How NOT To Be Out Of It

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It's an all-too-familiar scenario: You're grabbing after-work drinks with friends, a topic comes up you've never heard before, and then everyone else in the group erupts with opinions you have completely no context for. Twerking? Yeezus? Gesundheit!

Feeling out of it happens to the most plugged-in among us, but if every group gab sounds like it's being discussed in Martian lately, it might be time to brush up on your hot topics. To get you in the loop, we've hashed out 10 hot topics everyone is talking about right now. This minute. So, study up, and then watch as you dominate those cocktail-circuit convos. Cheers to that!

What You Need To Know About: Cronuts
Why: Food crazes come out of nowhere, hit strong, and then often inspire thousands of imitators. (Think: Asian-fusion or gastropubs, for instance.) But never has there been a single item so sought-after than the doughnut/croissant hybrid. Supply is nowhere near the demand, which leads us to wonder: When the delicacy is available at Dunkin' Donuts, will we still be fascinated by its deeply fried deliciousness? Probably not. Until then, will we wait in line for hours to grab a gooey pastry to call our own? Just maybe.

What You Need To Know About: Vine
Why: You don't want to miss Miley Cyrus twerking, of course. Even if watching the former Disney star dance provocatively on stage isn't your thing, the application for sharing your off-the-cuff, self-created videos on social media is growing exponentially by the minute. In fact, Vine usage has overtaken Instagram on Twitter, even though Instagram hit back with its own short-video-sharing program. Though, for the time being, watching Arya Stark spoiling Game Of Thrones can only happen on this upstart. So, get with it, and like Twitter, follow all of your favorites.

What You Need To Know About: Trendabl
Why: Touted as an Instagram for the fashion-obsessed, the site allows users to filter, browse, and discover looks and items based on trends and brands. The application is a genius way to get inspired in the morning, and it even lets anyone view how others may wear a specific item or a particular trend. This means that before you go out and buy a pair of on-trend striped overalls, you can see the myriad of ways others style it. Peruse before you purchase, voyeur-style.
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What You Need To Know About: 1984
Why: With everyone talking about the privacy rights and how closely the government should monitor American citizens, plenty of folks are saying that the current PRISM conversation feels a whole lot like George Orwell's 1984. Which may be why sales of the book have, in the last few weeks, grown about 6,000% thanks to the NSA leaks. The book, it appears, may be the It summer must-read.

What You Need To Know About: Celebrity Kickstarters
Why: Two distinct trends are emerging on the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter: Beloved pet projects that would never make it to distribution are harnessing insane fan enthusiasm and are being Kickstarted into reality (see: Veronica Mars and Garden State 2 ); or, celebrities are using their fame to help ignite projects that no one really wants to see, á la Zosia Mamet. Since Kickstarter is a proven way to get an idea in motion, everyone wants in, and it might not be so great for creativity to have unknown entrepreneurs compete against, say, James Franco. The point is, Kickstarter is supposed to be a great community project, and when a project doesn't have a community, it seems desperate...and a little funny, too.

What You Need To Know About: Yeezus
Why: Love him or hate him, you most definitely have an opinion about Kanye West. Whether or not you wish he would just go away, the truth is: He isn't. Yeezus is, believe it or not, a critical sweep, nabbing a sweet score of 9.5 on music-centric site Pitchfork, which is the same number it gave Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. With a baby here, BFF Jay-Z competing against him for the "next big album," and the world enamored with his weirdness, the entire world is praying to Yeezus.

What You Need To Know About: VFiles
Why: Curious to know what the current style/musical zeitgeist that's hitting all the funky discotheques and enticing the hip cats? Head to VFiles. Started by Julie Anne Quay, who used to be at V magazine (as a minority holder in the site), the social networking platform isn't just edgy and forward-thinking, it happens to work with the most retro and recognizable bands, movies, and names out today. From The Bling Ring-themed clothing to Kathleen Hanna goods, the site touts funny, street-wear-oriented videos and plenty of shopping, but is meant to have users uploading and sharing the stuff (hashtags, sites, and tweets) that they love. It's weird, irreverent, and one of the fastest emerging sites on the web.

What You Need To Know About: Fre.sh
Why: The Buzzfeed network isn't just filled with amazing list-icles of cats in hats; it's the most accurate way to see what people are clicking on web-wide. Its new, straightforward site, Fre.sh, is Buzzfeed pared down, showing just what's rising and why. Technically, you could just refresh this page from moment to moment and receive all the news you could possibly handle, almost rendering this list irrelevant. Almost.
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What You Need To Know About: Queer Rap
Why: While there have been notable exceptions, rap music has not only been a man's game, but misogyny and masculinity have been always a celebrated norm. Yet, in the last year or so, an accepting, gender-questioning movement has arisen, playing with the notion that rap is not just a "man's music." After Frank Ocean's genre-shaking admission, the gay rapper identity is finally exploding on a larger level. Cross-dressing, queer-aware artists like Le1f, Mykki Blanco, and Angel Haze aren't just critically acclaimed, but they are spitting fiery rhymes that are landing them loads of guest spots. They have helped lead the way for artists like club-friendly acts like Cakes Da Killa, Cazwell, and Zebra Katz. Bragging about who you got in song has never been more political.

What You Need To Know About: TV...Not On The Television
Why: The renewal of Arrested Development, whether you think it was a success or not, proves one thing: Devices and networks are now becoming content creators. Heck, look at the new push by Microsoft on its ubiquitous Xbox One; it's hoping to be the device that doesn't just stream your media but produces it as well. Original content from YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, of course, has cable channels shaking in their boots.



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