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Endless Thread

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

  • Instead of a typical first date — dinner and light conversation, maybe — he presented 29 slides about one of his favorite movies. The internet loved it. But did his date? Credits: This episode was produced by Dean Russell. Mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts. Image Credit: X/Jason Carman
  • The point of Julian Shapiro-Barnum's Recess Therapy, a video series where he interviews kids about life's bigger questions, was never to make the kids social media superstars. But that's exactly what happened when he posted a video that went mega-viral in the summer of 2022. Endless Thread host Ben Brock Johnson talks to Julian about making the internet a fun space for kids and adults, Julian's multi-parent upbringing, and the wisdom of children.
  • In 2022, a TikTok creator who identifies herself as "Kala" began digging. What followed was an increasingly viral series of TikToks chronicling the efforts of Kala, who some on the internet dubbed "tunnel girl", as she excavated and constructed a tunnel system under her suburban home. Her more than half-million followers watched and weighed in with support, suggestions and at times, concern. That is, until a stop-work order halted the project in its tracks late last year. Producer Katelyn Harrop joins Endless Thread hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson to look at yet another tunneling phenomenon that has taken the internet by storm.
  • The discovery of a secret tunnel attached to a Brooklyn synagogue earlier this month quickly went viral, fueling antisemitic conspiracy theories that long predate the internet. Endless Thread host Ben Brock Johnson and producer Grace Tatter dig into what we actually know about why this group of Brooklyn yeshiva students got into extracurricular excavation. Credits: This episode was produced by Grace Tatter and Ben Brock Johnson. Mixing and sound design by Matt Reed. Ben Brock Johnson and Grace Tatter are the co-hosts.
  • Earlier this week, the New Hampshire Attorney General's office announced that it was investigating some suspicious robocalls urging residents not to vote in the state primary elections. The voice appears to be an artificially generated imitation of President Joe Biden — a deepfake. With that in mind, we bring you an episode from the archive showcasing the pitfalls of deepfakery and how the technology affects more than politicians and celebrities. Credits: This episode originally published on April 22, 2022. It was written and produced by Dean Russell with mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski. Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson are the co-hosts.
  • What if vegetables are poison? What if, instead, humans evolved to consume an animal-based diet of steak, liver, brain, testicles, eggs, butter, and milk? Shirtless influencers on TikTok and Instagram have acquired millions of followers promoting the carnivore diet. They say studies linking meat consumption and heart disease are flawed — and plant foods are making people sick. Likewise, meatfluencers say the livestock industry has no significant impact on the climate crisis despite abundant evidence suggesting otherwise. No controlled studies have been published confirming the advertised benefits of the carnivore diet. Yet, its popularity online is undeniable. Endless Thread looks at how social media cooked up the anti-establishment wellness trend. You can find our transcript, with links and additional resources, here: www.wbur.org/carnivore Credits: This episode was produced by Dean Russell and Ben Brock Johnson. Mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski. Ben Brock Johnson and Dean Russell are the co-hosts. Image Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty
  • Rodrigo Barbosa runs social media for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves Brazilian fan club. He's fluent in Brazil's particularly zany brand of internet humor. But when one his weirdest tweets went viral in the U.S., he had some translating to do. Credits: This episode was produced by Ben Brock Johnson with Grace Tatter. Mixing and sound design by Matt Reed. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.
  • Manifestation, astrology, tarot — during tumultuous times, people are more likely to look for answers from the universe, and social media has caught on. People are manifesting their luck with the mantra "delulu is the solulu," and TikToks are claiming they know what the future stores for people scrolling by. Ben Brock Johnson, Amory Sivertson and producer Grace Tatter look into the difference between signs from the universe and signs from an algorithm...and why signs from either are so likely to feel true. Credits: This episode was produced by Grace Tatter. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.
  • As we approach the new year, we revisit a story with a timeless message. Ten years ago, a man was stuck on the side of the road for hours with a blown-out tire. Just as he was about to give up, something changed him forever. Credits: This episode was produced by Ben Brock Johnson. Mixing and sound design by Matt Reed. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts. Photo: Anna Karakalou
  • An episode from the Click Here podcast from Recorded Future News. The story of two ordinary people who decided to tackle two extraordinary problems: identifying the thousands who went missing in Israel in the days after the October 7th attacks, and one man’s leap of faith to get internet and cellphone service into Gaza.
  • As many people gather with family and friends for the holidays, we revisit a story about our listener Niall. In 2020, Niall emailed us saying he felt isolated during the pandemic. He wanted to know if we could help him make some new friends. So, we did. Credits: This episode was produced by Josh Crane and Frank Hernandez. Mixing and sound design by Matt Reed. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts. Photo: u/archaelleon on Reddit
  • If you know what "Sticking out your Gyat for the Rizzler" means you're likely a part of Gen Alpha or you're chronically online. And if, like us, you have no idea what that means when you first encounter it, then strap in and get ready to be schooled on what the internet is coining "Gen Alpha Lingo."