#1 - Something Is Going to Happen in 7 Days

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 12:02 PM

A YouTube channel dedicated to pronouncing words suddenly starts issuing ominous warnings, and a reporter tries to get to the bottom of it. 

Hey guys. Here's episode one of our TLDR podcast. We interviewed The Daily Dot's Gaby Dunn about a creepy internet mystery. A YouTube channel devoted to teaching its viewers how to pronounce words and phrases suddenly mutated, and started issuing weird dark pronouncements and an apocalyptic countdown. Gaby seems to have solved what, exactly, is going on with Pronunciation Book.

For more episodes, please subscribe to our podcast. And follow us on Twitter, while you're at it.



Gaby Dunn


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Comments [11]

Love these mini podcasts, thanks guys!

Oct. 09 2013 03:34 PM
dmf from Delft, NL

This is a mess. A bunch of nothing wrapped up in a pretty bow. Like other people have said, why did you waste time making this before you found out what it was? IT TURNED OUT TO BE VIRAL MARKETING. Could you BE any bigger suckers?

Reminds me of this thing I read about the biggest thing people miss about living in DC (which I have, and no longer do) is secretly wondering which of their friends was in the CIA. Those people? Are vapid bags of shit. Kind of like what this much anticipated project (because I am a big fan and admirer of the OTM show) TLDR turned out to be.

Color me thoroughly disappointed.

(As an aside, what you list as the podcast web address for TLDR is just a blog feed. Apparently this is not the only thing you're incompetent at.)

Sep. 24 2013 11:38 AM
Robert from Portland OR

This "story" while well done seems ethically bankrupt. It has all the appearance of a well timed and well placed long form advertisement to link people to a viral marketing campaign in order to increase its virulence. Especially weak is the notion that the reporter knows what the product being marketed is but won't tell. Doesn't that make her and this podcast nothing more than the tools of the marketer? Would anyone think twice about running this piece if it was about a serious subject with this kind of reporting? E.g. "Well I know who used chemical weapons but I can't say until after the UN meeting." I don't know if this is a case of Stockholm Syndrome of the embedded reporter but you should do a story on how advertisers co-opt and manipulate the "new" news media with regard to "new" marketing. In other words do a story on this story.

Sep. 20 2013 01:22 PM
Bryce from Baton Rouge, LA

Love the podcast, but work on the sound...
Get loud then soft...if this was intentional it sounds like a mistake.
Otherwise, great show!

Sep. 19 2013 02:38 PM
Adam Gonzalez

Maybe as a media student I overanalyze things, but I have to ask: Why did you folks decide to air a podcast about Pronunciation Book a week *before* the big "something" that's supposed to happen?

If there's a clock to when this reveal is going to happen, wouldn't it make more sense to discuss it *after*, so that we can actually reflect on what it is? The story as it is now involves mostly speculation and "I know but I can't tell you" teases. With so little information, the only thing this podcast shares is a sense of mystery.

This really seems a lot more like publicity for Pronunciation Book than thoughtful content. I enjoyed it, and I found it interesting, but I have to wonder, even if the podcasts's authors aren't in on it, could Gaby Dunn, or anyone else involved, be working to promote something here?

Also, if I may ask, why is it that compared to the TLDR promo on OTM, instead of having a conversational tone this is edited like a RadioLab episode?

Sep. 18 2013 02:54 PM
Tom Dickinson

The BSG connection here seems incredibly unlikely.

PB is telling its own story with its own characters, and while there has been an implied artificial intelligence aspect, none of it really points specifically to BSG in the way Dunn has suggested in her blog posts.

Beyond that, it seems really unlikely that the people behind the BSG franchise would be capable of conducting a viral marketing campaign over the course of three years. When you look at how clumsily that franchise has been handled over the past several years, with a couple of vague spin-offs failing to launch and the movie project apparently in development hell.

If Dunn really has talked to the person behind the channel (widely believed to be Tom Bender of Howcast), then I wish she'd say more about what they told her that led her in the direction of Battlestar Galactica.

Or, when she claims to have been in contact with the people behind the channel, is she just referring to the cryptic messages that the community is trading with the letstalkaboutsystems tumblr account?

Sep. 18 2013 09:39 AM

I enjoyed the podcast and will definitely listen again when it comes up on Stitcher, my only comment is to please make the sound levels more consistent. The difference between the producer's spiel about the new podcast and the theme music nearly deafened me, and I found myself adjusting the volume several times throughout the audio.

Sep. 18 2013 08:50 AM

Why would you say this was related to Battlestar Galactica?

Sep. 17 2013 09:13 PM
Don from Colorado

Loved the first episode!

I'm definitely going to subscribe to the podcast and the blog. You've hooked me. I have been listening to the On The Media podcast for a while now - I guess this one will become part of my weekly routine!

Thanks, Guys!


Sep. 17 2013 07:29 PM

They music is from the movie "Donnie Darko".

Sep. 17 2013 05:49 PM
Ellie from california

First things first, very entertaining/horrifyingly creepy. Second: WHAT is the music used around the 2 minute mark? I'm clawing out my eyes to try to figure it out. It is insanely familiar. HELP

Sep. 17 2013 05:21 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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