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Shira Lazar
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Shira Lazar (@shiralazar) is the Host and Executive Producer of the weekly live interactive show and 24/7 news hub, "What's Trending." She is also the Host and Creator of YouTube’s, Partners Project, interviewing the biggest YouTube stars. Named one of Fast Company's 2011 Most Influential Women in Technology and Huffington Post’s “Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter,” Lazar has been the face of the biggest live-streams on the web including, The Oscars, The Grammys, and Macy’s Fashion’s Night Out, among many others. Lazar is a Webby Awards Honoree and IAWTV Winner for Best Web Series Live Host. A digital trailblazer, Shira has been called the "Katie Couric of the Web" and speaks at conferences around the world and appears frequently on networks like Bloomberg TV, CNN and Fox News Channel discussing Internet culture and digital trends. You can read Lazar’s weekly posts covering the intersection of business and social media on Entrepreneur.com.

Entries by Shira Lazar

Lesbian Duo Discuss The State of Women on YouTube

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2016 | 7:55 PM

In the wake of the Toby Turner scandal, women in the online community are under even closer scrutiny than usual -- so it was refreshing to get some insight from Bria and Chrissy, the lesbian couple and musical duo who are known for pushing back against harassment and...

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TREND TRIALS: We Made Gwyneth Paltrow's $200 GOOP Smoothie!

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2016 | 7:34 PM

Sometimes when we're keeping up with the latest internet trends, our curiosity gets the better of us and we have to try it out for ourselves. That's why we're launching "Trend Trials," where we give trends the IRL treatment.

For example, Gwyneth Paltrow was in the news recently for sharing her recipe for a breakfast smoothie that she drinks every day, which supposedly costs more than $200 according to her lifestyle site GOOP.

Does she really spend that much on breakfast every day? What are all these weird ingredients and why are they supposed to be good for you? Does it even taste good? Only one way to find out.

Shira ponied up some extra cash and gathered the following ingredients, as listed in the recipe from GOOP:

1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla mushroom protein powder
1 teaspoon maca
1 teaspoon ashwagandha
1 teaspoon ho shou wu
1 teaspoon cordyceps
1 teaspoon moon dust of choice:Action Dust to soothe overworked muscles, Beauty Dust for a glowy complexion and healthy hair, Brain Dust to combat mental fogginess,Goodnight Dust when sleep has been evasive, Sex Dust, for, you know, and Spirit Dust to get that extrasensory perception going.
pinch Himalayan sea salt
pinch vanilla powder (optional)

All of this did indeed cost over $200 plus shipping -- but that's for ingredients that would last you a couple of weeks, so "$200 smoothie" is a bit misleading. For our version, we went for the Sex Dust, because obviously.

The results were ... let's say "interesting."

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on What's...

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"Kimmy Schmidt" Season 2 is Here! Get Caught Up with Our Season 1 Recap

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 9:19 PM

If you're an "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" fan, I'm assuming you have no other plans for the weekend except to curl up in bed and order pizza, because the long-awaited Season 2 is finally on Netflix and there's really no valid reason to leave the house until you've finished it.

It's been a while since Season 1, so if you're a bit hazy on some of the details, we've put together a handy recap. Brush up on Kimmy's adventures as she escapes from the underground bunker of an apocalypse cult, moves to New York, befriends her new roommate Titus Andromedon and her crazy landlady Lillian, starts working as a nanny for wealthy trophy wife Jacqueline, has her first taste of romance with playboy Logan and her Vientamese classmate Dong, and finally confronts the man who kidnapped her.

Once you're up to speed, check out the trailer for Season 2 and get ready for an amazing Kimmy-filled weekend.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on WhatsTrending.com...

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Top 5 Online Stars Who've Quit Social Media

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 12:02 PM

It's an interesting dilemma for people who become internet famous, whether it's a celebrity who joins Twitter or Instagram or a previously unknown person who develops a huge following. Social media platforms give them unprecedented access to their fans and supporters and give them new ways to promote themselves -- but on the other hand, hordes of mostly anonymous people on the internet now have a way to criticize, hassle or even harass those celebrities. If things go too far, sometimes the best option is to step away from social media or even delete their accounts altogether.

We've rounded up our top five examples of a celebrity quitting social media, sometimes temporarily and sometimes for good. Rihanna famously disappeared from Instagram for six months after the platform removed her topless cover photo from Lui Magazine, while YouTuber KevJumba abruptly deleted all his videos and used his earnings to build a high school in Kenya.

"Girls" creator Lena Dunham and "Avengers" director Joss Whedon both quit twitter after clashes with fans, often involving intense criticism from feminists who disagreed with their portrayal of women. Lena's account is now run by a nameless PR person, while Joss' account is gone altogether.

Finally, we have Instagram model Essena O'Neill who drew a lot of attention to herself by publicly quitting social media, saying that it made her feel miserable and empty and claiming that most people on Instagram were fake and unhappy. This caused a lot of pushback from other social media creators, who accused Essena of being hypocritical by using the attention to promote her website and ask her supporters for money. That website has since disappeared, and last we heard Essena had a book deal lined up. It'll be interesting to see where her career takes her next.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on WhatsTrending.com...

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Why Digital Stars Are Looking Beyond Vine

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 1:31 PM

Viner, YouTuber and "funny Queen" Alx James joined the What's Trending Podcast this week.

"You would rather be a Queen than a King," he said, "because the King is the one who's looking over the castle, but the Queen is like 'This is my place, this is my palace,' and the King listens to the Queen. So if I want people to listen to me, of course I want to be the Queen."

He explained how he developed the character of Alx James to get past his personal anxieties and channel his creativity.

"It's a persona that i don't always act like. Whenever I turn on the camera, I turn into this Alx James persona where -- can you cuss on this thing? -- I don't give a fuck, I say what I want to, and if people don't like it, goodbye! I love how the internet allows you to just be whoever you want to be."

Originally from North Carolina, Alx used his unique brand of comedy to gain around 700,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 7 million followers on Vine. He recently launched a new app called Waterbug Army (named after his fans, the "waterbugs") where his followers can connect with each other.

He said he became a content creator when he realized making comedy on the internet was his way to move up in the world. Eventually he quit school and left his small town for Los Angeles.

"I'm a creative person and I will always be able to create, so it wasn't necessarily, 'Oh, what am I going to do next?' For me, it was, 'What is the next step?' I came from a hometown of a thousand people, so I always had an ambition to get out of that town."

An early indication that he wasn't meant for small town life was being called a "label whore" by his friends.

"Here's the thing -- I was one of the only people in my hometown as a sophomore, junior, senior who was rocking Gucci and Burberry and Louis Vuitton. It's not even because I could afford it, I would just save up a shit-ton of money and buy a bunch of this stuff, and be like 'I'll be broke for another six months!'"

Alx explained how he got started on Vine and carved out a niche for himself just doing six-second rants about his day while sitting in his car -- but as time went on, he began to realize that Vine wasn't doing enough for its creators, and made the jump to YouTube instead.

"If I'm going to be doing this and spending my time creating content, where's my income coming from? And a lot of people are like 'You're selling out!' and I'm like 'No, bitch, I'm getting this money so that I can continue making videos so that you can watch it!'"

The reason why Vine is failing, he says, is because it doesn't respect that creating content is a full-time career for people like him.

"People would have stayed on Vine if they would have did what YouTube did -- when I reach a million followers, send me a plaque! No one wants to be a part of somewhere where they feel like they're not respected, they're not appreciated."

We also chatted about the latest trending stories including Amy Schumer getting angry about being called "plus sized," and played a little game of "Explain Your Tweets" where Alx told the story behind some of his more outrageous comments.

You can listen to the entire podcast on Soundcloud, or download it on iTunes.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on WhatsTrending.com...

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Could Musical.ly Be One of the Fastest Growing Apps for Teens?

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 5:03 PM

You can never have too many video apps in your life, but after a while, some of them can get a bit confusing. Like musical.ly, for example -- what's the best way to create instant music videos on your phone?

Fortunately we got some one-on-one advice from one of musical.ly's rising stars Baby Ariel, who gathered more than 6 million followers in less than a year with her lip syncing, dancing and comedy videos. "It's 15 seconds of what you love to do," she explained to What's Trending.

The app has made her a social media star at the young age of 15. "I actually got recognized the first time at Wal-Mart. Somebody took a picture of me and posted it on Instagram, and that night I went onto Instagram and saw this picture of me everywhere, and I was so confused. I was like, 'How do people know who I am? What's going on?'"

Baby Ariel then did a quick collab with What's Trending and gave us a musical.ly 101 lesson, including how to pick your song and knowing what hand motions to use.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on WhatsTrending.com...

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Artist Makes Amazing Easter Eggs of Pop Culture Icons!

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2016 | 5:17 PM

We love people who make a name for themselves in strange and creative ways, so when we heard about a guy who paints celebrity faces on Easter eggs every year, we had to hear his story.

In our first edition of "What's Trending Profiles," we visited artist and actor Barak Hardley, who has been creating these weirdly amazing creations every Easter for several years.

"So a few years ago, I got drunk and thought I'd paint some Easter eggs," he told us. "I think I painted an Abraham Lincoln on an egg, and I thought, 'Oh my god, this is fun!' So I did more."

It's kind of spiraled out of control from there, but the result is pretty cool. His egg collection now includes Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder, Mr. T, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Professor Snape.

He starts planning his latest egg-painting project around Christmas, and the painting itself takes him a good month. "I think I did 60 or so last year, so I'm shooting for 75 this year."

Originally written by Christine Linnell for

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'Natural Born Pranksters' Movie Takes Pranks to the Next Level

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 3:06 PM

Notorious YouTubers Roman Atwood, Dennis Roady and Vitaly have been partners in crime before YouTube careers were really a thing, setting up hidden cameras and pulling increasingly outrageous pranks on people -- chasing people while dressed like a zombie, pretending to publicly urinate in front of police, pretending to throw a toddler off a balcony in front of his mom, the list goes on and on.

Now they're making the leap to the big screen, and there's no telling how far the madness will go.

"The coolest thing about everything we have right now, it really came from all three of us," Roman said during their visit to the What's Trending Podcast. "Our journey is because of us three. All of us got to where we're at because of each other. We really did climb together at the same time."

Premiering on April 1, Natural Born Pranksters features the trio staging pranks that were too crazy and elaborate to put on YouTube -- pretending to get third-degree burns at a tanning salon, pretending to kill dogs in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, and in one of their biggest stunts yet, finding a woman who was nine months pregnant and making her white husband think she'd given birth to a black baby.

The movie was filmed in 30 days and took six months of writing and six more months of legal wrangling to pull off, and it involves some of the best filmmakers in the business, including people who helped produce Jackass: The Movie. ("You couldn't even spot the hidden cameras," Roman told us.) It also features cameos from YouTubers like Jenna Marbles, Furious Pete, Logan Paul and more.

These days, of course, YouTube is crawling with pranksters trying to get rich and famous, and Roman, Dennis and Vitaly have trouble finding people to prank who don't immediately recognize them. Roman admitted that the genre has developed something of a bad reputation in recent years:

Believe it or not, this movie started over two years ago. When we started this project, the YouTube prank world was still great -- people still liked pranks. Now it's got such a bad light. The prank world is kind of like, 'Oh, you're a prankster? Ehhh...' It's been over-saturated. There's a new viral prank every day now. There's just so much of it, so how do you stand out in the prank world?

For many pranksters, the answer to that question is to get more and more controversial -- Natural Born Pranksters is already drawing accusations of racism for their Chinese restaurant dog-killing prank, for instance. In the end, Dennis said, they're just three guys trying to have fun. "Somebody's always going to be offended."

You can listen to all this and more - including their favorite pranks ever and their reaction to the Sam Pepper controversy - on Soundcloud, or download it on iTunes. We're also giving away a signed DVD of Natural Born Pranksters - enter to win by leaving us a positive review on iTunes.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on

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Parody Shows Guys Asking For Affirmative Consent FOR THE FIRST TIME!

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 2:01 PM

You've seen lesbians touching a penis for the first time, women trying sex toys for the first time, gay men touching a vagina for the first time, couples watching porn together for the first time, the list goes on and on -- but here at What's Trending we decided to get REALLY edgy with this sexy "first time" stuff.

Introducing "Guys ask for affirmative consent for the first time"!

It can sound kind of scary and weird if you've never tried it before, guys, but clearly and honestly asking a woman if she wants to have sex and then waiting until she gives her enthusiastic consent before you try to have sex with her is actually completely normal.

Watch as these couples awkwardly take that big first step and learn that you don't have to be drunk, or feel entitled to sex because you bought someone a drink, or spend the whole evening trying to guess if she's into it or not. You don't even have to have sex at all, because sometimes your partner says no!

Make it trend,...

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Creep Shaming Puts Online Harassers on Blast for International Women's Day

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 4:25 PM

An astounding one-third of women in the US have been sexually harassed online, and its time to take a stand. And what better way to start than mocking harassers on the internet?

"Creep Shaming with Nadia G" is our new feminist comedy web series where online celebrities share the nastiest messages they've received and call out their harassers. Hosted by the notorious TV personality Nadia G of Bitchin' Kitchen fame, this "Mean Tweets"-style series is a virtual tar and feathering that will have creeps everywhere running for cover... or at least thinking twice before hitting that "send" button.

"Women are often told to 'ignore the trolls,' but nothing is ever resolved by polite silence," says Nadia. "Too many men feel like internet is some magical place where you can harass women without consequences. 'Creep Shaming' is all about holding these twits accountable for their actions and having a laugh while doing it."

Just in time for International Women's Day, we're premiering with comedian and YouTuber Gaby Dunn, reading the grossest things men have ever said to her in the comments - and there are some notable contenders to choose from.

Who will win the coveted "Golden Douchebag Award"? Watch to find out!

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on WhatsTrending.com...

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Twin Sisters On Opposite Sides Debate Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 9:30 PM

What's Trending alum Misty Kingma and her sister Jenna are twins - which surprises a lot of people, because they look similar but aren't identical, and they have pretty different outlooks on some things.

Like supporting Donald Trump vs supporting Hillary Clinton, for example! But more on that later.

On the latest episode of the What's Trending Podcast we spoke to Misty and Jenna about their appearance on the new Bravo TV travel show "Tour Group." Hosted by Brandon Presser, the show takes 11 strangers and three tour guides on a trip around the world, showing them how to immerse themselves in new cultures. For the two sisters, it was a chance to reconnect after their lives took them in different directions and they lost touch with each other.

Misty explained that this is a different kind of reality show than "The Amazing Race," where teams are pitted against each other for prizes.

"I feel like Bravo's doing it a little differently. They took 11 strangers, three tour guides, and we went around the world on a luxury trip. But there was no catch - this isn't a competition. No-one's getting booted off anywhere."

The drama of the series comes from personal journeys and new experiences - like riding camels, or visiting school kids in Kenya.

As Shira discussed the latest trending topics with Misty and Jenna, including the recent #SaveChrisChristie meme, Jenna revealed a surprising thing the sisters found out about each other since appearing on "Tour Group": they have completely opposite political views.

"I am all for Trump," said Jenna. "I think he will change things, get shit done. I do not like Hillary at all," she added, making Misty exclaim "I can't believe we're related!"

Shira and Misty argued that Trump may be a successful businessman, but he alienates minority communities and encourages racism and sexism to get votes. "It's not that I love everything that Hillary stands for either," said Misty, "but I don't know where else to go. What's the lesser of two evils?"

They also discussed the recent controversy over a teacher who got fired because a student stole her phone and found nude pictures on it, which led to an entertaining chat about women do with the dick pics guys send them.

"I do not have any nudes that I've taken of myself ever, but I cannot tell you how many dick pics I have on my phone," said Misty. "It's not only guys that want to date me - it's Snapchats, and people that I have dated or am dating. I keep it because I send it to all my friends in our group texts, and we laugh and analyze the shape and the direction."

We also got a chance to check out Jenna's handcrafted jewelry line created in and inspired by New York City, which you can purchase at jennamichelle.com.

"I think creativity is super important. I made jewelry when I was younger - I used to make myself things, I used to make [Misty] bracelets. And now I get to do that every day, and I've never been happier."

You can listen to all of this and more on Soundcloud, or download the podcast on...

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YouTube Star Finds Success in Bringing Viewers on Her Tinder Dates

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 9:35 AM

Things got personal in a hurry when YouTuber Alyx Weiss aka Ayydubs visited the What's Trending Podcast.

Alyx recently launched an online dating series where she uses dating apps and then films her first dates -- so she's definitely not shy about sharing the most intimate parts of her life.

"I was really always open with my audience, and part of that is my dating life. I mentioned to my friends in real life and also online that I'd used Tinder, and they were like 'I'm too scared to do it.' So I figured I would just do it for people. You know that's the number one question: people are like, 'Tell me about your experience with dating apps' -- so why not just show it to them?"

To make things more interesting, it turned out that she was beginning to explore her sexuality at the same time -- she recently released a video called "I'm Probably Gay" -- so the experiment has turned into more of an online documentary about her evolving sexual identity.

We also took the opportunity to gather some questions from Tumblr users about dating, and get advice from Alyx about how to deal with love and relationships.

Among other trending topics like the new Facebook Reactions and that adult man who posed as a high school teenager, Alyx also talked about Sam Pepper's recent plea for a second chance following sexual harassment claims and his shocking "fake murder prank" video.

She didn't think his apology was enough to save his career. "I don't think you can at this point. He's can make money off the views he'll get, but he's not going to be able to do branded stuff. He's done."

Being a part of the YouTube industry makes her a bit suspicious about who people really are versus their online persona. "You meet a lot of people who are not necessarily the best people on YouTube -- people who got famous very young or have very distorted views of reality because of this weird bubble that we live in. So I feel I'm more cynical because of that. But there are also great people."

You can listen to the entire podcast on Soundcloud, or download it on...

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How Do You Make a Movie in Europe With Almost No Budget?

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2016 | 10:57 AM

The bad news is that "Non-Transferable," the rom-com travel movie from What's Trending alum Brendan Bradley and "Lizzie Bennet Diaries" star Ashley Clements, did not premiere on Valentine's Day as they originally planned. The good news is that the movie is still on the way - and it could be a bigger deal than we thought.

On the latest episode of the What's Trending Podcast, Brendan and Ashley couldn't give us any details about their new release date, but they did say that the successful launch of Rooster Teeth's "Lazer Team" movie was opening new doors for filmmakers in the online community.

"There are opportunities that are starting to enter the space, where people are really taking this type of content seriously," Brendan said. "So we have the opportunity to possibly explore the option of a much larger release than we originally believed was possible."

"Non-Transferable" is about a young woman who books a surprise trip to Europe for her boyfriend just before he breaks up with her, and she has to search the internet for another guy with her ex's name to go with her. If that sounds familiar, you may remember the viral news story about a Canadian man who offered a free round-the-world ticket to a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend - a case of life imitating art.

"I wrote this script five years ago," Brendan said, "and everyone told me while I was pitching it around the typical Hollywood script process, 'This would never happen! This is too unrealistic!' And the project didn't get any traction because everyone thought the premise was too crazy. And then it happened in real life."

Brendan worked with Turkish Airlines, the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and VIP Tourism Agency to fund the trip, in exchange for featuring the airline, hotels and tourist attractions in the film. The same journey that the characters take in the film is available as a travel package through VIP Tourism.

Ashley said the movie was a great way for these companies to promote Turkey as a tourist destination.

"You watch 'Under the Tuscan Sun' and you think, 'I must go to Tuscany! So beautiful!' Whichever country that this ended up getting shot in, which ended up being Turkey, we could showcase the country in a way that would make you go, 'Wow, Turkey is so beautiful and I had no idea!' Which was very much our experience going there. It's a country that's really at the epicenter of so much history."

More importantly for the film crew, this allowed a group of YouTube personalities to create a full-length movie on almost no budget. Brendan came up with the strategy after reading Anita Elberse's book Blockbusters, which explains why it's so difficult for new filmmakers to break into the industry. "I thought, what if a smaller company, what if a bunch of young creators, could use these same techniques of the sharing economy and social currency to do trades with brands to absorb different parts of the production cost?"

Of course we couldn't let them go without getting their take on the biggest trending topics of the last week, including why Vanessa Hudgens vandalizing a national park could be a teachable moment, how Kanye's latest meltdowns reinforce the myth of the "tortured artist," and why they don't really understand the appeal of rainbow bagels.

You can hear all this and more on Soundcloud, or download the podcast on iTunes.

Originally posted by Christine Linnell on What's Trending....

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What's Trending Hosts Debate Aliens, Conspiracy Theories and Harry Potter

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2016 | 1:34 PM

Some of our favorite episodes of the What's Trending Podcast are when we get several of our hosts together to talk about whatever the hell they want to talk about, and this one was no exception.

Jay Walker, Anna Lore and Ava Gordy hosted our podcast last week,...

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Couples Try Watching Porn Together in "My First Time"

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2016 | 2:32 PM

First times are a popular YouTube social experiment these days - lesbians touching a penis for the first time, gay men touching boobs for the first time, the list goes on. It's funny and click-baity, sure, but people are also learning more about their own sexualities and thoughts on body image.

That gave LGBT personality and sex-positive YouTuber Davey Wavey an idea: what can these new experiences teach couples about their relationship? And so What's Trending's new series "My First Time" was born.

For our first episode, we rounded up four different couples, some who had been together for years, and had them watch porn together for the first time. Most of them had watched porn when they were alone, but they'd never watched it while their partner was in the room.

That's not awkward!

"Watching porn with your partner may be a great way to try something new," Davey says. "I can't promise that you're going to love it or even like it, but I can promise that you're going to learn a lot about yourself and your relationship."

It turned out the experiment revealed some things they didn't know about each other - what genres turned them on, where on the internet they liked to find their porn (Tumblr is a good source for quality porn these days), even how frequently they indulged in it.

It was a chance for couples to talk about their fantasies and kinks, while acknowledging a worry some might have that porn will lead to unrealistic expectations from their partner, or tempt them to indulge in those fantasies with someone else.

So if you're looking for a different way to get close to your significant other this Valentine's Day, porn might just be a fun option.

Subscribe to our channel and stay tuned for more episodes of "My First...

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These Internet Stars Can Do It in Two Minutes -- Can You?

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2016 | 9:50 AM

Brittany Furlan and Frankie Grande can totally do it in two minutes. Destorm Power couldn't do it back in high school, but by college he was doing it like a pro. GloZell? Under two minutes.

It's not what it sounds like, but we're glad we've got your attention.

The American Red Cross is reaching out to the online community and partnering with What's Trending, iHeart Media, the Charity Network and the Reveal Project to launch #2Steps2Minutes, a campaign to promote home fire safety and help reduce deaths and injuries associated with home fires by 25%.

The two steps are simple: 1) Practice your home fire drill until you can get out the door in less than two minutes; and 2) Check your smoke alarms each month to see if the batteries need replacing.

It's common sense stuff, but it could be the difference between life or death. On average, 7 people die every day and 36 are injured from a home fire. Having a working fire alarm alone can reduce your chances of death or injury by 50%

Here to remind you to stay prepared are some of your favorite social media stars and friends of What's Trending. Directed by the Brothers Riedell, this PSA features Glozell Green, Frankie Grande, Bart Baker, Brodie Smith, Brittany Furlan, Destorm Power, Twan Kuyper, comedy duo Gaby Dunn and Alison Raskin, Teni Panosian, Amanda Cerny, 80fitz, Trisha Hershberger, Nick Riedell and me!

And there's a lot more to come -- throughout the campaign, celebrities and influencers will be supporting the Red Cross through your favorite social media platforms, special merch, exclusive auction items and one-of-a-kind experiences, all benefitting the non-profit.

It culminates with the fourth annual What's Trending Tube-A-Thon fundraising event, taking place in April at the iHeart Theater in Burbank. Stay tuned for updates -- you won't want to miss it!

For more information about the campaign, visit

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Rooster Teeth Saves the World in Sci-Fi Movie 'Lazer Team'

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2016 | 2:50 PM

Rooster Teeth's new sci-fi movie "Lazer Team" is sure to make their fans happy - it was the number one crowdsourced film ever on Indiegogo, bringing in $2.5 million - but producers Burnie Burns and Gavin Free wanted to appeal to mainstream sci-fi fans as well.

"Gavin put it best," Burnie told me during their appearance on the What's Trending Podcast last week. "When we were making this movie, we didn't want to make 'Rooster Teeth: The Movie,' we wanted to make a Rooster Teeth movie."

"Lazer Team," which was released in theaters last month and comes out on YouTube Red on February 10, is about four small-town losers who stumble across a UFO crash site containing a high-tech battle suit meant to protect humanity from alien invaders. The suit is meant for only one person, but as they're bickering over it they each manage to get a different component of the suit genetically fused onto them - so when Earth is threatened, it's up to them to save the world.

The movie stars Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, Michael Jones, Colton Dunn, Allie Deberry and featuring Alan Ritchson. (Watch out for a cameo from yours truly!)

Releasing the movie in theaters as well as putting it on YouTube Red was an important part of Rooster Teeth's strategy. "We recognize that the whole world is kind of moving in this direction to digital distribution, but at the same time there are still people who only watch movies in a movie theater, and there are some people who only watch certain programs on television, or certain things on Netflix," Burnie said. "People watch content however they watch content, and we wanted to make it available to everybody in every format."

They also made a point of continuing to put out YouTube content and maintain their fanbase while the movie was in production, rather than putting everything else on hold. It's part of their long-term strategy to keep the brand growing in an industry that's very different than when they started. As Burnie put it:

"I think ultimately the story of Rooster Teeth is going to be one of longevity. In the entertainment industry, careers don't last very long - and online, careers last an even shorter amount of time. We've been doing this for 13 years, but if you look at it as a company, decisions that we make as a business are really measured."

Navigating the evolution of YouTube is no easy task, even for the largest channels. A joke about Gavin copyrighting the phrase "slow mo" for his popular Slow Mo Guys channel led to a discussion about the recent internet outrage over the Fine Brothers' React World project. Gavin remembered watching the scandal blow up in real time as it went viral on Reddit. "We did a podcast the other day, and during the time that we started and ended the podcast, they lost like 20,000 subscribers."

Burnie said the whole thing was frustrating for him to watch, because it combined three of the most unpleasant aspects of YouTube culture: trademark issues, internet mobs, and automated programs that go after copyrighted content.

"The moment the Fine Brothers thing came up, people started making videos reacting to the Fine Brothers stuff, and to do that they included the Fine Brothers in their video. YouTube's algorithm doesn't know what's going on in the world. It recognizes it as somebody trying to repost that thing and takes it down - but to everyone else in the world, it's like 'Oh, the Fine Brothers are trying to censor us from saying bad things about them!'"

You can listen to the entire podcast on Soundcloud, or download it on

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Best 2016 Super Bowl Commercials

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2016 | 5:37 PM

Super Bowl 50 is here, with the Carolina Panthers facing off against the Denver Broncos -- but we all know that the real battle for the ages is which Super Bowl commercial will be the most meme-worthy of the night.

Remember the "But I Died" kid? That's going to be a hard one to beat.

You can wait until Sunday and sit through four hours of football to find out which commercial is the best -- or, you can do some preliminary research with our handy compilation of this year's offerings, so you can be well-informed for the drunken debate you'll have with your friends.

We've got quite a selection this year, including dachshunds dressed as hotdogs, other dogs buying Doritos, Drake making fun of himself, Christopher Walken hiding in some dude's closet, Liam Neeson being Liam Neeson, lots of sexy cars, Willem Dafoe dressed as Marilyn Monroe, a dose of pure weirdness called Puppy Monkey Baby, a somber message about wasting water, Helen Mirren being her usual badass self and Steven Tyler made out of Skittles, just to name a few.

Links to the full commercials are in the video description. You can also see how this year's commercials compare to last year's with our previous Super Bowl roundup:

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#CantDoNothing: Milana Vayntrub on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 7:21 AM

You probably know her as "the AT&T girl" or one half of the LivePrudeGirls YouTube channel - and actor/influencer Milana Vayntrub doesn't hesitate to use her internet fame to promote the causes she believes in.

Milana has created a powerful and thought-provoking documentary video, "Can't Do Nothing," after a vacation with her father in Greece opened her eyes to the plight of Syrian refugees risking their lives to cross the sea and find safety for their families. She writes in a personal essay for Pop Sugar:

"As Warsan Shire, a 27-year-old Somali-British poet writes: 'you have to understand/no one puts their children in a boat /unless the water is safer than the land.' It's very easy to paint the word 'refugees' with a broad stoke, as so many politicians have lately, or dismiss their plight as another world disaster we have no control over. But when you meet them, laugh with them, hold their kids, and hear about their pasts or dreams for a future, it's a lot harder to."

Milana stopped by to be on our weekly What's Trending Podcast and talk about how her experiences inspired the #CantDoNothing campaign.

In a long discussion about what one person can do to change the world for the better, Milana talked about what it was like to stand on the shore in Greece and watch boats of refugees arrive.

"I couldn't have imagined it to be that way. I did see it in the news, but then when you see people so grateful to just see land, and the fact that they've made it across the sea - they're celebrating and they're singing, and some people are crying. And the boats are these tiny dinghies - they're supposed to fit 12 people and they have 40, 50 people on them, and they are tight. And people are just passing their kids off as soon as they can to volunteers, to people they don't know."
The refugees' struggle is more personal to her than you might think - as her documentary shows, Milana and her family were themselves refugees from the Soviet Union when she was a small child. "I remember being not American. I remember being an outsider, and the transition that my parents had to go through, learning the language and trying to get work. So I definitely feel close to the plight of an immigrant, let alone the plight of a refugee."

A large part of her campaign is not only encouraging people to do what they can to help, but also urging them to talk about the good that they do, instead of remaining anonymous or worrying about coming across as boasting or self-indulgent.

"I think part of the great thing about being an influencer is that you can have a message and spread it to a lot of people. And the cool thing about being alive these days is that everyone is an influencer because everyone has a following. If you tweet something and you have 85 people, that's 85 more people that know about something that you've contributed to that maybe they didn't know about before."

Visit CantDoNothing.org to find out how you can help, whether it's donating money, signing on with volunteer groups or simply spreading the word online with the #CantDoNothing hashtag.

You can listen to the entire podcast with Milana on Soundcloud, or download it on iTunes.

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Ricky Dillon Announces New Album 'Gold' ft. Snoop Dogg

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2016 | 4:01 PM

It's a great week for Ricky Dillon fans -- the YouTube star just dropped his first full-length album Gold, now available on iTunes. He sat down with us What's Trending Podcast to tell us about it.

Ricky, formerly of YouTube supergroup O2L, has loved making music ever since he played trumpet for his high school's marching band in Hoover, Alabama. His title track "Gold" is about how he overcame bullying growing up. "It's about how the feeling now is worth much more than gold. That was the most prominent meaning of the album."

He got the chance to partner with Snoop Dogg for his latest single and music video "Problematic." "He's so nice and welcoming and humbling. He could easily be a diva because he's huge, but he's so nice. When I first met him he welcomed me right away. It was really cool."

The best part for him was the creative process.

"I love every part of it -- just starting from scratch and thinking of ideas and concepts and putting together music, and then writing lyrics and melodies and stuff, and then actually recording it and working on it. Every step of the way is fun. It's cool to start with nothing and then create a cool sound."

He also discussed the latest topics of the last week, including why he loves the Kardashians, New Year's Resolutions and what he would do if he'd won the Powerball jackpot.

"Definitely lots of charities -- I know that's cliche to say, but for sure lots of charity work. I believe in a lot of animal rights and cancer research, so I would do a lot of that first. Then I would probably give everyone I know and love money, like 'Here, go change your life and buy a new house.' It's a hard question. I think I would sit down and think for like a week, and make a list of where it's going to go."

Remembering the recent passing of stars like David Bowie and Alan Rickman, he said that fighting cancer was a big priority for him. Recently he teamed up with Fifth Third Bank and Stand Up to Cancer to make a mud run video promoting the...
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