Star Wars universe, which soon became one of the most-watched shows in the world, thanks in part to its adorable alien creature fans have nicknamed “Baby Yoda.” But Netflix, undoubtedly the fiercest competitor to Disney’s new streaming service, has years of experience producing TV shows that capture the attention of critics and audiences alike, and has done so yet again with “The Witcher.” According to the data company Parrot Analytics, “The Witcher” has surpassed Disney’s “The Mandalorian” in popularity, drawing 127 million viewers as opposed to “The Mandalorian’s” 115 million viewers for the week of December 22 to 28. Based on a series of fantasy novels by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, “The Witcher” follows a monster hunter named Geralt of Rivia during his adventures in a medieval world. Though critics gave “The Witcher” a lukewarm reception, audiences flocked to the fantasy show, all but ensuring that Netflix will renew the series for several more seasons.

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A number of factors could explain “The Witcher’s” sudden popularity. For one, audiences may be familiar with the world of “The Witcher” not only from the eight novels that inspired it but from the popular video game series of the same name, sparking their curiosity about how Netflix would handle a live-action adaptation. Additionally, the end of “Game of Thrones” left many viewers unsatisfied, and “The Witcher” provides an opportunity for fans of the genre to immerse themselves in a new fantasy world. Netflix has advertised “The Witcher” prominently, and as of this writing a trailer for the show loads immediately after visiting the website. And while Disney Plus has seen tremendous success in its first few months, many more people have Netflix subscriptions than Disney Plus subscriptions, as the former service has been around for more than a decade. All eight episodes of the show’s first season were released on December 20th in keeping with Netflix’s tradition of releasing all episodes of a season at once to facilitate binge-watching. “The Mandalorian’s” first season also had eight episodes, but these episodes were released weekly, with the season finale premiering on December 27th. The success of both shows demonstrates that both release models are viable for attracting large audiences, though most viewers likely prefer Netflix’s approach as it allows for instant gratification.

Despite the show’s popularity, reviewers had a number of complaints about “The Witcher.” Overall, it holds a 59% approval rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who criticized the show for failing to establish a convincing, believable fantasy environment and for its “boring” characters. Critics also complained that the show is poorly paced and features excessively convoluted storylines, which are particularly hard to follow for people unfamiliar with the books or video games. General audiences were more approving of the show, as “The Witcher” holds a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the series’ high production values, engaging action sequences, and the audience’s familiarity with the source material, it is perhaps not surprising that “The Witcher” ended up being a crowd-pleaser. 

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Unlike “The Witcher,” both audiences and critics approved of Disney’s “The Mandalorian,” as viewers around the world fell in love with the show’s infant alien character. On Rotten Tomatoes, “The Mandalorian” has a 94% approval rating among critics and a 93% audience approval rating, indicating near-universal acclaim. Viewers praised “The Mandalorian” for its compelling characters, its engaging action sequences, and its adherence to the style of the Star Wars universe. Considering that “The Mandalorian” was likely the most successful aspect of the launch of Disney Plus, Disney is likely to continue to produce the series for some time. That being said, as a result of “The Witcher’s” early success among audiences and the vast expanse of narrative content available for adaptation, both shows are likely to continue for many years to come. 

Streaming Services

The 5 Top Free Movie Streaming Services

There’s no question that streaming video technology has fundamentally changed the world of entertainment, as physical entertainment media has all but disappeared in favor of on-demand content delivered over the Internet in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. Subscriptions for these services can add up, however, particularly during a time when content is made exclusive to competing services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and now Disney Plus, requiring pop culture aficionados to subscribe to multiple platforms to keep up with the most-talked-about stories of the moment. That being said, a tremendous amount of content can now also be found on free, legal, ad-supported services which provide valuable alternatives for those who don’t mind ads but want more out of their television-watching experience. While these platforms won’t host the most recent, blockbuster productions, they often include classics from the history of cinema, making them a valuable resource for fans of the storytelling medium.

Plex, for instance, has recently expanded its business to include free access to stream a wide selection of content. While Plex has long been well-known as a platform for streaming media hosted on one’s desktop computer or server to any number of other devices, the service now also grants access to a wide variety of classics such as Rain Man and The Terminator. Considering the fact that accessing these critically-acclaimed titles from the 20th century requires only that users sign up for an account, taking advantage of Plex can enable hours of entertainment without spending a dime.

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Another service, Crackle, offers a similarly impressive collection of titles and doesn’t even require users to make an account, though the option is available for those who wish to sync their watching history across multiple devices. In addition to classic titles, Crackle includes some recent movies as well, such as Captain Phillips and Whiplash as well as several popular TV shows. As the service is broadly compatible with a wide range of devices, requiring little more than a modern web browser to function, it’s likely worth checking out.

IMdB TV, a service owned by Amazon and previously called FreeDrive, makes for another worthy Netflix alternative. The platform gives access to a number of titles that may be difficult to find elsewhere, particularly for free, including David Fincher’s excellent The Social Network and classics like The Shining and Groundhog day. However, the service only works on Windows and Fire TV devices and requires users to create an IMdB account.

Though its library of content is not as impressive as others on this list, Tubi offers a polished and streamlined interface as well as access to thousands of movies and TV shows, which include critically-acclaimed selections like Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Nightcrawler. Similarly, the Walmart-owned Vudu lets users stream a selection of titles, but also gives users the option of renting or buying films from the service directly for a small fee. While the platform’s selection of ad-supported content is understandably less than stellar, the option to rent or buy recent hits like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood makes Vudu an attractive option, particularly because the first rental on Vudu is only 99 cents.

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Lastly, Hoopla is a service that, in coordination with your local library, allows you to digitally “borrow” films as well as other media like music and eBooks using your library card. There are some obvious drawbacks to this service; not everyone has a library card, and not every public library works with Hoopla to enable access to content. That being said, Hoopla is the only service on this list not to serve ads, as the business is funded by library systems. Also, its selection of content is unique relative to other platforms, particularly when it comes to audiobooks and eBooks, which may in fact be the most valuable aspect of the service. Public libraries are an under-utilized free knowledge resource, but with services like Hoopla that enable easy and free access to library materials, that could soon change.

The variety of streaming media services, both free and paid, can be overwhelming, especially because navigating the enormous selection of (mostly mediocre) titles available on each platform can be tiring. That being said, free, legal access to media of all sorts via the Internet has never been greater, and many hidden gems await those who are willing to navigate various services and libraries.

Social Media

Social Media has Become an Essential Part of Any Real Estate Business

There’s no doubt that, for better or for worse, the explosion in popularity of social media has fundamentally transformed the way that human beings communicate with each other and conduct business, and the real estate industry is no exception to this rule. As such, a strong social media presence is absolutely necessary for any real estate enterprise in the modern era, and given the high level of competition, it can be difficult to figure out how to leverage social media to stand out from the crowd. As such, it is instructive to understand the various ways in which social media impacts the real estate market, as this serves as a guide for determining how best to manage social media accounts. No matter where you are in the world, your customers almost certainly use social media avidly, even when they are looking to buy homes or other properties. As such, this article will outline some of the key factors that separate a successful social media campaign from a failed one when it comes to real estate.

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Of course, one of the most important elements of a successful real estate business is marketing, and in the modern era social media provides perhaps the best vehicle for getting the word out about your real estate business. As homebuyers are more likely than ever to use the Internet to find their next home, it’s important to leverage this medium as a marketing opportunity. In a crowded and competitive business environment, it’s important to publish frequent social media posts, which combine quality content that is likely to engage readers with information about your brand to spread the word about your professional services. An essential component of this strategy is understanding your audience and tailoring your content to this target group; fortunately, most if not all major social media platforms provide businesses with analytical tools that offer insights about how your audience is engaging with your content, which you can use as a base for determining what direction to take your social media presence.

Additionally, social media is well known for its ability to help individuals network, both in a personal and a professional capacity. Indeed, social media companies thrive by taking advantage of the natural human desire to connect with other people by leveraging technology to optimize and streamline this process. As such, you should view the social media component of your business not only as a marketing tool but as the foundation of your professional network. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be used not only to generate new leads, but to re-engage former customers by reaching out directly to them. Networking is also useful in the sense that it allows business owners to monitor the behaviors of their competitors, cluing them in to business trends and news and helping them to keep up with the competition.

As time passes, a generation of digital natives, who use social media as one of their primary means of communication, will become the prime home buying demographic.

Of course, any successful social media campaign will be incorporated deeply into one’s business model, but it shouldn’t be the only vehicle for outreach and marketing. Indeed, traditional marketing strategies like online advertisements can be combined with social media to optimize a business’s marketing efforts. Short videos can be shared on the web both directly in the form of ads like YouTube “pre-rolls” and posted on multiple social media accounts simultaneously, and there exist many useful software tools to streamline this process. One of the benefits of advertising via social media is that social media posts don’t require a substantial financial investment in the form of paying another company for advertising space; however, this traditional method of advertising is useful for reaching out to people who otherwise would not have learned about your business.

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Finally, social media can be used to drive traffic to your website, thus increasing the likelihood of winning clients. Quality social media posts will be shared organically by their audience, and assuming these posts direct viewers towards your website, viral posts can offer a tremendous benefit. This is why ensuring that social media posts maintain a high quality is essential, as accounts that churn out low-quality content are likely to be ignored and regarded as spam, at worst turning off potential clients. Another way to ensure that posts are more likely to be shared is by incorporating SEO friendly terminology, ensuring that posts show up more readily in search engine results.

As time passes, a generation of digital natives, who use social media as one of their primary means of communication, will become the prime home buying demographic. As such, it is becoming increasingly essential to master this form of communication with potential clients and competitors. Doing so could be the key to success in a rapidly evolving information landscape.

iPhone with Twitter Logo

Twitter Now Let’s Users Hide Replies From Their Tweets

Social Media has been controversial since the moment it was created. Older generations don’t seem to fully get it or understand the point, younger generations seem to only be able to express themselves when it’s done in a digital space, and everyone else is somewhere in the middle of using it constantly, to only using it every once in a while. Regardless of your stance, it’s in your life, whether you have an account or not on the multitude of platforms available our world is now a digital one and it’s not looking to change any time soon. 

A growing concern surrounding this debate is it’s major impact on mental health, especially in impressionable teenagers. Young individuals seem to only seek validation through likes, comments, and shares on their posts. An insignificant number that only represents the amount of people who decided to double tap on something you posted is determining the emotional well-being of millions. In response to this, many major social media platforms are trying to combat artificial validation by testing the removal of things such as “likes” and “views” from its feeds. This way, users all together can focus more on the content they want to share, and not the content they want people to like. 

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Most recently, Instagram has begun its preliminary phases of removing “like” amounts from its public feeds, and now Twitter is allowing users to hide the amount of replies their tweets receive. Twitter has been testing this feature throughout the past year in different parts of the world and now, as of Thursday, has made it completely accessible to anyone with a Twitter account. 

“Currently, repliers can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about. We learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage your conversations. Twitter users can now hide replies to their tweets by tapping the gray icon that appears on their post and selecting ‘hide reply.’ Those replies will be moved to a different page, where they can still be viewed by other users. To see the hidden replies, users can select the ‘hidden reply’ icon on the tweet,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.

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In addition, when a user hides a certain reply to one of their tweets, Twitter will ask the user if they would like to block the tweeter as well. This feature stems from a concern that was brought up when hidden replies were just in their preliminary phases, in which users said their main issue was the repliers response after finding out their tweet had been hidden by the original sender. The purpose of this feature is intended to keep Twitter threads of discussion on topic and civil, as well as remove any forms of harassment or bullying that feels threatening to those actually engaging in healthy and meaningful conversation. 

Twitter themselves have stated that individuals who are considered “public figures” or politicians have, for the most part, not engaged with the new feature since its launch. However, that’s not surprising considering anyone in the spotlight this day and age is under constant scrutiny, it’s hard to filter out all of the negative and off-topic replies. 

“The move is Twitter’s latest effort to improve well-being on its service. The company also said it’s looking into other ways to tackle this issue, such as exploring who can reply to or see certain conversations. The new tool could be used to block replies that are spammy or unrelated to the content of tweets. They could also be used to silence harassment, trolls or people with opposing viewpoints,” (CNN). 

Facebook and Instagram have also announced their preliminary testing of features similar to this one. Overall these platforms want their brands to be about the content not about the validation that’s not actually validation and just a number on a screen.

Netflix

How Streaming Services Spread Culture Around the World

There’s no denying the massive influence innovations like the Internet have had on shaping culture around the world. But while corporations like Netflix and Amazon operate on a global scale, it’s not always immediately obvious to consumers of content via these platforms how market forces shape the different forms of culture they’re exposed to, and how societies are shaped by the cultures imported from other countries. As time goes on and people’s relationship with the media changes, these streaming services are having an ever-increasing influence on how we perceive our day-to-day lives.

Although no system of measurement in this regard is perfect, a number of metrics exist by which one can approximate the impact of streaming services on culture. One perspective is provided by looking at the interaction between shows popularized on Netflix and other social media sites. Actors and actresses who were relatively unknown before starring in programs on Netflix, for instance, are likely to see a dramatic increase in their number of followers on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. This popularity is beneficial both for the celebrities in question, who can leverage their social media presence to promote their projects and secure new acting opportunities, and for Netflix, which is able to attract people to its platform with the strength of this rising popularity. Netflix’s influence on the popularity of actors and actresses shows how, in some respects, streaming services are replacing the more mainstream and traditional outlets of television networks and movie studios.

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Because of its widespread global popularity, Netflix also influences global culture by introducing topics and ideas to an audience that exists beyond what this content would ordinarily reach. Netflix’s strength lies, in part, on the ability for its users to determine what type of content they would like to watch, and the company’s ability to collect statistics and data on their customers’ choices of content in order to make decisions about which content to promote. This new business opportunity has had the effect of increasing the popularity of programs which were once considered a niche genre in their country of origin. 

Culture itself is created on the internet in virtual spaces, marking a transition from culture which is created from the in-person interactions between people in the real world.

The reality tv show Terrace House, for instance, represents a genre that was born and became popular in Japan and, due to Netflix, has spread to other countries. Unlike most American reality tv shows, Terrace House does not focus on drama which is artificially created by producers for the sake of excitement. Rather, the show focuses on the ordinary and sometimes dull daily lives of a group of roommates, whose minor differences in personality sometimes lead to low-stakes, yet relatable conflicts. The popularity of Terrace House in America comes as a surprise, given the types of reality shows that usually gain popularity in this country, but represents a shift in the desires of American audiences towards more laid-back, casual reality entertainment.

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Streaming services like Netflix have also shaped culture around the world by changing audiences’ appetites for different formats, particularly when it comes to the release of TV shows. In the traditional TV show model, viewers are obligated to wait a week between episodes, and their viewing experience is usually interrupted by advertisements. With Netflix, however, viewers have the opportunity to “binge” on several different episodes of a show in quick succession, and don’t have to put up with the annoyance brought by interruptions for ads. This change in format has had a number of positive effects on the quality of entertainment. For one, TV show producers no longer have to worry about making sure their TV shows make sense to viewers who miss an episode, as episodes are watched on-demand and thus storylines can spread across several episodes instead of being self-contained in each installment. Additionally, show producers have a much greater degree of freedom with respect to the length and structure of their episodes, as they don’t have to worry about making time for commercial breaks and fitting their show into a predetermined time slot. What’s more, as Netflix is based on the Internet instead of cable TV, censorship is nearly non-existent, and producers are free to explore a variety of subject matters, creating content that can be enjoyed by a more mature, adult audience.

Netflix, of course, is not the only streaming video service to impact culture globally. The platforms Youtube and Twitch, which depend upon user-generated content rather than content generated by a production company, have revolutionized the way we think about entertainment. Youtube, for instance, not only provides a near-limitless selection of genres of video for viewers to consume, but also allows viewers to interact with content creators directly, turning the experience of consuming entertainment into a social one. And Twitch has revealed to the world that a countless number of people, particularly children and young people, have a taste for watching other people play video games in addition to playing them themselves, so much so that the Disney channel has partnered with video game players on Twitch to broadcast their streams over the air.

The growth in popularity of the platforms listed in this article seems to be endless. As they become more widespread, so too does culture; not only does culture from one part of the world spread to other parts of the world, but culture itself is created on the internet in virtual spaces, marking a transition from culture which is created from the in-person interactions between people in the real world.