There have been hundreds of afternoons where a quick pick-up of some refreshing honey milk tea with boba was desperately needed to fuel the occasional sleepy colleague and I. While an emoji wasn’t necessary to express our bubble tea cravings, it would have been more than welcome had it existed.
Now it does.
Last Friday was World Emoji Day, and with it came the announcement of a new emoji update for Facebook, Google, and Apple scheduled to launch in the latter half of 2020.
Hopefully, once this pandemic’s over and you’re trying to get some boba or tamales with friends, you’ll be able to express your excitement in emoji form. In the meantime, I’ll be working on a tamale boba truck concept. That sounds so fire right now.
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: email@example.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.
Admit it; we’ve all had that feeling of hunger pangs and disappointment at your Chick-fil-A dreams being dashed simply because it’s Sunday. Those unfulfilled not-so Sunday Funday cravings leave us wondering, “Isn’t it supposed to be their pleasure to serve us?”
Most of us curse the fast food gods for being so cruel, shaking our fists to the sky while simultaneously hitting up the nearest Mickey D’s drive-thru to get some semblance of a nugget fix. But for Shama Mrema, he took his Chick-fil-A defeat to the next level by penning a rap professing his love for the chicken chain.
In a music video obviously shot on a Sunday outside an empty Chick-fil-A location, Mrema waxes poetic about his weekend woes, lamenting over his lack of mini sandwiches and sweet tea. Mrema’s Drake-like simping speaks to our waffle fry-loving hearts with lyrics like “Chick-fil-A sauce so good like it was made by G-O-D.” Seriously, that sauce is like crack.
Like Mrema, we’ll have to”drink [our] own tears till 6 a.m. Monday” until we’re reunited with that glorious chicken biscuit.
It’s no secret the world of competitive eating has been dominated by male competitors for years. While female juggarnauts like Miki Sudo and Sonya Thomas are ranked within Major League Eating’s top 10, there are only 13 female competitors in MLE’s Top 50.
However, that will soon change, as a new and unknown female competitor is calmly eating her way through massive eating challenges on YouTube, and is set on breathing new life into the role of women in the realm of competitive eating.
Her name is Raina Huang, and she’s hungry. To demonstrate her talents, Huang recently completed the In-N-Out 50×50 Challenge — in less than 40 minutes.
On November 2, more than 80,000 people tuned-in on FOODBEAST’s Facebook page to witness history via livestream.
For the most part, Raina Huang, a resident of Walnut, Calif., is an unknown. She recently started a YouTube channel to showcase herself casually eating her way through massive 8-pound burritos and 6.5-pound sushi challenges. Her modest demeanor and shy persona are slightly deceiving characteristics, but once she starts eating — it’s all business.
In order to prepare her body for these challenges, Huang claims her training consists of lots of cardio, and says she also drinks a gallon of water, everyday, in less than five minutes.
It’s quite a sight to witness this miraculously gluttonous task in person. In total, the 50×50 challenge took the novice competitive eater less than 40-minutes to not just complete, but dominate.
However, this 50×50 In-N-Out Challenge isn’t a first. In 2016, well-known professional eater Naader “Freak Eating” Reda attempted the challenge live on a FOODBEAST livestream, but came up short, consuming a respectable and then world record, 40 patties.
For Huang’s effort, she started off quickly, devouring multiple patties at a time. Unlike her counter-part Freak Eating, she didn’t use any sauce or ketchup. From sitting, standing, and even jumping at times, Huang was determined to break Freak Eating’s 40×40 record.
In the midst of the insane gastrointestinal task at hand, and another story for another time, is the fact that before now, ordering an In-N-Out’s 50×50 has proved near impossible.
On November 2, FOODBEAST proved that Southern California’s most well-known burger chain is capable of churning out a 50×50 upon request.
While a $63 In-N-Out 50×50 is impressive on its own, what’s more impressive is watching YouTuber Raina Huang set a world record by eating THE ENTIRE THING.
Huang’s tactic of going condiment-free might have been the smartest move. Freak Eating continuously dunked his portions into ketchup, but he had to tap out at 40.
However, as Huang mowed through the majority of the burger, she began to complain about the saltiness. Perhaps Freak Eating’s ketchup tactic backfired, adding more sodium to the equation, draining his mouth of much needed saliva to help break down massive amounts of meat.
Either way, it’s safe to say that there have been some long-standing heavyweights in the competitive eating world. Now, the industry should be ready to add Huang’s name to the ranks of household names like Joey Chestnutt, Matt Stonie, and Naader “Freak Eating” Reda.
It’s not everyday someone becomes the world record holder for eating a In-N-Out 50×50, so someone better call The Guinness Book of World Records, because Huang deserves a trophy.
A University of California police officer was filmed taking money from the wallet of a Berkeley hot dog vendor, as he was citing the man for illegal vending. The video, posted on Facebook Sept. 9, has generated more than 10 million views and an outpouring of support, donations, and questions about the officer’s actions.
UC Berkeley Police 👮🏼 y’all some punk ass bitches a ticket is understandable but to take his money away fuck the police pic.twitter.com/B8j2UcvREG
Thanks to some quick thinking and generosity, Martin Flores, the man who filmed the incident, also set up a GoFundMe account, “OfficialJustice4Juan&StreetVendors” which surpassed its $10,000 goal within hours.
As Flores was taking his family to grab hot dogs after a Cal Bears game, he saw the officers citing the man now known as Juan, pulled out his phone, and started filming. Flores began questioning the officer about why he took the man’s money.
“You’re going to take his hard earned money,” rebuked Flores.
“Yup,” the officer responds.
“That’s not right, man,” Flores said to the officer. “People can drink on campus, during football games with no tickets, but a hard working man selling hot dogs, earning a living gets his money taken away — and a ticket — wow!”
“He doesn’t have a permit,” the officer replied. “Yup, this is law and order in action.”
However, it’s unclear if actually taking a civilian’s money is a standard protocol for police officers when citing food vendors. The East Bay Times reported that UCPD is, “investigating this weekend’s citation and apparent confiscation of money earned by a hot dog vendor on the University of California campus after a Golden Bears football game.”
By law, mobile food facilities must obtain a permit from the Alameda County Environmental Health website, but it’s unclear what agency actually enforces those permits on a day-to-day basis. Still, if Juan, or any other hot dog vendor in the city wanted to operate, there’s at least a $500 fee associated, according to Alameda County’s Environmental Health website.
This is just one instance in a larger battle street vendors face, and thankfully people like Flores exist, to help people like Juan, the Berkeley hot dog vendor, rebuild their lives after tragedy strikes.
In just one day, Flores’ GoFundMe account received more than $30,000 in donations — and has already notified Juan. It would be cool to see that money go to help a few street vendors go legit, so everyone can enjoy delicious street food without fear of prosecution.
The internet has come to the rescue of a Hollywood street vendor, who filmed a heated confrontation between himself and a man who pushed his food cart to the ground. A GoFundMe account has been set up, and already surpassed the goal of $1,000. Currently, the account, set up on July 24, has more than $3,000 in donations.
The now viral video, which has more than 4 million views, shows street vendor, Benjamin Ramirez, being berated by a man and woman walking a dog.
The argument apparently started after the assailant, identified as Carlos Hakas by the Huffington Post, told Ramirez he was taking up too much space on the sidewalk. The video shows Ramirez telling him he has enough room to walk around his cart.
It should be noted that the identity of the suspect has not been confirmed by Los Angeles County authorities.
The video, posted by Imelda Reyes on Facebook, shows the men arguing in Spanish, then shows Hakas try approaching Ramirez with a stun gun in his hand. However, in self defense, Ramirez quickly grabs a jar of chili powder and throws it in Hakas’ face, staining his black Guns N Roses t-shirt red.
The video, which was recorded on Ramirez’s cell phone, shows Hakas pushing over Ramirez’s food cart, sending food, spices and other debris into the street.
“He kept telling me that there was no room to walk on the sidewalk, and I said, ‘There’s plenty of room to walk around,'” Ramirez told ABC7 Eyewitness News. “I was afraid he was going to hit me with something because he came at me with something, so I grabbed my bottle of chili. I meant to throw it in his face but it landed on his chin.”
For now, Hollywood law enforcement officials have yet to officially name a suspect, but if it’s not the aforementioned Hakas, he has yet to come out and explain that he’s innocent.
This case is now under review at the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, where it will be determined if the suspect in the video can be prosecuted for misdemeanor vandalism, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.
By now you’ve probably seen Snapchat’s Dancing Hot Dog augmented reality filter. The animated, breakdancing hot dog that you can place on objects in your environment is quickly becoming this summer’s hottest meme.
While the concept of augmented reality is pretty incredible, some might consider the dancing hot dog as Snapchat’s latest attempt to stay relevant.
Luckily enough, the Snapchat’s dancing hot dog became so popular — or loathed, depending on who you’re asking — that someone created a downloadable Google Chrome extension that replaces every image on Facebook with an image of the now famous dancing hot dog.
So, if you’re sick of your friend’s traffic selfie posts on Facebook, this “productivity extension,” will give you a break. I downloaded it, and it provided some much needed entertainment.
The extension, aptly named Hotdog Hell, was released on July 10, and now has more than 296 weekly users.
The extension’s developer, an 18-year old mathematics and computer science major, named Kevin Chen, said he created the extension after he fell in love with the vitality behind the bizarre filter.
“I saw the hotdog on Snapchat; a couple of my friends were sending it, and then people started putting it in random memes. It was just so utterly bizarre, and I loved it,” Chen said.
The two-week old extension is now Chen’s first project developed for public consumption on the Google Chrome web store. Still, the attention the “app” is generating was unexpected, according to Chen.
“Definitely exploded a lot more than I thought it would,” he said. ” I was pretty shocked on that first day, and I’m really happy that such an absurd meme gained so much traction.”
What’s interesting is that Hotdog Hell is categorized as a “productivity extension,” which undermines the silliness behind it, but also capitalizes on the meme’s absurdity and humor.
Chen said there was a conscious effort to make the joke of it being a “productivity extension” because it does make Facebook, “significantly harder to use.” Maybe that’s a good thing for some people.
While it seems the Dancing Hot Dog has become the Internet’s hottest meme character, there’s no telling exactly how Snapchat — the originator of the hot dog character — will react.
Although, Chen doesn’t seem worried, pointing to how viral the meme has become.
“So far, I haven’t been contacted by anyone from Snapchat about it, and I think at this point,” Chen continues, “the hot dog has a life of its own.”
Gordon Ramsay is known for going ballistic in the kitchen, violently calling out everyone who messes up even the slightest portion of the cooking process. Now, he’s going to take that shtick and apply it to everyday people like you and I.
Ramsay said that he will roast your cooking LIVE on social media, this coming Tuesday, and apparently all you have to do is comment or hashtag your photos with #TheFWord.
He didn’t say how long his roastmaster skills would be on display, but Ramsay has shown in the past that he has no problem going on a savage spree, and letting fans have it on Twitter.
Of course, this is all to promote his new American version of the hit TV show, The F Word, which will be premiering the next day, Wednesday, May 31.
The Ramsay Roasting should be fun, as the fiery chef is always colorful in his commentary, and it’s one of the coolest ways he can get involved with fans of his show.