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Health

I’m A Food Social Media Entrepreneur And I Just Quit All Social Media

Day 1.

This is weird for me to write. Let me explain.

I’m a 29-year-old co-founder of Foodbeast, a website and media company whose content is seen by over a billion people a year. Our articles are read on Foodbeast.com and our videos are viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We have some premiere food and travel shows in our network now. My work day consists of answering emails, thinking of content ideas, client relations and growing our audience.

I started Foodbeast close to 10 years ago as a blog. It was a time prior to Facebook’s newsfeed, before Instagram was a seed in Kevin Systrom’s entrepreneurial ballsack — in short, social media as we know it did not exist.

I was still in college at the time and had a passion for writing and telling stories in any medium I could. Whether I was blogging about my friend attempting to eat 30 Sloppy Joes in one sitting inside a school cafeteria, the new burgers at Carl’s Jr., or using a MiniDV cam to film myself burning the roof of my mouth on hot pot the first time — I just wanted to tell stories I cared about.

I wanted to discuss food sans all the pretentiousness, because the proposition of Food Network being the sole voice for food was starting to feel stale to me. Fast forward 10 years later, Foodbeast is a humble company of creators, social media managers, ad sales, writers and video producers that continue to live out that vision. To say we owe a LOT to social media would be an understatement. Before Facebook and YouTube, our monthly audience maxed out at 2 million people a month. That’s a LOT of people, don’t get me wrong, but when technology and hackers like Mark Zuckerberg, and the bros behind YouTube gave us some bigger microphones to tell our stories through, our audience ballooned. For a self-funded, entirely private company like Foodbeast, social media gave us an opportunity and voice we likely wouldn’t have had without it.

That said, I just deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat from my phone. Any social application that gives me access to a seemingly unlimited amount of people, I’ve removed. Only 1-on-1 conversations. Text and phone is cool. No “social validations” for a while. No quick social media dopamine hits to vacantly boost my mood when people like or view my “content.” No addictive social validation loop. Gone:

I didn’t run this decision by my business partners, my family — I didn’t want to make a symbolic gesture by announcing “going dark” on all my social feeds by uploading some dumb all black photo. I’m obviously not looking to advocate for the eradication of the amazing tool that social media is — my business wouldn’t have succeeded without it. With social media I have the ability to, within seconds, speak to anyone on fucking planet Earth. It’s an amazing tool, I want to use it, but I no longer feel like I have any control over it.

Fuck, I literally just switched tabs while writing this — entirely muscle memory — to check Facebook. The above is literally a screenshot, in real time, of me stopping the task at hand and going to Facebook. Good thing I’ve logged out of all of it. But seriously, I just hot-keyed my keyboard to spawn up a new tab and began typing ‘F-A….’

This morning, on our bi-weekly Katchup podcast I do with my co-founder Geoff Kutnick, the topic was the Most Important Food Instagrammers of 2018. I had been planning to discuss my research, interviews and surveys I’d accumulated over the past couple weeks. Who’s the most important? Who takes the best photos? Who has the best engagement? My goal was to finish the article before the podcast went live. I didn’t. I must have been too busy to finish… hm.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll notice that I nearly crack and lose it towards the end as I describe Facebook “not giving a fuck about you.” The one bit of my research that stuck with me so profusely happened to come from a random YouTube video featuring ex-Facebook execs talking about social media.

The following video reveals both Sean Parker (ex-President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former Facebook exec and current Golden State Warriors co-owner) having immense regret for growing the Facebook platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said in front of students at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Alright Chamath, you sound CRAZY, dawg. Easy to sit on your billions and say you don’t “do” social media now. But…

…then something clicked for me.

I know these tools inside and out: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They’re crucial and give us a wealth of power and communication. But who’s really in charge? I hate to call social media a drug, in fear of sounding like my mom circa the grade school years telling me my hours of Nintendo were turning my brain to mush, but fuck dude, I can’t take a shit without passively scrolling Instagram. I’d more rather have my phone on the toilet than toilet paper — at least I have my phone to look up alternatives to wiping my ass when the TP is depleted.

I can’t even go to the gym without checking Twitter for that fire Lavar Ball Tweet. I reward every task on my work ‘to-do’ list with a quick “hit” of social media. H ow come no one has checked me into fucking rehab yet?!

A study in 2016 (yeah, it’s two years old but it’s the first study that came up in Google, sue me) says the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day. Bruh. That’s a TYPICAL person. And that’s an OLD study.

Psychological and mental health aside of living within the walls of a digital world for a majority of your day, the physicality of my neck crane-ing over 5+ cumulative hours a day actively using my phone while I wait for people to like my Instagram photo is fastidiously putting a herniated disc into my neck. Truly, my neck hasn’t stopped hurting for the past couple years.

Bruh, it hasn’t been but a couple hours, but speak of the devil:

I’ve found I haven’t been able to write like I used to. I’ll get 400 words in and my mind will find some unexplainable reason that I must check Instagram. An hour of scrolling later, I forgot what I was writing about, have jumped to Facebook, ignored my girlfriend’s texts and cracked my neck three times since there’s no “healthy” way for you to posture looking at a 4 inch screen on a couch.

I haven’t published a memorable article on Foodbeast in the past year or so. It took me “weeks” to get 80% done on three different articles, tens more in drafts. I even went on a “spiritual food journey” during a recent trip to Seattle and left my phone in my room for 24 hours. I documented every food I ate and person I encountered in a journal. A spiral-bound book of blank paper and a pen that ejaculates ink is what people used to use to document memories. It was brilliant day. It was eye opening. I felt like Bourdain on his third book. On the 25th hour when I sat down to write about my day sans-phone, I got two sentences in to my recollection, got distracted by a glowing notification on Instagram and never looked back at that draft.

It’s been five months since then.

It’s February 1st now. I’ll use social media again in March. I won’t be able to tell if people are “commenting” on this story, or the subsequent journal entries I’ll produce this month, but you can email me what you think.

I’d love to hear if I’m crazy. Will my food taste better now? Will my mind change? Does your neck hurt, too? Do you get anxiety about taking shits without your phone? Who will I share my food photos with? Have you ever lost your iPhone for a few hours and felt like you were completely void of meaning and direction in your day? E-mail me. Don’t Tweet me, don’t DM me on Instagram. I can’t see your messages on Facebook — but I can see your e-mails. My email is: elie@foodbeast.com

My Managing Editor didn’t proof this story. There may be typos. Like I said, I haven’t written in a long, long time. I’ve decided not to wait until March to journal my story, ’cause when I pick up the pipe again, I may just forget what the fuck it is I wanted to say.

Now you see why this is weird for me to write. I’ll see you tomorrow with more.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Humor Science Video

These Guys Built A Rocket Using Nothing But Butane And A Coke Bottle

You shouldn’t try this at home. Playing with butane gas is never a good idea. Butane gas is extremely flammable — its primary use is to start fires. If not used in a well-ventilated area, butane gas could blow up your house. If you try this and send it to us, we will not acknowledge your existence.

Thanks to the dozens of previously attempted experiments found on the Internet, it’s become public knowledge that if you top off a half-full Coca-Cola bottle with butane gas, and then flip the bottle, a spontaneous reaction occurs that causes the bottle to take off like a rocket.

It’s pretty damn incredible. But also dangerous. It’s especially dangerous to attempt any type of science experiment without wearing protective eyewear, which these guys did not use. It’s dumb. But also entertaining. Sort of.

So, now that the cat’s out of the bag, let’s explain the context of this experiment.

Butane has a boiling point of 0° Fahrenheit — for perspective, water boils around 210°Fahrenheit. Since butane is stored in metallic containers under extremely high pressure, it becomes liquid once the valve is pressed.

Liquid butane is not soluble, meaning it doesn’t dissolve. It will sit on the top layer of the Coca-Cola. Once mixed, the soda causes the butane to try and escape the bottle rapidly — creating a propulsion effect.

Ironically, this isn’t a chemical reaction — it’s actually the exact opposite. The butane doesn’t mix with the soda, so it literally turns to gas and evaporates. Chemical reactions occur when two substances combine.

The final product, however, does not leave the viewer disappointed. If you’ve never seen this experiment before, it definitely has some shock value.

What’s even better, is that we might have actually learned something out of such hijinks.

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Sweets Video

Watch This Mad Scientist Perform Explosive Experiments With Peeps

Easter is only a few days off and we’re swept away with how many Peeps we’ve seen in the last couple weeks.

If you’re looking for something to do with all those marshmallow snacks, other than eat them, turn to Grant Thompson (AKA The King of Random).

Peeps variations included in this experiment were the Fruit Punch and Pink flavors, with a few other random candies he had lying around thrown in for good measure. Hey, go big or go home right?

The YouTuber and mad scientist got a hold of some potassium chlorate and decided to have a little Easter fun. He performs a few different experiments to see how the holiday marshmallow snack faired when exposed to molten potassium chlorate. The solid, crystalline, substance had to be melt down with a blow torch until it was a liquid state before it could be added to the Peeps.

Check out the video to see for yourself the explosive results from the sweet little experiment. And per the usual for zany experiments like this, do not try this at home.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Video

Watch A Red Hot Nickel Turn A Lollipop Into A Chaotic, Melting Mess

There seems to be a correlation between the public’s fascination with spicy foods and the act of pouring scalding hot liquid metal onto food. Whether it be crushing a few coffin cases of deathly hot Carolina Reaper Pepper infused Paqui Chips, or simply dumping molten copper on top of every food item imaginable — it seems experiments are always better when the heat is turned up.

For example, check out how this red hot nickel ball quickly turns this Tootsie Pop into a hot, melty mess in less than a minute.

This video is just one of many food-based stunts performed by the crazy kids on the CarsandWater YouTube channel. But, believe it or not, this experiment finally put to rest the confounding question of, “How many red hot nickel balls does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop,” asked by dozens of Cars and Water subscribers.

Now we know the answer. One.

Most of the Cars and Water videos involve red hot nickel balls — or RHNBs — and you should definitely not try these at home. Still, Cars and Water might actually be onto something with this RHNB theme.

Here’s some GIFs of more RHNBs melting through various food based items.

A RHNB vs. Cotton candy.

A RHNB set atop some liquid nitrogen frozen honey.

A RHNB stacked on some Oreos. Oreos were not playin’!

This experiment didn’t include a RHNB, but what’s cooler than a liquid nitrogen fueled potato gun? No pun intended.

And the best experiment of all — using a RHNB to obliterate some Peeps.

Have something in mind that you’d like to see placed against a red hot nickel ball? Leave a comment on the Cars and Water YouTube channel and see what can take the heat.

Categories
Cravings Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss Video

This Is What Happens When You Pour Sulfuric Acid On A Big Mac

A few years ago, we wrote about what would happen to a McDonald’s cheeseburger dunked into hydrochloric acid. YouTube channel Let’s Melt This decided to conduct a similar, but different, experiment to see what would happen if you poured sulfuric acid on a McDonald’s Big Mac.

Unlike the previous news video, this one’s an up-close look with a time lapse so you can see exactly what happens to the burger while the acid works its magic. The half hour process is sped up into a two minute time lapse.

Notice how hydrochloric acid will turn a cheeseburger into a black goo, while sulfuric acid will cook a Big Mac from the outside… before it turns everything to goo. Like our previous post about the Big Mac getting doused in molten copper, there’s something powerful and unyielding in that Big Mac bun.

Check out the eye-opening video.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

The Starbucks #OrangeDrink Was Just A Social Experiment

Within the last month, Starbucks’ “secret menu” has made headlines thanks in part to a line up of beautiful drinks found on the Rainbow Secret Menu. Now, the #OrangeDrink is blowing up — but that was all part of the plan.

The coffee chain’s rainbow beverage trend has become an Internet sensation without any official advertising from Starbucks. In fact, a closer look reveals that Starbucks’ secret menu could be a concept perpetuated by die-hard Starbucks fans and well-trained baristas.

That’s where the #OrangeDrink comes in. We wanted to prove social media was the primary force driving the secret drink phenomenon. In order to prove this theory, we tried an experiment, just to see how far social media could run with it. 

The #OrangeDrink, specifically, was a product of a Foodbeast experiment to prove that the color of the drink did not matter, but more so to show that social media was the only tool needed to create a new trend, instantly.

After Foodbeast broke news on the #PinkDrink craze June 1, it got more than 100,000 Instagram posts dedicated to it. Shortly after our Pink Drink coverage, the #RainbowDrink trend started gaining attention from notable publications like Time magazine, The Huffington Post and PopSugar.

Our friend and local Orange County food-influencer, Scott Nghiem (@ScottAfters), co-owner of Afters Ice Cream, posted the first images of Starbucks’ #PurpleDrink on his Instagram page last week, it generated 16.5K likes. Scott’s post of the #PinkDrink received 35K likes. Scott has 120K followers and on average he receives about 5K likes per post, Scott’s secret rainbow drink posts generated approximately 50K likes, respectively.

ScottAfters

Last Thursday, as the Foodbeast news team casually discussed the hype behind the pink and purple drinks and how we were not blown away by the taste of either color, Marc leaned over the mezzanine on the second floor and yelled down to our bullpen, “Let’s go to Starbucks and make an orange drink.”

We looked up the #OrangeDrink hashtag and luckily enough there was nothing Starbucks related. Marc, Izzy, Reach and I walked into our Downtown Santa Ana Starbucks, where we are on a first name basis with store manager Eric Olson. We told Eric what we were working on and what we had in mind.

OrangeDrinkCrop1

“We want an orange drink and we want it to taste delicious,” I said.

Being the gracious host that he is, Eric went above and beyond to deliver what we asked. He may have single-handedly created the best tasting secret drink yet. After Eric made a few variations, it seemed that mixology is really the secret behind the success of Starbuck’s so-called “secret menu.”

Eric explained that Starbucks doesn’t officially recognize a “secret menu” but credited the baristas for playing a pivotal role in responding to a customer’s palate when discovering new flavor concepts.

However, as baristas continue to create sensational flavor profiles — that are dominating social media with countless posts of approval — Starbucks is reaping all the benefits. Additionally, secret menu fanatics are busy tracking down the perfect opportunity to purchase “secret” drinks — in order to frantically post photos of these aesthetically pleasing beverages to social media — the coffee giant is cashing in.

With each Instagram, Facebook and Twitter post, the colorful drink trend grows. Further perpetuating the demand for off-menu items — all while generating an insane amount of free advertising for Starbucks. Not to mention the extra charges for ingredients like soy, or coconut milk.

So, could it be that timely coordination and Instagram traffic drove enough attention to create an instant trend without the help of the company behind the beverages?

The answer is yes.

We used the #OrangeDrink as a jumping off point to get another colorful Starbucks drink trending. As fate would have it, the #OrangeDrink instantly became known as the best tasting rainbow drink and social media quickly followed suit.

OD FINAL CROP

A few Foodbeast staffers and myself posted #OrangeDrink photos to our Instagram accounts and waited for social media to react. Over the weekend, Yahoo! News, Refinery 29, MashableThrillist, NBC Business and NBC New York all reported on the #OrangeDrink as the new summer drink to try.

OD Grid

Without diving into sales numbers and statistics, this trend is a reflection of something bigger. Baristas are trained to work with an open system, which allows them to create flavors that cater to any palate, simultaneously becoming artists in their own right. There’s no back of the house manual explaining how to create these new beverages.

It’s also important to note that these trends are happening so fast, baristas are having a hard time keeping up. Although, some may be a little annoyed with Starbucks fanatics constantly testing the waters of what can be created behind the counter. The possibilities are endless.

At the same time, baristas are being blindsided with strange drink orders, scrambling to figure out what’s supposed to be inside these “secret drinks” everyone is ordering — just because they saw it on social media.

After digging into the Reddit channel “r/Starbucks” and under a subreddit thread, “There’s an orange drink now???” we found Starbucks’ employees are sounding off on their disapproval of this exponentially growing trend.

User Breslayy obviously didn’t like the #PurpleDrink and said all the other drinks were “awful.”

redditorangedrink3

User Agaue said it felt like customers were purposely trolling baristas. Good eye, kid.

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As Starbucks’ reaps the rewards from social media exploiting their “secret menu” for free, the baristas are stuck with the grunt work, and receive little incentive for having to learn these “secret” drinks on the spot.

But, as Reddit user ToastyXD worded it — it’s become part of the job description for baristas to understand that Starbucks’ open mixology system makes all this possible.

redditorangedrink

However, some baristas just don’t care at all.

Where the #pinkdrink #orangedrink and #purpledrink belong. #starbucks #notsorry

A video posted by Danielle Vaughn (@heytheredanielle) on

We have to thank Starbucks’ open and expansive mixology system, without it, none of this would have been possible. The only problem is, we might have simultaneously created the best drink of the summer as a joke. However, it’s not something we are trying to keep a secret.

Thank you, Internet!

Featured image: @kuyameztizo

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Japanese Students Found A Way To Hatch An Egg Out Of Its Shell [WATCH]

You can finally stop using the phrase, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” because after watching this video, posted by YouTube channel Sofa King Sick, you’ll know the answer: Neither.

The video contains subtitles and describes a group of Japanese high school students hatching a chick without the use of a shell. If you’re a bit skeptical, the results were actually published by Japan’s Poultry Science Association back in 2014.

Even Snopes can’t disprove it, calling it a “Mixture,” although they pick apart the video’s claim that the high schoolers were the first to do it. The video was later removed by Sofa King Sick, but we found another version posted here.

Even though you’ll most likely think about eating eggs differently and possibly question everything you know about reality, at least you’ll do so knowing that these students from Japan were able to recreate the biological cycle of chickens, in the comfort of their classroom!

What happened to just dissecting dead frogs?

The research notes on this experiment titled, “A Novel Shell-less Culture System for Chick Embryos Using a Plastic Film as Culture Vessels,” published by the Japan Poultry Science Association provides scientific insight to the experiment’s variables. The embryos were artificially fertilized and incubated and incased in a plastic surrogate container.

Science is pretty weird sometimes, and this video will probably make you say, “That’s fucking weird,” out loud to yourself.

If hatching shell-less chicks becomes the next bandwagon in DIY culture, count us onboard.

We would have no choice but to name our first egg-less chick, ‘Shelly.’

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Controversial Experiment Forced Koreans To Try ‘Dog Meat’ And They Weren’t Happy

Koreans-Dog-Meat-Experiment

In a pretty controversial social experiment, a group of five Korean people asked to participate in an experiment called “Try Foods from Around the World.” They were given different dishes and had to guess where they thought the dish came from.

Pretty innocent, right?

It was only after they tasted one particular dish that they were immediately told it was dog meat.

The group did not take the news well.

Soon after the groups reactions were caught on tape, they were relieved to discover it wasn’t dog meat. Rather, they had eaten lamb and were lied to.

Check out the pretty powerful video.