China’s ‘barrage videos’ are chaotic af — and say a lot about loneliness

Ideas are mysterious things. Sometimes the worst ones smell like solid gold, sometimes the profit-driving powerhouses masquerade as giant turds. Telling the difference, it seems, takes a certain measure of psychotic genius. Where, for example, is the hazy boundary of brilliance that separates the Slinky from, say, Picnic Pants? Maybe I just have no vision, but if you’d asked me to guess which one of the two was going to sell a few million units, I’m telling you right now, I would have guessed wrong. “Hey, I know,” said someone in a design meeting once. “How about we let users post live comments as…

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