My mother knows I have a tumblr. She says she doesn’t read it, and, frankly, nothing I post on here would be a problem if she read it (yes, you are not getting me in my full uncensored glory. This is probably for the best.) But sometimes something happens and she says “don’t blog about this” and then I frequently have to go back and delete something I’ve posted moments earlier, just in case.
As a young teen I kept my zine secret from my parents for the first couple of issues, but then they discovered what I was doing and my mom had a moderate to severe freakout about the fact that I put our return address (which was a rural free delivery box number) on mail that went “to strangers all over the place.” (Privacy concerns 1.0.)
Now my mom texts me, asking for RTs so she can get more followers on Twitter.
The other night I was wide awake because I couldn’t remember the last name of someone I met ten years ago. Since this was pre-social media I had no way of knowing if my friends on the various networks are connected to this person; without a last name (and with a common first name), Google’s pretty useless.
Long story short, after a sudden recollection of a building with an awning, a journey via Google street view, a dash through New York’s Automated City Register Information System and a spin through documents sorted by parcel identifier, I figured out the person’s name and was able to sleep. Now I just need to know if there’s a German word for “intense satisfaction derived from summoning obscure and mostly meaningless information from the corners of the internet.”
The other thing is, it takes a certain personality type or set of skills to become the guy who’s going to Silicon Valley and schmoozing and getting some ridiculously advantageous deal that he shouldn’t be getting, probably, or that doesn’t really reflect the value of your site. You have to be a certain kind of person, and if you’re not, it’s probably not going to work. So even if I, in 1999, had moved to San Francisco and tried to go to a bunch of events and do whatever people do to schmooze, I don’t think it would’ve worked anyway. At least I like to tell myself that.
For years I wondered why Diaryland hadn’t gone the way of Blogger and Livejournal—louder buzz, multi-million-dollar acquisition(s), the founders going on to work for Google or whatever—and I finally got my answers, direct from Andrew.
Also discussed: Kids today, Ironminds.com, a time when you couldn’t get internet in airports. You will feel young or old, depending.
When asked where she predicts women will go in comedy this year, she replied, “Wherever they want.”
- When someone sends around a list of potential talent and the list is all men, say “thank you, please also provide some women as options.”
- When someone complains that it’s hard to find smart, funny female talent (or writers or editors or photographers), say “look harder.” Or hand over a list.
- Carry a list of good women for when people say there aren’t any.
- When a writer submits copy in which all the examples are men, delete Ricky Gervais and replace him with Amy Poehler. Then explain why.
- When a writer submits jokes about famous women, and the setups/punchlines are limited to “woman henpecks husband” or “woman is/is not sexy,” rewrite the jokes. Then explain why.
- When other women ask you for career advice, answer them. Even if the answer is “I have no idea” or “I got lucky.”
- When people ask you what it’s like “being a woman in X industry,” tell them it’s a lot like being a person in X industry. Explain what it is like to be in X industry. Then add any details that are legitimately specific to the experience of being a woman in X industry, but only if you feel like it.
- Do the best you can. No one does the right thing every time, and the right thing is not always clear and objective. Sometimes the stupid joke with the bad setup has a really clever punchline so you let it go. Sometimes you forget to update the list. No one will die. Try to work toward progress. Try to help the people around you work toward progress. If it makes you feel good to police strangers on the internet and “smack them down” when they “trespass,” fine. That is one interpretation of working toward progress, but it’s okay if different people have different interpretations.
- If you admire a woman who is successful and/or doing good things, tell her so.
- When people talk about women in the media, they often mean people whose faces are on screens and people with bylines. We need more time on screens and we need more bylines, but it is important to remind everyone that there are other people who matter, even if you never know their names or see their faces: producers, editors, managers, directors, assistants, coordinators, lawyers. These people contribute to your favorite website/publication/show as much as the people you’d recognize on the street, sometimes even more. Exposure is not always an accurate reflection of influence.
- Do not hire men who cannot understand why you are doing any of the above. Not even for internships, because interns get jobs. There is a difference between not knowing better and being willing to learn and not accepting that there is a lot to learn.