On March 21, New Yorker food correspondent Helen Rosner tweeted a picture of her pointing to a Dyson Supersonic dryer on a raw chicken. She was trying to remove the moisture and maximize the crispy chicken skin before grilling it, and she wanted to share her snow day plans with her followers.
But this story is not about chicken. Well, it's a kind of chicken. It's also about Twitter and digital media and Misogyny and The Daily Mail. The tweet "hair dryer" is in the middle of its own life cycle on the Internet, and Rosner has nothing to do with it.
After the first tweet, most of Rosner's 50,000 Twitter followers were enthusiastic about their wit with chicken themes. They expressed joy and disbelief and asked for details about things like oven temperature and whether the dryer model will affect the resulting crispy chicken. The next day, Rosner's tweet appeared as a Twitter moment. That's where it started.
"In fact, I had the feeling that it had become a Moment before I saw that it had," Rosner tells The Verge. "I've had tweets highlighted in Moments before, and the most important thing that happens is that suddenly an avalanche of people tweets to you, usually while you misunderstand what your tweet actually says."
The tweet got about 1,600 likes in its first week, with over 100 responses, including one from the official Dyson account on Twitter. (Can any brand pass a self-promotion opportunity?) Now it has been covered by media such as Fox News, The Today Show, The New York Post, Lifehacker, Allure, USA Today, Bustle and The Kitchn. The Root declared that it was "the best of the Internet" in 2018, three months a year. The New Yorker article on Rosner's hack was converted into a YouTube video by the EnterTV content farm, which mixed Rosner's writings with chicken images and put it all in a Latin soundtrack.
Happy snow day, I am using an incredibly expensive hair dryer to remove all the moisture from a chicken to maximize the crunchy texture of the skin when it hits. pic.twitter.com/ngtzmoOSHf- Woman (@hels) March 21, 2018
As Rosner points out in his article on the New Yorker, the method of using dryers to absorb moisture from chicken skin has been used for years by the masters of barbecue bars, Japanese chefs and countless others who cook chicken. It is far from being a new technique, but now it is very much in line.
The chicken tweet hair dryer is not as surreal a phenomenon as Tide Pods or as omnipresent as the conspiracy theories of Flat Earth, but it has followed a similar trajectory: a single idea, without complications, gains an inordinate traction; that response guarantees a blog post, which generates more blog posts; and, finally, the absurdity of the exaggerated reaction inspires jokes and parodies. Also caught in that life cycle are the Internet trolls, chicken purists who only use the oven, people who think that drying a chicken's hair is just another way to "demoralize non-human beings" and at least one " Kill yourself! "
Some key elements prepared this tweet for your online journey. First, Rosner is already well known in the world of food and has a large following on Twitter. Secondly, the Dyson Supersonic is a $ 400 hair dryer, and it is easy to offend Internet people by spending their money in a way that others would not spend, especially if it is perceived as feminine or frivolous. (That's why the phrase "$ 400 hair dryer" is the headline candy). Third, Rosner's commitment to the tweet after the fact (retweet joke responses, recipe attempts and responses from especially outraged men) keeps him alive.
That's another thing: Rosner is a woman, and she says that makes it easier for strangers to assume that she does not know what she's doing. "I really think that if it had been a tweet from Kenji López-Alt or a tweet from Alton Brown, the answer would have been different, and I think smaller," says Rosner. "There would have been ecstasy on Twitter, and then maybe one or two food places would pick it up, but I think The Daily Mail, the [New York] Post, and others, there's something in the way they framed it that presumes my stupidity in place of my competition. "
Despite never really being "news" in the first place, Rosner's chicken tweet quickly became news anyway, largely thanks to misconceptions or misrepresentations of what Rosner was really doing. She was largely removed from the story in the headlines that described her as a woman who cooks chicken with her hair dryer. The owner of Yahoo, one of Google's main search results, goes a step further: "The woman uses the dryer to cook her meals." Rosner says that many of his Twitter responses come from men who told him to use a furnace.
"Look, I understand how the main business works: I spent a decade writing headlines," says Rosner, who changed her Twitter name to "Woman" when the headlines of many content titles began to arrive. "Saying & # 39; woman & # 39; or & # 39; man & # 39; in a headline is a choice." Says something very specific to your readers, something very different from "food writer" or "chicken lover" or "heroic genius." It's more or less shorthand, "Can you believe in this idiot?"
Tweets like Rosner highlight the lugubrious and devouring nature of digital publishing. With dozens of publications fighting for the same readers minute by minute, many will cover almost anything popular, regardless of whether it is substantial. If the phrase "chicken hair dryer" is trending on Google or on social platforms, publishers and writers in digital publications will rush to get as much traffic as they can, often without even bothering to look for comments. (In Rosner's case, only Allure contacted her).
"My Google alerts started to get stained every hour or so with another news or food website that covered it, usually linking my New Yorker piece and then citing Allure's story," Rosner said. "Most did not add anything, some thought he was cooking the chicken with the dryer, or intentionally hiding [the reality] to make the story more sensational."
This is how we get to the point where a culinary critic decides to roast a chicken on a snowy day, and we end up talking about it for a month. As more websites cover the trend of "chicken hair dryer", it starts to feel like something worth covering or part of a new culinary moment, when, really, like many digital simulations that have appeared before, There is almost nothing there. Now I am guilty of extending the life cycle because this is my job, but you are also guilty because you clicked.
"Like any red blood Twitter addict, I'm obsessed with media echo cameras, the proliferation of memes and all those fun things, so I'm seeing everything around me with fascination and delight," says Rosner.
Once you place something on the Internet, it is almost impossible to control it or keep your property. Maybe today you see people who tweet pictures of their own joke hacker dribbles, like how to get a dry martini or a … Constitution of the United States. It does not make sense, we'll be stuck here looking independent.