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"The Good Doctor" Growth Hack
Read to the end for a very important chocolate man update
I've had an idea for a while. Is it possible to take metrics and leaderboards from all over the web and combine them to get an actual bird’s-eye-view of the whole internet?
A lot of the work I do in Garbage Day is vibes based. Which is, of course, fine lol, but I routinely wish I had some hard data on what was happening across the entire internet. So I teamed up with Adam Bumas, current Meme Insider writer and former Know Your Meme researcher, to see if we could crunch the numbers on, well, as much as we could find.
Our thought was that we could sell these directly to organizations or institutions that are looking for something more comprehensive that the usual garbage. So, today, we’re releasing our first version for free for everyone to check out.
If you think this is interesting and useful and you want to talk about getting more of these monthly reports, or are interested in commissioning custom data dives, email me at email@example.com. We’re still working on the right title, but I'm gravitating towards Garbage Intelligence…
The Platform Weirdness Behind The Good Doctor Memes
Just when I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever have a meme again (idk it had been a while), here comes The Good Doctor, which is now everywhere. On the off chance you don’t know what I’m talking about, let’s run through the basics.
The Good Doctor is an ABC adaption of a South Korean medical drama. It stars Freddie Highmore and he plays the titular good doctor. Highmore’s character is an autistic surgeon and the show is basically autism-as-a-superpower the show and, yeah, it’s pretty bad. Even though I liked Highmore in the underrated Bates Motel, he’s very terrible in this show and I think his cringe depiction of autism is half the reason it’s now become a huge meme. Also, The Good Doctor has done a bunch of ad spots for Autism Speaks, who are not the best.
Actually explaining what caused the current fascination with The Good Doctor, though, is sort of hard. The broad strokes are that TikTok’s algorithm has latched on to the show and clips are all over the app. And then, last week, two clips made the jump from TikTok to Twitter. First, there was the “I am a surgeon” video, which has since been remixed and turned the character of Dr. Han into a meme of his own. And then, two days later, Twitter users discovered the episode where The Good Doctor has a meltdown because a patient is trans.
So, as Forbes pointed out in their Good Doctor meme explainer, a lot of TikToks of the show are being shared earnestly. It is popular! I mean it’s been on since 2017. But what I haven’t seen anyone point out is that this isn’t the first time the show has been caught in an algorithm like this. It has been absolutely massive on Facebook for years. And I know this because I have a family member — who I will not name — that watches a lot of Good Doctor clips on Facebook. And will often send them to me even though I have asked them repeatedly not to!!
Why is The Good Doctor so popular on Facebook? Well, like most procedurals, it’s pretty easy to cut up into viral clips. If you’ve never seen this, there is an entire universe of Facebook pages that take scenes from TV shows and movies and give them headlines as if they were real. These Facebook pages will pitch-shift the audio or invert the footage to avoid copyright detection and once you start watching them Facebook’s algorithm will just recommend this sort of thing endlessly. To tap into the Good Doctor vein just search “this doctor with autism” on Facebook. I’ve also noticed most come with Chinese subtitles which makes me think many of these are part of a big international bootleg network. I would estimate at least a third of Facebook video content is clips like this. For instance, above is a screenshot of a Facebook video from January titled, “Genius Doctor Surgeons Man With Elephant Body”. Perfect content. No notes.
The Good Doctor is an especially popular show to cut up like this because many of the pages that show the videos frame them with some combination of “genius doctor with autism saves patient” or “incredible autistic surgeon tells woman to shut up” or whatever. Interestingly enough, while doing research for this piece, I discovered a bunch of pages that are doing the same content strategy, but with the Korean version of The Good Doctor. So it makes sense that as TikTok has become the dominant video platform, Good Doctor clips are going viral there too now. And accounts are doing the same growth hack there, as well.
Is this good? Is this bad? Who knows. It’s weird and the deeper you dig into the accounts posting these kinds of videos the weirder it gets. I’ve noticed that Facebook users are sort of obsessed with the vault scene from Now You See Me 2, most likely because Facebook users fucking love magicians.
Anyways, I do think it’s interesting that even in its current necrotic state, users on Twitter just do not know what’s going on anywhere else. It sort of reminds about how all of those gross food videos were just happening on Facebook without much fanfare for months until Twitter users discovered TikTok uploads of them and lost their minds about it.
Time For A Little Redesign
As you may have noticed, Garbage Day has a new look! First, I want to thank Christoper Dillen Phelps for Garbage Day’s previous look. He’s stuff is amazing and you should go check out his Instagram.
It’s been a long time since I changed things up and after I rolled over 50,000 readers a few weeks back, I thought it was probably time to for a little redesign. The new logo is from my good friend Kevin Tang and the inspiration was Dreamcast Magazine, the greatest publication of all time. I haven’t named the little trash can guy yet, so if you have any ideas, let me know.
Good Cornbread Video
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(Reddit mirror for folks in non-TikTok regions.)
The Conspiracy Theories About The New Twitter CEO Have Already Started
Twitter’s new CEO is NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino. She follows all of the worst people on the site. So I don’t expect any of the platform’s politics to change. Also, it’s not totally clear exactly what she’ll be doing, seeing as how Musk has said that he’ll still be “overseeing product, software, and sysops.”
Unfortunately for Musk, he’s spent the last two years building a stan army of right-wing weirdos and they did some digging into Yaccarino and they did not like what they discovered. You see, Yaccarino was a chairman for the World Economic Forum and the WEF is part of the illuminati. So they’ve branded her a globalist, are threatening to cancel their Twitter Blue subscriptions, and Catturd said she’s spreading the woke mind virus.
Welp, that seems like a big mess. I wish her the best! I hope that she does something about all the animal torture videos before she’s doxxed and inevitably quits.
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(Twitter mirror for folks in non-TikTok regions.)
An Influencer Made A Chatbot Of Herself And Then It Started Sending Users Erotic Messages
A Snapchat influencer named Caryn Marjorie made an AI chatbot version of herself and released it to her fans. It runs on GPT-4 and it used her YouTube videos as training data. It seems like it primarily runs on Telegram. The bot cost $1 a minute to use and Fortune estimates she made around $70,000 in revenue in the first week. Pretty impressive!
Unfortunately for Marjorie, her AI has now “gone rogue” and is sending users extremely sexual messages. Marjorie has said that her team is working to chill out the bot. I assume someone very shortly will make one of these and realize they can make a lot more money if they just like the AI go crazy.
A Very Handsome Computer
This is pretty self-explanatory lol. It looks pretty good! The best comment from the original thread was from a user that wrote, “m’acintosh.”
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a very important chocolate man update.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***