Since I’ve seen more than one thing on this, I believe it is an actually a thing that exists now. Buzzfeed envy: the depression you get when you realize you don’t work at Buzzfeed.
I get it. I’m a sensitive soul little writer who gets validation through writing. And also have a complex about never being in the ‘in’ crowd. Buzzfeed checks both those boxes: writing to a large audience and is very popular. I’ll bet the offices are super modern and chic and they have kickball games at noon and all that shit.
The Awl’s new advice column had a question about this. And boy, I related.
Part (just PART) of the reason I feel this way is because media culture is just so fucked up and horrible. It’s so status-obsessed that I literally don’t know what to do. It’s making me hate myself. If you’re not part of the main media Twitter clique (the people who get custom-made twitter avatars from @darth—that clique) then what’s the point of even being part of the media? It’s just so hard to shake the desire to be these people (both BuzzFeed people and famous Internet people). Like if you can’t be Mallory Ortberg, Lindsey Adler, Gabby Dunn, or Amber Gordon (or like dozens of other super popular people) then what’s the point in even doing this?
But as you know, I’m cautious about the whole “dream job” thing. The reality it, I can write about whatever I want, and I’ve been somewhat successful in writing for well-known sites.
The Concessionist keeps it real though:
But this is not really your fault. Financial insecurity, weird social media side effects, and the complete lack of such a thing as “the second job” in web publishing conspire to RUIN MINDS. Seriously, ask yourself: where do web writers go next, hmm? How many times have you seen someone make a non-lateral job move? Maybe five times? Ask any Gawker Media returnee! Or ask anyone who’s been writing for Gawker for four+ years! Where do BuzzFeed writers go next? WHO KNOWS! We may literally never find out.
I have twitter envy, and I’m embarrassed. I follow a lot of media peope and a lot of comedy people, and I can see all the conversations they are having with each other and think, they know people are reading their convos and thinking how great they are, when they could actually just be texting. And The Awl brings up something that has been driving me crazy too is:
You can be jealous of Mallory Ortberg (HEY LADY) and those other people you named that I’ve never heard of all you want, and that’s totally fair, but like, she’s sweating her ass off on her work until her bountiful hair goes limp at least four nights a week. Even though she and Roxane Gay seem to be able to tweet 20,000 times a day (and squeeze in a couple Ina Garten episodes too?), they’re still super-humanly productive.
Mallory Ortberg is building herself as a brand. That’s gross to say, but it’s working. She is basically The Toast, and her twitter persona is selling that idea. I have no ill will towards Roxanne Gay, but her constant twittering baffles me. Again, she may be building her presence to promote her books which is FINE, but at some point I wonder when she actually gets to write. And sometimes it’s nice to leave a bit of mystery about yourself: I literally know every move Roxanne Gay makes. Because she lets us know. And I’m reading it, so I really have no complaint here, it’s just nice that someone else noticed.
Twitter can really give people serious FOMO, but I’m not at the point where I need to detox. But it does create some sort of urgency to be in with the in-crowd, and it’s gross that I feel that way and am pushing forty. But there will always be an in-crowd, and even if you don’t want to work for that in-crowd, there’s the human need to be a part of it. Right now Buzzfeed are the cool kids at the table. So everyone wants to sit at that table, at least for a day.