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Subscribe to The website, our free weekday email newsletter.SignHILE THERE’S NO telling exactly how many people have learned to French-kiss from wikiHow, we know for sure that more than 22 million people have viewed the article that teaches that particular lesson.The post includes a section explaining how to keep your lips soft, and another called “Mastering Advanced Techniques.” The information is supplemented with GIF sets of a man and a woman “breaking the touch barrier.” There are illustrations of how to brush your teeth and bare them (in a nice way), accompanied by graphics telling you to use breath mints and not eat garlic. In the article’s sidebar, readers contribute “success stories,” ranging from cute (“It was awesome! My first kiss from my boyfriend, and the sweetest!”) to practical (“I’ve been wondering for a long time how to French kiss, but now my problem has been solved”) to graphic ([redacted]).For most of history, this was the type of information a young person might glean from sloppy experience or convoluted slumber-party advice. Or, after the postwar rise of teen magazines, from an entity with a vested interest in teaching her about the world through the lens of consumerism. I’m sure the first (and possibly only) lessons I had in kissing came from the pages of CosmoGIRL! (RIP), which probably obliquely suggested that it would be easier if I invested my allowance in Hilary Duff’s favorite boho-chic staples first. But today’s teens get to learn from wikiHow, the 14-year-old, crowdsourced web platform known for irony-free step-by-step guides to tasks as practical as setting up a Google Chromecast and as wildly inadvisable as stopping a wedding.“If you’re under 25, you learned a lot of stuff on wikiHow,” the site’s cofounder Jack Herrick tells me over the phone. “A lot of the questions you asked wikiHow were the things you were too embarrassed to ask anyone else.”As a result, wikiHow’s readers have a complicated relationship with the site, like you might have with your parents or anyone else who’s helped you through humiliating times. There’s real feeling there, Herrick believes, and that’s why there are also so many memes at wikihow’s expense: The best way to disguise your most sincere feelings is to make rude jokes. On Reddit, 500,000 peoplecontribute to a subreddit solely devoted to ripping wikiHow illustrations from their context and recaptioning them, often bleakly: An image of a person choking themselves is labeled “How to punish the person ruining your life.” An illustration of a gravestone is titled “How to celebrate your unvaccinated child’s 5th birthday.”

SignHILE THERE’S NO telling exactly how many people have learned to French-kiss from wikiHow, we know for sure that more than 22 million people have viewed the article that teaches that particular lesson.The post includes a section explaining how to keep your lips soft, and another called “Mastering Advanced Techniques.” The information is supplemented with GIF sets of a man and a woman “breaking the touch barrier.” There are illustrations of how to brush your teeth and bare them (in a nice way), accompanied by graphics telling you to use breath mints and not eat garlic. In the article’s sidebar, readers contribute “success stories,” ranging from cute (“It was awesome! My first kiss from my boyfriend, and the sweetest!”) to practical (“I’ve been wondering for a long time how to French kiss, but now my problem has been solved”) to graphic ([redacted]).For most of history, this was the type of information a young person might glean from sloppy experience or convoluted slumber-party advice. Or, after the postwar rise of teen magazines, from an entity with a vested interest in teaching her about the world through the lens of consumerism. I’m sure the first (and possibly only) lessons I had in kissing came from the pages of CosmoGIRL! (RIP), which probably obliquely suggested that it would be easier if I invested my allowance in Hilary Duff’s favorite boho-chic staples first. But today’s teens get to learn from wikiHow, the 14-year-old, crowdsourced web platform known for irony-free step-by-step guides to tasks as practical as setting up a Google Chromecast and as wildly inadvisable as stopping a wedding.“If you’re under 25, you learned a lot of stuff on wikiHow,” the site’s cofounder Jack Herrick tells me over the phone. “A lot of the questions you asked wikiHow were the things you were too embarrassed to ask anyone else.”As a result, wikiHow’s readers have a complicated relationship with the site, like you might have with your parents or anyone else who’s helped you through humiliating times. There’s real feeling there, Herrick believes, and that’s why there are also so many memes at wikihow’s expense: The best way to disguise your most sincere feelings is to make rude jokes. On Reddit, 500,000 peoplecontribute to a subreddit solely devoted to ripping wikiHow illustrations from their context and recaptioning them, often bleakly: An image of a person choking themselves is labeled “How to punish the person ruining your life.” An illustration of a gravestone is titled “How to celebrate your unvaccinated child’s 5th birthday.”

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