The two types of happiness

My shpiel on why I haven't written in a while: 1) I actually half forgot I had one and got really excited when I remembered, 2) my blog doesn’t help fund my shoe addiction, 3) I feel a little shy about having a blog to begin with.

How un-Amurrican of me, right? Like, my thoughts matter and I want them heard. But the truth is, when you’re a white, non-binary, (upper?) middle-class female, no one cares about your narrative. Except for my mom. She totally cares about my narrative. Hi mom!

The Internet (or rather entitled millennials) push out content at a rate too rapid for us #peasants to digest. Not only has the authenticity of content suffered as a result, but anyone and their dog with a WordPress password can label themselves a "writer", a badge of honour that so many of us have toiled after and cried for and endured insomnia for (way too many prepositions at the end of clauses, will fix eventually).

The whole Internet is just one giant Mean Girls cafeteria discussion and everyone is trying to speak louder than the next guy. I don’t want to wear pink on Wednesdays! I want to wear pink EVERY DAY! I’m sure your dad has sat you down at the dinner table one night and been like, “So, kids, what’s new on the Internet these days? A lot of garbage, eh?” Hi dad! Sifting through it all is exhausting and makes me want to retire early. You were right. 

That’s why I conducted a little experiment with myself: I decided to go to a relatively big deal of a thing and not write about it. Last night, my friend Nick took me to the Sex Tape movie world premiere (starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) at the Regency Village Theatre in Downtown LA.

There are celebrities behind me on a red carpet. Could I see a thing? No. Did I care? Also no. Is this what emancipation feels like? Yes.

Enjoying things from a consumerist lens and then from that of a publishing one is kind of a schizophrenic experience. You get to be happy both ways, but as a consumer, you can double-fist popcorn AND Diet Coke while snort-laughing at the movie’s terrible sex jokes, and as a reporter, you tend to be busy panicking that your recording app will run out of space, that you’re going $40 over your data limit fact checking important things on Safari like “New Girl show Hannah Simon is it Seesee or Cece?” and worrying that there is probably maybe definitely coral lipstick on your teeth while interviewing a celebrity. Both yield different forms of happiness, ones that I would have to oscillate between in order to hit that sweet spot.

Hannah Simone (Cece) from New Girl is the ultimate sweetheart. "Oh my God! I'm going to get my boobs all over you!" she said, panicking at my height in comparison to hers. Here I am on stilts/tippee toes. Editor's note: This is from the same night, I just had to run to the car to change outfits because pencil skirts are LITERALLY the Houdini-straight jackets of fashion and why anyone would submit themselves to that kind of torture I don't know.

In any industry, it's important to go off-duty to renew the thrill of getting back into the game. Like rest days from the gym. BUT WHAT ARE REST DAYS EVEN. SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD?

Suffice to say, I felt very guilty not compiling a best-dressed list, or some philosophical analysis about why couples make sex tapes in the first place (Jack Black in the movie has the answer, btw. Go see it July 18). Oddly, publishing — as opposed to consumerism — is my guiltiest of the guilty pleasures. It’s hard for me to demonstrate restraint when all I want to do is contribute to the Internet’s muddled discourse, noise and “garbage” your father so fondly talks about at the dinner table. 

Digital girl in a digital world (like Madonna, but not)

I’ve been thinking about magazines a lot lately. Not that I haven’t been thinking about them before, too, but I've been consumed with the idea of magazines being unable to exist on their own like an eight-year-old child in the cavernous bedding section at Ikea.

I am not worried about the survival of print as a species. Come on, they are not zebras or pandas! Give them more credit than that! An iPad doesn’t look as Instagram-appropriate illuminated by the flame of a fireplace and a glass of Pinot. Neither does the blue light of a Macbook Air you got for grad. There will always be a place for print in our lives, but not at the extent of eschewing their digital counterparts altogether.

It has come to my recent attention (oh boy, I sound like a professor about to call out a student for copying off another kid) that most major media outlets have a print and digital product that are FRATERNAL TWINS. You’d think you’re getting the same stuff, but consuming them is a wholly different experience.

One of my favorite women’s magazines offers an incredible digital product that’s catered to an entirely different demographic and is essentially an entirely different experience. Why they chose to deliver these two products under the same name is something I had to mull over for like 30 minutes in the bath. To me, it’s interesting how they’re trying to be every place in the world at once. They want to be political but they also want to be sassy and they want to speak to your mom and they want to speak to your little sister. It’s an ambitious endeavor, but are they succeeding? Of course they are.

Why? I think it’s pretty simple. You have two entirely different people opting for print vs. digital media. You've got your old school, seemingly conventional kids who get off on flipping ACTUAL REAL TANGIBLE pages, the ones who haven’t yet been contaminated by the Gen Y zero-attention-span syndrome. They can stomach the “dreaded” long-form journalism, unadulterated by breast enhancement ads and viruses (how you got your computer virus is not my business).

Then we have self-diagnosed ADD/ADHD/Just, like, really eccentric millennials and “cool moms” who subscribe to the notion that if you can’t tell a story in 140 characters, you don’t know your story at all. These are the types of people who will click on an article based on its feature photo (we are visual creatures and there is no refuting that) and opt to continue reading whether or not the lede is cool, grabby or profane enough.

Publications shoot themselves in the foot if they don’t consider this dual reality. Transferring print content online isn’t enough, and demonstrates laziness and insensitivity. While creating a new online brand is costly, there are other alternatives start-ups can look into to get in with the “cool moms” of today. Of course, these two demographics are not mutually exclusive, but it's important to factor in how you can maximize the satisfaction of both.

Reformatting long features can be as easy as turning them into click-through galleries that divide content into little bite-sized-Ritz-cracker-blocks of cuteness. Paired with a photo in each block, reading the content will feel like a linear string of headlines. Clicking on things has become this Tourrets reaction we have towards everything digital, so flying right through a gallery won’t feel so laborious. And within minutes, you’ve conned your site visitor into reading a whole 2,000 words! Ha! Manipulation at its finest. Sorry not sorry this blog post isn't a gallery. #meta

Flowery stuff is cool on the web, but it’s not for everyone. Cut down huge features by getting only to the meat of it. Anecdotal ledes are my favorite things in the entire world and they get me PUMPED, but they can often be somewhere around 1,200 words long. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Tell me what you want to say in the time it takes for me to decide to leave your site and go play Tetris.

That long-winded profile you did with some B-list celebrity? No one *really* cares about an eight-page spread devoted to the ins and outs of their walk-in closet or their diet down to the very last calorie (actually, I totally care, but that’s just me). Instead of copy pasting the whole thing onto WordPress in all its daunting glory, why not retain it in its organic, natural, oh-so-easy Q&A format? Sure, we’re less likely to get a glimpse into your writing chops, but strong journalism is more so about asking good questions. Show off in the meta-description, just to whet our appetites, and then let your source’s badass responses stand as a testament to your skills as a reporter.

Do you guys get your news on print or digital platforms?

On a kind of unrelated note, this Buzzfeed article sooo gets my dad-joke-inspired word humor. If you love it as much as I do we should be friends forever.

Turns out Madge is more than just a material girl.

Turns out Madge is more than just a material girl.