Sidechannel Presents... A Conversation With New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz
3:34PM Apr 30, 2021
new york times
failed, which is kind of what audio gear does. I've discovered. Hi, guys.
How's everybody doing tonight? Today, wherever you are.
I mean, I frankly today has been a revolution because Taylor Lorenz introduced a new word into the vocabulary that I feel like we are now all going to be saying for years to come. I mean it it people forget that it is Taylor's you know, great honor that she introduced. Okay, Boomer into the lexicon. Oh, that's right. Oh my god. And and I feel like chiggy could be OK, Boomer SUV or Chevy. Taylor.
I can't take credit. No, I'm just describing the things that people are making on tik tok. But the girl that made the viral tic Tock did go to University of Colorado go buffs.
And we're and we are going to get into the University of Colorado and you know what it's like to go there today.
That's actually the main thing I wanted to start with. But yeah, no, thank you for coming. Taylor. This is this is great. Welcome to side channel. Hello, everybody. I feel like doing these I really miss like clapping. I wish there was a way to make the icon shake. So it was like people like acknowledging what was being said. I feel like it's a very strange interface. But thank you. I think everyone
should just clap like at home. Like we won't, we won't hear it. But I do think you should clap.
Right. I think that'd be great. So Taylor, I wanted to start with your origin story. Because I feel like you've had like, since I've known you, which has been almost a decade now. Which I realized recently, which is crazy. you've worn a lot of hats. So before we jump into like, deeper waters, can you can you walk us through? Like, what's your deal? Like, how'd you get to this point?
For a lot of hats is a nice way to say I've had like 40 jobs. But Ryan, I was thinking of you recently because somebody was like, I don't know, like one of these trolls was like, Oh, you know, and she's, she's, she's only been on the internet for like, two years or something. I don't know. It's like all these like idiots discovered me like a year ago. And I'm like, uh, I've been here. Um, we I remember, like,
to a BuzzFeed meetup in like, 2010 or 2011. And you were there. And I don't remember if we were friends. Yeah, I think we were. But it was just like, you know, up on my time hop. And it was I think it was like, 2011. I remember,
like, texting at the Botanica bar next to you often in like, 2012.
Yeah, yeah, it's scary that, you know, that was so long ago. But that was back when I was still working in while I was working in like ad agencies. I mean, I basically, like have everything that I have in life, from Tumblr. And that's how I kind of got onto the internet and into like, media, social media stuff. In 2009, I saw I graduated into the recession, like a lot of millennials, and you know, worked retail, and, um, and kind of just had all these temp jobs. Like I was always kind of like, getting temp jobs and sometimes getting fired from temp jobs and like, whatever. And I was at this temp job and this girl Kelly Bergen, who I shared a cubicle with, like, introduced me to Tumblr, because we had to do these expense reports all day. And she was like, I just go on Tumblr. I was like, what's Tumblr? And then I was in 2009. And basically, my life changed. I started spending all waking hours on Tumblr. And I started making tumblers like you remember, I'm sure it was like, that was the era of like single serving tumblers. So like, Tumblr, stupid thing, every
single job had a Tumblr where you would do reaction gifts to like, common problems of that job. I feel.
I had like copywriter problems or
It was just like, the dumbest stuff. But, but anyway, like, I kind of like meeting people from Tumblr, and like, you know, people from Tumblr had like, there was a lot more like parties. I don't know if I'm just old now. And obviously it's COVID but like, kind of started like meeting people. And I started doing more social media for brands and I worked in advertising. I ran I actually it's coming up I did the Verizon 10 year 911 commemorative Facebook post that was just looking recently to see if it was still online.
Tell us tell us about that post. Yeah,
describe this one.
Yeah, I want to hear about the creative process of the Verizon 911
First of all, they were like 4g LTE like or whatever the fuck like powered our workers. So like, we need to acknowledge this on our Facebook page. And I just remember like, trying to explain to the client like, I don't I don't know that we need to acknowledge this and there was a person that suggested putting the Verizon logo in the lights like the night 11 lights and I was like, look like I know I'm a relatively Junior employee, but I kind of like definitely, definitely don't think we should do that.
I found 911 posts far less tasteful than the spaghettios Pearl Harbor post, which tragedy in this country.
I mean, to me the Verizon posts was a real ok Boomer moments if we're being serious. I
looked up I mean, I wrote some tweets for like Mariah Carey and Jessica Alba and just a bunch of likes, I used to do anytime a celebrity had to do like a sponsored tweet for Verizon, I would write it And anyway, some of those tweets are still up. But basically, yeah, I worked in brand social media, and then and then media brand,
where you really wrote tweets for Mariah Carey, and I asked, because I recently listened to her audio book memoir.
We Yeah, let me find the tweet right now. I'm pretty sure it's still up. Hold on. I'll put it in the chat
from her account. So like, you were Mariah Carey for a little bit.
Yeah. So the way it worked is like, you know, I worked for an ad agency. And so we would do these big brand partnerships. And yeah, we would hold on, I spelled it a plus amazing. Hold on. Cuz I remember that sounded like Mariah to me. Like she would tweet to tweet a plus amazing instead of saying, amazing.
That was shuggie of its day.
Yeah. I mean, the internet was, like, so much smaller back then. Oh, yeah. It's here. Oh, my God, I just found it. Great. I
have Where can I drop this and drop it? react to the stage or Yeah, drop it and react to the stage.
Can we? Can we get an F in the chat? Is Mariah Carey? Tweet, everybody.
Also, I want I want everybody, everybody please Fave this tweet right now. I want to deeply confuse Mariah Carey.
Yeah. That's a trending topic.
Only only 80 likes, but it just went up to 94. So you guys did a great job.
Guys. This is our first coordinated campaign as a social network. This is fantastic.
Did you literally post this? Or does Mariah Carey herself, like do the posting?
No, she has like we had like some third party. So I mean, back in like 2011 and 2012, there was this company called adley. And we had a partnership with them and they had like admin privileges to all of these famous people's accounts. And we would you would be able to just post directly to it. I think that it was kind of like almost locked in on like their Hootsuite kind of thing. I think it might have been like, something like that. But it was it was called like adley adley something some adley system. And anyway, so yeah, it says adley Connect,
is how it was tweeted
out, right? Yes, it was publishing it. That was like their version of Hootsuite that you use to publish the tweets.
I feel like it doesn't feel like adly is going to be a really popular Gen Z baby name.
Yeah. Like a very successful brand of like milk replacement, you know? So after you were Mariah Carey for a little bit, where did you go next? You know, what's next?
Social media job. I also did the Bud Light Facebook page for a minute I helped on I just did all this branded social stuff. But the website that I was obsessed with and have read forever is the Daily Mail. I know it's toxic and problematic, but it's I love tabloid news. And it they didn't have like a social media. They didn't even have like a Twitter like they are they had, they didn't have any kind of Facebook like they didn't have any social media strategists or anything. And like this was in the era of like, first social media editors were being hired. And I was like, I'm gonna be the social media editor of The Daily Mail and ended up convincing the publisher to hire me and then I kind of ended up building their entire social team from scratch and starting their social I mean, I started the Daily Mail Facebook page, the frame is
going to become the Daily Mail social media editor is like the 21st century I'm become Doomsday destroyer of worlds. That's, that's like what they say after the nuclear bomb is invented.
Here's the thing, Ryan, I used to have to post for these brands. And these brands always had like nothing to say. And they always wanted to post the most boring stuff. So we get knowing each man. And I was like, you know what would probably get so much engagement like these Daily Mail articles that I'm reading every day and like, you don't even have a Facebook.
Man, that is a wild thing to think about in 2021 That's incredible.
Yeah, it was a different era. Um, anyway, so I remember fighting Tumblr over the Daily Mail Tumblr, because the Daily Mail there is a Daily Mail Tumblr, and it's somebody posting mail.
That's incredibly funny. That's very
weight. Like just like whatever comes in their personal mail. They
posted Tumblr that I'm gonna look this up.
It was like, No, it was like, they were like, sometimes people write letters or something and we post them here. It was like historical letters or something. Yeah, it's
laughs from famous people it looks like okay interesting
you know why does that like reoccur on every social platform? He knows like historical pics historical letters get over it it was the past move on
yeah that's yeah
that's right I went there
I went there What a great what I
have a tumbler dedicated to Eb white still so shut up i don't know
i think that's great but you know at some point i'm sure Eb White will be canceled on you'll need to take it down
I will I will add because you know what books stuff books stuff did really well on Tumblr and I was always trying to see like what would perform and I was like people would do these dumb quotes and I was like I'm gonna do like a whole Tumblr about this and see if it takes off it really didn't
yeah, I miss well it's weird to watch the single purpose Tumblr account culture like happen on Twitter now. And I feel like it's come back in like a huge way that's very off putting to me
What are like the big single purpose Twitter accounts right now besides Mariah Carey's
I there's like guys posting W's and like, there's like magga coke tweets. There's like, there's basically just like, all these accounts that catalog other kinds of users and then screenshot them and then share like those posts, whether it's like types of crimes or things like like, you know, like new guy dropped like that kind of stuff. Yeah.
Do we do we think there's gonna be like a cig a Twitter account by the end of the day?
Oh, God. Probably Ryan's registering it right now.
Yeah, that's what you hear right now. chuki posts. That's, that's what I'm registering right now.
I think a good I'm like you because you know how everybody does like the sort of Penny fake usernames on Twitter.
I'm just gonna throw this one out there. shoghi Howser. Oh, that's good. Casey. That's really good. Especially because I feel like no one who uses the word cegui knows who Doogie Howser is
exactly. Perfect. It's the perfect cry. It's
great. So, Taylor, how did you like start on the web culture beat because I feel like you know, you are someone that people think of now when they think of web culture reporting.
Yeah, well, so I mean, I was I was a strategist, but I was always writing on the side. And I wanted to be a reporter, but I kind of wasn't sure. I mean, I didn't think I tried to become a reporter for a long time, sort of unsuccessfully, but I mean, Brian, you know, Katie, and a topless Oh, yeah. There's this topless, who I was like, I mean, I was, I have always just looked up to her so much. And I wanted to be like her. And she was writing about like, internet culture stuff. And I was just like, I want to be like that. And, um, I tried, I wrote stories. I mean, I would write on Tumblr, and then I wrote for fab fit fun, which was Giuliana ransacks blog. So before it became a subscription box company, it was a blog. And, um, so I wrote for that I had another blog at you know, and I wrote for like, the Daily Dot, I did actually write a couple things for BuzzFeed. When mike.com launched, I started writing for Mike, you know, I was just writing but I was my main job was a strategist. So I was working, doing strategy for social companies, or sorry for media companies. So after I left the Daily Mail, then I was like consulting for brands and stuff I launched I sort of helped to I helped launch this vertical for People Magazine and timing that was focused on quote, unquote, internet celebrities, which is basically creators in 2015. Okay, yeah. And, like, I mean, I did a bunch of stuff. And I wrote and I did all these like on camera interviews and stuff for them with like, famous YouTubers. And like, I was into this stuff. I just like, I was really hard for me to get a reporting job like BuzzFeed was like, kind of like, I tried to get Ben Smith to hire me, like, several times, but it was not how
was your first super popular post? Or what was like the first No,
wait, we before we get there. We have to talk about being rejected by Ben Smith. Because Has anyone in media had a greater Miss in the past 20 years?
I mean, like, they probably just didn't want Yeah, it was really frustrating. Like, I try I was going back through like all of these memos. I mean, I'm really bad anytime anyone has to make asks me to make a memo. I know I'm not getting the job because I'm used to so many. Like I made memos for like so many media companies, like there's not a media company I've not applied to
like I don't know what a memo is I? I have no idea what it is. And and every time I'm asked him, all right, I'm gonna put some words down and like maybe at the end, you can tell me if this is Mmm. No, we're not.
Yeah, there's some stuff I thought of, like, kind of, but
yeah, it's hard. Ryan just garbage Day is a memo. Okay.
Yes. Is a newsletter a memo is that well?
Yes, a newsletter is a memo and that is canon. Okay, cool.
I love memos.
Well, I'm horrible at memos. So I was Yeah. And I was and also like, I was starting to get I mean, I was always really into kind of like Internet stuff like I, I actually won like the Dwayne Reed. I was like a Duane Reed instagrammer for a really short time I could I won the they had this thing called like, Dr. Photo club, like I was, I was kind of like, trying to be a New York City instagrammer for a while, like, I was always just trying to become popular on things or like start weird accounts. I started a bunch of accounts, Instagram accounts that were around like Kate Middleton's wedding and the royal family and just kind of like became friends with meme page people that way. And, um, but I was always working on the strategy side of things, because I love working. I mean, I just, no one would really hire me as Internet culture reporter and I yeah, like, I don't I'm trying to think because my career so works about had a lot of concurrent jobs. But I was working. So I took a job down working for Nissan Zimmerman at the hill for two years, because I just kind of wanted to work for Nissan, if you guys don't know who he is, he was at Gawker. And he was kind of this like, internet editor. And he was really good at traffic. And he's like,
a lot. Like he just yeah, knew what was gonna go viral. He's the
earth, the earth viral news reporter like he's the original.
what happened to him.
He was, you know, he went to us for for like, a minute. And then he ran digital for the hill for like, five years, and now he's at lightspeed. It knows. Okay,
I should know that. Yeah.
Yeah. lightspeed is is is cool. They're, they're cool. They're nice, like nice list of VCs. But, um, but yeah, so I really just wanted to work for needs, because I thought he was really smart. And so I was doing social stuff at the hill for a couple years, and I was just so burnt out at the end of 2017, because I was writing so much on top of my like, strategy job, and I was just like, you know, what, I'm gonna just try to be like a reporter full time, like, I've been trying to do this for so long. And so I just tried to get a job. And Noah shakman hired me at The Daily Beast, but I had to take like a 70%, I went back to making an entry level salary. And I was like, whatever, I don't even care. I'm just going to do that. And if I am going to do it for like, six months and see if I can get a better job offer, or like, you know, I just was like, I'll try. I'll try it. I like sold on my belongings, moved back to Crown Heights, and like, in with a bunch of roommates, trying to save money. And then yeah, and that's when I saw the Daily Beast was like my first full time internet culture writing job in 2017. And then I only see seven months. So would you say
that's when you like first appeared on the internet, according to all of the people in your Twitter mentions? It's like,
follow me, then. It's like they only follow me like since I started the New York Times, I think, because I mean, I guess yeah, I mean, I was like, I wrote a lot like I was writing about Jake, Paul, and all these people, like, for a long time, it's just that like, you know how it is. It's like, unless you're a staffer, I think people don't like hate on you. I don't know, even then, like people, The Daily Beast was like, I don't know. Anyway, I was there. And then I was at the Atlantic. And then I joined the New York Times, but I feel like there's something about the New York Times that people online just want to like, attack you. Because I really think like, you know, anytime I'm in these, like fox news headlines and stuff, it's like, they would not be writing this. If I was not at the New York Times. It just doesn't it I just don't think it would happen. Well, that's
actually a really good transition, because I feel like so I was doing an interview with Amanda Brennan, who used to work at Tumblr and know you're here. And she brought you up, because we were talking about this. This like World of women who basically run the Internet, and they're like, they're the social media managers, they are the women behind all of your favorite communities, and they're out there, and they're not really elevated. And she used you as a really good example of like a woman who has been able to like, become front and center for the internet. And then she was like, but then like Tucker Carlson goes after and it's like, it's so disheartening, and it's, it's been really, really wild, too. And like sad, I think to watch you like make this like great stride and be like, okay, like I have come from behind the velvet curtain of the Internet, and we're gonna talk about it, we're gonna write about it. And then you're also now like, Got a target on your back?
Yeah, it's really hard. And like, what's the most frustrating to me is I mean, like Ryan, you know, like, I have been in this world for a long time, I've been working in media now for like, almost a decade. Like, I worked so hard. I've worked on so many social campaigns and brand strategy, like just so much stuff, like over the years. And then these people come and they act like you were just like, handed your job or like, you're a complete idiot that just like found this niche beat that I like, basically worked to mainstream, like I had to make it so that people would Hi, like, it was just it's it's kind of a fight. And it's still a fight. And I'm like really sensitive about it. That's why I'm always on Twitter, like, kind of trying to defend my beat, because like, the only other people might beat or like, they usually they just get attacked. And I think it's a lot of women that are doing the best reporting on internet culture. And you know, that it just gets like, attacked by these horrible men. So well, it's not. But that's the internet. I guess.
That's what I wanted to actually ask you about in this, which is like, what is internet culture reporting and 2021? Because it feels like it's like nine different things that have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that they're accessed via a computer or a phone.
Yeah, I mean, I have always said, I mean, internet culture is like a job description that kind of came out. But I mean, I definitely like, I'm a technology reporter. And I look at things. Like I think everyone comes to the the quote, unquote, internet culture beat, like from a different angle. But I would say like, what I consider my Bs, like, I'm very obsessed with kind of like communication technology, and how people use the internet, or how people use technology to communicate and connect. And so you know, I don't really have like a set beat where it's like, like, you know, when the pandemic hit, like, I wrote a ton of stories about like, zoom, and all of that. So I think it's really about like, how technology is shaping communication. And like, audience building and fame. But yeah, I don't know. I mean, internet culture kind of means something different to everyone. I think it's just a catch all term. It's like, what is technology reporting? You know, it's
so broad. It's like ones and zeros, screens. Right.
So I have sort of a follow up question. You know, Taylor, watching you particularly at the times you were writing during the Trump administration, when like, 99% of the news was apocalyptic. And it seemed like so many times during those years, you would pop up and he would say, like, here's a delightful new way that people are using Instagram, or here is a magical phenomenon that is unfolding on tik tok. And, you know, I don't think that this was intentional, but I sort of felt like you were counter programming the apocalypse a little bit, you know, and, and so your stories were just kind of this respite for people who wanted something to think about other than the end of the world. So I'm curious if it felt that way to you at all, during those years. And if you know, now that we're in a 5%, less apocalyptic time, like, whether you're thinking about your beat, or your story selection has changed at all.
Yeah, it has. It's funny you say that, Casey, what I mean, basically, after running, like social stuff for the hill, which is a political news outlet for two years, I mean, I was doing a lot of protest coverage. So this was the era when Facebook Live was everyone was, you know, having to do a million Facebook Live. So I was producing all of these Facebook Lives, covering these like really intense protests, I covered Charlottesville and a bunch of other stuff, which some people know me for. And so when I got my full time reporting job, like as a writer, I was just like, Okay, I'm not I'm not like engaging with that side of the internet. I hate those people. They're, like, toxic and I don't want to be part of that. And also, I I'm just fundamentally like, an optimist about technology. Like I love technology. And I feel like social technology really saved my life in a way and so I like have a very positive outlook around things that I think you know, is probably unwarranted because obviously all this stuff is like destroying our lives but like I don't know, I kind of like also just love it and so So yeah, I kind of I just didn't want to engage with like the Trump stuff and the toxic stuff as much I mean, that's not to say that my stories aren't critical. A lot of my stories are about the what people now in 2021 called the creator economy, but I feel like every two years people change the term for that history. But like, you know, I feel like a lot of my beat over the years including like the project and stuff that I did with time, Inc. was like about validating this really Important like industry of like people who build businesses on the internet and like people are quote unquote creators. So the the stuff that I read about that was like toxic is more is more like how those creators are being exploited or you know, things like that. Like, I mean, I wrote a big feature for the Atlantic about like, the biggest social media or influencer management platform that was like defrauding people and like, you know, stuff like that was kind of, I wasn't engaging with Trump. I don't I mean, I just blocked him and couldn't care less about sort of what he was tweeting, and yeah, I don't know. But I am, I am very much like a technology lover. So it's, I think my stories have not that you can't be not that you can't be really critical as a tech lover. Obviously, I'm critical of things like, you know, clubhouse or whatever. But like, it's because I actually, like believe in in a better future through technology. So you know how to explain it. You know what I mean? Well, yeah,
I mean, I think the best criticism almost always comes from people who are in some way, like rooting for the thing, right? Because otherwise, you're just saying screw this, which is like, fine, but it's boring. But if you think that it can work, then you're probably going to write a more interesting piece.
Yeah, I will say that, like the way that it's changed. Now, now that Trumps gone taking up all this stuff, like, and also now that now that like, all of this tech money is coming into, like the creator world, or whatever, I definitely have been thinking about, like, I've been writing a few more like critical stories, like not critical stories, but stories that are like more directly about you know, like power in that world. Like, I don't know, I just finished like a month long investigation into Jake Paul, again, I guess I've written about him so much over the years, but like, it's just reiterating, like, hey, VCs who are putting their personal money behind this guy, like, look at what you're enabling.
So you know, what else? Can I just ask one more question, Ryan? I'm sorry to like, I'm sorry, that I'm hoarding it. But like, I think Taylor, you do something that's really important, underrated in journalism, which is that you have more than one mode. Like a lot of reporters, I know, over the past four years have moved into this mode, where they sort of exclusively right platform did a bad thing, stories. And individually, like the stories are great, but I do wish they would show a little more range sometimes, you know, and like, tell me about something you think is a really dope. And because I sort of feel like if I don't know what you love or think is cool, that I just sort of assumed that you hate everything, and you become more boring as a reporter to me. So anyway, that's just like something that I take from your reporting is, like, bring all of your emotions to reporting including joy and delight.
I bring all my emotions to everything as well.
I was gonna jump on your clubhouse comment. I mean, I have been debating that in in this discord channel, some like, I mean, the huge valuation I'm curious. I mean, do you think it's past? redemption? Or what is your sort of sort of zone on clubhouse at the moment? First
of all, like my story, my first story on clubhouse and I was one of the first reporters to do a big thing on clubhouse, they did it with Aaron Griffith. Like that piece was so positive
It was literally so positive, that clubhouse used it in their like fundraising deck. So like, I don't want to hear from any of those people that I'm like, whatever, those people are so stupid, they never actually read my work. And I think if you actually read my reporting, you would find that like, my main interest in clubhouse is, is around influencers or creators and kind of the like, I mean, I write about tech from the user side, and I don't think it's beyond redemption. But I think that they've like, locked it up with this, they have a really bad suggested user list. And they're really bad at like, sourcing, like discovery, right? Like, that's, that's sort of like really key to any social app. And I think that they're making the same mistake that vine did, where they think that they know, like it my perception is that they kind of have an idea of what they want the platform to be. And rather than like, helping it evolve in new and creative ways, they kind of just like, want this version of it that they see and also refuse to make it a safe place for people which is a ridiculous like, higher trade of trust and safety. Like it's you have zillions of dollars. It's literally not that hard to sell
somebody since noon. Good. No, I just wanted to connect a few of the things that have been said just because I feel like Taylor has expressed some really interesting thoughts about this where it's like, what do you think about this like current trend right now in Silicon Valley and with founders and like apps like clubhouse in particular, where they sort of Assume that any sort of journalism about the subject that they're involved with, is somehow, like critical or doesn't mean you're optimistic. And it's like trying to like paint like all of the work that you're that you kind of do Taylor as just like being negative for no reason and like, anti founder stuff. And it feels like clubhouse is like the the perfect example of this weird thing where it's like, you can be pro user, and like, optimistic and call out an app for like not being well made or something.
Well, exactly. And that's the whole thing is the contempt that some of these platforms have towards their users. Like, when I'm like calling out quote, unquote, calling out clubhouse, which, again, like Shut up, these stories are non critical. I'm writing I'm writing about, like, Josh constants, like audio collective, but whatever, you know, if I'm calling something out, it's a user concern. And I'm using my voice as a reporter to amplify basically user feedback. And so I think instead of being hostile to that, they should be like, Oh, these are, I mean, it reminds me a lot of people that do reporting on companies, right, where it's like, people are like, Oh, the reporters taking us down. It's like, we talked to like, 30 of your own employees. You know, these are these are, these are things are not like made up. And by the way, like,
you talked about Casey's unfair story about Basecamp Yeah, I agree. You know,
it's called, it's called a hit piece, Ryan.
But also, it's like, what they just I say, Oh, yeah, so Okay, well, not to like give my haters more airtime. But like, you know, these people, it's like, they want it they say, for any critical story you write is just a hit piece. But then when I write I mean, most of my non most of my pieces that I would say, everything I read is like critical thinking but like, you know, it's maybe a more positive story. They call it a like, they call it frivolous, right? Like they don't care. Like I write things like chewy for instance, which I think is actually like a really interesting way to explore like, the way that the internet shapes our language and and what how we talk about things and identify nice groups. But of course, I'm you know, these people just will write off things like that is like superfluous because it's so it's just there's no winning with with those critics, and I don't really I just block all of them. So
Well, I mean, Balaji like, expressly sees it as like an information war. So to some degree, they sort of
don't even know. I had to realize I had to warn you that man was last year because he kept tweeting about me. He's so weird. I mean, like, I just people like that. I'm just like, you're so irrelevant to my beat and anything I care about, like, why are you even like on my radar? Like somebody asked him in a clubhouse chat like, name one Aren't you have problem with a Taylor's ever done and he couldn't, and he was like, ranting about other stuff on New York Times. It's like, Okay, well take it up with those reporters.
Man was asking the questions thread. I mean, what do you do tactically like to deal with? You know, like, the harassment or people like that? I mean, this person's like, you know, I only deal with point oh, 1% of the scale you have and it made me shrivel on hold up for two years. Like, how do you how do you deal with it? And like, what do you do tactically to try and keep it out here?
It's been really hard. Yeah, I don't I mean, that is to is like people on the internet don't don't even see 99% of it. There's so much stuff. There's been so much stuff that has taken so much time over the past year since these Silicon Valley like wackos, it's all since these people discovered why was like a year and a half ago, who the fuck knows how I think through clubhouse, but like, you know, these are people that I've like Marc Andreessen, who, like,
I don't, I found Twitter if anyone can tell me why I would love to know but he blocked me on twitter apparently.
It's just like a relevant to my beat. And I'm just like, Who cares? Like, go off in your corner? Like, make your billions like, I don't care. Like I'm doing my thing over here. Like thinking about the future, your whatever you want to do, like, you want to make money off and go but like, Don't attack me, but I mean, I don't know. It's just it's just been really hard. And I hate it. Because if I ever talk about it, you know, then people are like, Oh, you're playing the victim. And it's like, Fuck off. Like I literally you have absolutely no idea what I've had to deal with this year. And just like the, the just how horrible it is and how isolating it is and how terrifying some of these very real threats are that I've had to get the police involved in. And like, it's just it's, it's, it's horrible. Like people don't think you can understand until you go through it. I'm in a small group of women who basically have experienced similar things. And it's just like, it's a sad group to be in this where it's like these people have destroyed by life in so many ways. And what's really upsetting is like the internet used to be this like, mean, escape for me and now it's just harder and harder to feel that way. But that's just how probably a lot of people feel also these days. I don't know
what do you what do you feel like the tension Have these apps that no they, they need teenage girls, they need young women to be cool, like Tick Tock these apps, they have to have that. And yet, they're also wildly dismissive of all of the culture that these young women you, like create all these apps. And all of these apps are run by men who like could not tell you what juki is. And then they're also the same men that are like attacking women, journalists who are covering it seriously. And it's like, every single step of that situation is broken and insane. If you think about it.
If you wanted to talk to me when I was like, really getting triggered one day is when these VCs started writing their blog posts about only fans. And I was like, ready to lose my mind. Because they were just so condescending, and also just like, clearly art misogynist, about sex work and all of this stuff. And like, it's just gross. Like, I prefer those people to just, you know, there's always going to be gross people that want to make money off women and do all that stuff. I'm just like, leave me out of it. Leave me alone. Like I am not. Go away, like stop tweeting about me all the time. Like
there's a there's a couple good questions in in the sincere questions room. And this questions come up a couple times from user T. And then user map, which kind of jumped off of it, which is, how do you discern which internet culture stories are important enough to cover? And then map which ads? How do you avoid falling into the trap of internet culture? Sure is weird. These kids smh
well, so the reason that I always wanted to be like Katina topless is because she and also, Jenna wertham is also another person and Amanda has who I work with now is like this, too. But there was this group of women writers that are just a little bit like a couple years above me, who always just like really did the work of reporting like when Carolyn Callaway was in the midst of like, all you know, there was this like drama thread of all of these fans against Caroline Callaway or something like when she was first being canceled, or whatever that first backlash that she had, like Kadena topless was like the only reporter that actually interviewed people that bought tickets to her event, and really did the like hard reporting about stuff. And so I guess the way that I avoid falling into traps of like, rolling my eyes of like, Oh, these kids or whatever is just like taking everyone you interview very seriously. And what I hated back in the day about and actually Ryan, something I loved about your work, too, was like, You weren't just like being condescending and horrible to these, like niche sub communities. I'm like, there's so many creative, weird people on the internet. And I think there's a way to talk about them and report on them that isn't just making fun of them. And of course, you're gonna laugh at certain things that people are doing that are funny, but like, it's, if you're doing if you're reporting a piece, like, just kind of try to treat them, like, respectfully and always respect people and respect young women, and especially because they're driving culture. And so I forgot the first part of the question, Can
I get some muscular Garfield's in the reactive stage room? Everybody who's got the the nytro ability for that? No, but I agree with you. And I think, you know,
you left the market discouraged features.
No, but there is this tendency, I think, to assume that the people who are like online are somehow different than you. And yeah, weird, wonderful parts of like, your work in particular, is that pretty much once a week for the last five years now you have revealed that like, they're not there, we're all kind of the same kind of weirdos behind the screen, which is like a really beautiful thing.
Yeah, I mean, I just think like, it's about like, the commonality is, and that's what I try to do with my stories, too, is to just speak to that, like, I don't like the divisiveness that's online. Like, I hate that. And I try to never, ever, ever play into that. It doesn't mean I'm not like, you know, I'm not like, oh, Kumbaya, whatever. But I just think it's like being respectful of people and standing up for people. And, you know, not letting people be dismissive or horrible, especially to young people who deserve to be taken seriously. I remember not being taken seriously, as a young person. I had a really hard time in school growing up. And, you know, the internet, when I found Tumblr was like, the only place that I felt like I could find like, people that I actually connected with. And so I think like, that's the power of these social platforms. And what's amazing, but yeah, so anyway, I just think you have to have respect for the people that you interview and have respect for users.
I have a process question. New York Times. Is there anything recently that you've come across that you've pitched that is too weird for the New York Times that you can reveal in this discord?
Um, you always find stuff that's weird or that I Find Ryan.
I feel like you and I are in similar backwaters of the internet.
Yeah. There's like, there's like niche. Like, I wish that I could write more about only fans. ej Dixon who is like a phenomenal is probably like the best on the beat right now in terms of like Internet culture and sex work stuff. Although there's there's a bunch of people that write about that stuff, but I just love her pieces. But like, there's, there's been some stories that I wish that I could write that I think it's just a little bit hard to do for the New York Times. But I mean, the good thing about so Cory Sica hired me and, and, and he just left my section, but like, the best thing about him was that he just kind of let us do whatever. And he gave me like a really wide. Like, if you look at the stories that I write, they're really all over the place. Sometimes. They mean, they all have a common theme, but it's like, it's not like, like Casey was saying, like, I'm only doing investigations, or I'm only doing whatever. So. Yeah, there's no secret thing, but I do find a lot of weird stuff and I will try to share it more in the garbage day channel. Okay,
I had a quick question of what Ryan whether you had heard the term chiggy before Taylor reported about it. I had not I had not seen chuki I had seen all the things that are 2d, but I had not seen that the umbrella.
Police cool person here, but I'm on Tick Tock. So I, I had heard of it. Wow. I've ever I saw Taylor's story. I was like, Oh my god, I'm following.
Um, well, this got this writer that I love named Kelsey wiechmann. She writes for in the know, and she she wrote a thing on it, like, I think like two days ago, so she beat me on it.
And I liked her accounts really good. I think I sort of following her from you. You are like retweeting or something. But she's really cool.
I love her. She has a she has a sub site called Okay, Zoomer. Anxious Zoomer.
I mean, you made it a super smart story about, you know, like vocabulary and how the internet speeds up how we think about words. I mean, what it and you sort of you tried to get ahead of sort of the critique on sort of, like chewy is a word that I mean, targets women, women more, but it was also created by women. I mean, what did you think about that? Sort of right now? Yeah,
I mean, I saw I saw like, Holly, the girl did a reaction video to that on Tick Tock. Like, I mean, here's the thing like, I hate I hate stuff like that. That's like, that's like one of those things that people are like, actually are like, like, You know how sometimes people just try to like out? performative.
Right. It's like how, yeah, exactly.
But, um, but no, I mean, I just like, I'm just interested in like, all of these phrases, like I said, I read about, OK, Boomer, I just like, I think it's interesting kind of how we talk about things and how we define ourselves. And the way that I determined to like, what's a thing for the New York Times is I try to broaden it out. So it's always like, what does this mean? or What does this say? Or like, What does? What's the broader story? It's never just like, this happened. It's like, why does that matter? Because I think that's what makes the story interesting to people that don't even even if you don't know what it is, right? It's maybe interesting. Like a story will be more interesting, because you're explaining why it matters, to put it in the axios doesn't ask you to say that, like, why why it matters or whatever. With bullet points.
Yes, that's Yeah,
but I like doing that in my recording.
Do you think there will be a turn again, like, do you think Tick Tock will be like Facebook someday? where it's like, there's similar themes against Tick tock, or, I mean, it's still sort of mostly the happy app, there was some of the China attention stuff, but I'm curious what you think like, the narrative on on Tick Tock will be
well, tick tock is so different. I mean, so the reason that Facebook atrophied is because it's so tied to a really set friend graph, and there's the two way follow, like, there's the like, you know, it's, there's not a one way follow interaction. And then I think that so I think that's why like, Facebook is among many reasons why it's so sort of out of date. But if you think of, like, I think tic tocs, more similar to YouTube, where like, YouTube's been around since like, 2006. But it's not like YouTube seems dated, because it's really good at like, surfacing new content to you, which makes it seem like utility and relevant and stuff. And so I think Tick tock, you know, tick tock also has an advantage where it's not really tied to your friend graph, it's more of like an interest based app where you go to like, entertain yourself. So I think the only thing that could kill tic toc is like, like in this in the soon term or whatever is like if I mean, yeah, if it had been bought by Oracle, or whatever. I mean, that would have been bad. If the for you page, you know, wasn't bad, but but I don't know, it seems to be I mean, the Chinese version of it has all these other cool integrations and things with live streaming and shopping, though. Maybe we'll get some of those stuff. Or
what do you for for people who You know, they follow you. They want to stay up on the pulse of what's next. Like, what do you think is like the next frontier of internet culture stuff that like no one's really talking about yet?
And is that thing side channel? Yeah.
What what beyond side channel? Yeah.
I saw Andy Vance tweet that was like, this is the most exciting thing. I feel so excited by things like this. I don't know, I'm really bad at predictions. I only do one prediction a year, which is this like Nieman lab prediction thing. And it's so hard. And I have to actually think of a prediction. Because normally, I can't predict anything. It's like when people ask me story ideas, like, have to come up with story ideas, like what I've applied for jobs, and I'm just like, I don't know, like, I just kind of wait to see a story. And then I write it. Like, I don't have like a secret trove of story ideas. Like, just kind of what I see and what I decide to write. I mean, I see stuff all day that I don't get to write about, but like, yeah, I'll kind of try to think more about the future.
Do you think things are going to become more or less chewy over the next year?
I think more chewy because everyone's gonna be out and about being really corny and being really wild and cheeky is all about like, you know, trying too hard kind of so I feel like people are going to be trying too hard. I've seen some people in LA already in these like ridiculous outfits. Like I feel like people are getting getting more dressed up now that kind of the pandemics wearing off everyone's like trying to flex I guess.
So we'll see.
I would like to have a cheeky future. I feel like I feel like being basic seems really nice. Like being like, I like white claws. I like I don't like barstool sports, but I like swept
along Yeah, but it's like you can enjoy chiggy things like I there's a lot of 2d stuff. I mean, like the girl that made the term was like it's just a kind of specific energy to things that like you kind of need a word for and it's like you can enjoy those things doesn't mean that you have to live by it. But
when you share the story tonight, I was overcome with a powerful deja vu because I suddenly was transported back to where I was. I was like probably almost nine years ago where you were sharing content about slugs which was I can't remember what the acronym even stood for.
Don't wide swag right
wasn't it like senior washed up girl? Do you remember? Oh? Yeah, you back and I was like it was like I was like I was like electrocuted with like weird deja vu. I was like, we keep inventing new words for this kind of idea.
But it's same thing I know. It's kind of this like, I mean, that's why I love talking to to like people like Gretchen like these linguists. By the way, Gretchen wrote this great book called because internet, which is about all about the internet, how she's a linguist, and it's all about how the internet shapes our language. And I just I'm so interested by it. I'm very dyslexic, and really bad at writing and words. And I always like misspell stuff and like I love like learning new words. And then like, sometimes I write words and I'm like, Did I just make this word up? Or like butcher another word? So I'm always like combining words in my mind. So I love it. I'm in Britain ready to embrace to you.
There's a question sort of in the thread on this theme from Glock. There's a lot of conversation, especially in PRC spaces, lamenting how in group terms get diluted to mean lessness when mainstream like culture latches on to them. Is that ever something you worry about when you're investigating new slang? And I think it also fits you to that Saran sort of how dances emerge on tik tok to I don't know, do you want to? Yeah, yeah, I
mean, that's obviously like, Yeah, well, if you cover that, like Internet culture, obviously, so much of it comes from, like, niche communities like black, like communities, and also just like, you know, subgroups and things like that. That's how things bubble up. I think it's just important to like, acknowledge where it comes from. Like, it's not. It's not like, I mean, when the New York Times writes about something like people always say, oh, like the trend is dead. Oh,
Taylor. Is Taylor silent, or has she been?
Wow. culture has come for Taylor. That's
sounds like the woke police must have done something here.
Okay. Well, we were we were having technical problems right before this. This This might be part of that. Well, we'll give her a minute or two before.
What will we do after a minute when we say you're not welcome back on the stage? Yeah, we'll
say your opportunity. Yeah, you had your chance. This is In rapid fire, you know, this is the hot seat.
I while we have a pause, I will say I personally have to dip at about five to go to my next platform audio chat. If I if I don't get to say goodbye, I can promote it,
you can promote it.
Well, I've been I've been having a weekly Twitter spaces chat with my friend and landlord, Kara Swisher. And we're going to be talking about some of the the events of the weekend. So if for some reason you haven't heard enough of my voice tonight, you can find me over on Twitter. But while we're waiting for Twitter, I just want to say, Ryan, thank you for putting this together. This has been a fantastic chat. This is exactly the sort of thing that we want to do on site channel, you know, yes, yes, we want to have like newsy interviews, like we did with Mark Zuckerberg. But we also want to have like fun, casual hangs with cool people who know internet things and who make us Smarter Every Day. And so you know that nobody is better at that than Taylor Lorenz, just
celebrity for this.
I did record this. So there will be a copy and I'll make sure to pass that around. Tomorrow. So we've got a backup
of Glock is like this glitches of pressing me personally feel bad. It was during your your question.
Let me let me text her and see. But that was a that was a great conversation.
It was good. I mean, I think we got plenty we can No, it's just,
I feel bad. Doesn't get to say goodbye. But
yeah, while we're here, is it just me or have you not published anything this week? Eric?
I'm publishing tomorrow. Don't worry. It's I've been chasing I was chasing various things, but I haven't I haven't good
on brandstory tomorrow, but Well, that's a likely excuse. You know, I think it's important that you deliver value to your subscribers every week. Oh,
Well, you know, when you come to the red table, you got held accountable. And that's that's what's happening here. Oh, wait, Taylor's back.
Taylor's back. And she bet is she in here? Yeah, yeah, she's
here. Hold it.
Here we go.
Hello, welcome. You guys.
Okay, so my computer is so bad. And it just like kind of died. But I know, did you hear anything? I said, we know you were
Now, we lost you, as you were talking about. When you amplify something to the New York Times, it becomes chewy.
Oh my gosh, no. I was just saying like, I was like, I was talking for a while and no one was interrupting me. And I was like, This is so awkward. They're not like, doesn't give me any kind of feedback. And I was like, Am I like saying the wrong things? Taylor, if
you ever talk for more than five seconds on a man doesn't interrupt you, you should know that your computer has died.
discord will give you a man to interrupt you.
I was just saying like, anytime I'm writing about anything that's coming from a community. I talked to authorities and people from that community. I think the problem is when you try to say like, this is popular, you don't talk about who originated it. So
well, that was a fantastic answer. And this was a fantastic interview. Thank you very much for coming on. Typically, I'd be like, where can people follow you on the internet, but I feel like people know where to follow you on the internet.
I don't actually do you have a Twitter account? Yeah.
What's your what's your clubhouse username? Actually, no, I'll get it from the leak. Don't worry. I can get it there.
We wait. Yeah. Also, I just want to say that I love this Discord. So I hope that everyone can chat me and if I didn't have time to answer your question, you can always like, you know, message me or
did it happen again?
Oh, shit. Oh, shit. You know anything? It was? No, here's what happened. She said you can message me and 136 people simultaneously. Do you have a question?
Taylor, are you still hear me? Yes. It sounds like you're literally being pulled into into the void. But yeah, we can hear you.
Oh my god. Okay, now my computer's working. So I'm back on my computer anyway, whatever. I just mean, people can message me and find me and like, sorry that I didn't answer a lot of questions. But you know, we can still chat on the discord.
Yes, Yes, we can. Well,
we we love having you here. Thank you for hanging out with us. It's obviously a huge thrill for us that you're here today talking with us. And we'll be delighted to see you in our humble server.
Yay. All right. Thank you.
Thanks, everybody. Bye bye.