Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
Implosions At Media Companies

Implosions At Media Companies

I read somewhere that passively consuming social media causes depression and anxiety. Someone did a study. Did you really need a study to tell you that? That same article said that when people don’t passively consume social media, but actively participate by posting and replying themselves, their anxiety and depression go down.

I’ve been a social media fiend this week.

Using Twitter used to give me anxiety. I started an account a few years ago, and every interaction I had felt forced—like I’d crashed a party that was too cool for me, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

A few years ago, I got caught up in growing my Instagram following. I constantly checked it and utilized all the various tricks that people claimed would work. My feed clogged up with strangers. To make it useable for myself again, I had to unfollow a bunch of people, let them unfollow me, and give up on the incessant posting.

And, Facebook… well, we all already know the problems with Facebook.

However, this week, I’ve been all over it. If you consider youtube to be social media, then I’m all over that, too, but almost entirely as a passive consumer.

Speaking of which, this morning I watched Claire Saffitz and Gaby Melian on Claire’s new channel Dessert Person. Gaby taught Claire how to make empanadas.

I love watching cooking shows because it’s like hanging out with someone while they cook. I’m always curious about recipes and cooking techniques, and they conveniently tell me what I’d want to know if I were there in person.

Of course, it has to be the right person, and who doesn’t love Claire? She seems to be a lot happier now that she’s in control over her own kitchen and channel.

Last week, I started listening to Reply All series about what happened last year at Bon Appetit. Ironically, Gimlet Media, the company that puts out Reply All, also had the same issues, and the main perpetrators were apparently the people working on the Bon Appetit series.

Someone at Gimlet publicly called them out on it and now those two people are no longer doing the series (and maybe won’t be on the podcast, anymore?). There are two unfinished Bon Appetit episodes still in the editing stage, and Gimlet says we will never hear them.

They seem to have done hours of interviews, so where will that go? The Bon Appetit series is the first thing I’d ever listened to on Reply All, so I have no idea who these people are or anything about the history of the show, but I will say that the first two episodes are fascinating and totally worth hearing.

We live in such an interesting meta-world now, don’t we?

I’m totally behind companies being held responsible for racist, sexist, and/or toxic work culture, but it’s clearly a systemic problem, not a one-time thing. That’s why we saw it at Gimlet in the exact same way we saw it at Conde Nast.

I’m not really behind the mad-scramble to force a bunch of resignations the minute we find out that they messed up. I understand getting rid of people like Adam Rapoport—that guy clearly had to go. Whenever I saw him in a BA Test Kitchen video, I wondered why everyone was so terrified of him. Well, except for Molly.

As an aside, I don’t know why Anna Wintour basically got off scot-free, and I wouldn’t be upset if they removed every greedy white dude who has institutionalized a toxic work environment by deifying the bottom-line, but that never happens. Once again, it seems like the low-level workers are the ones suffering. The investors? The board members? They’re still counting their billions.

If the only way to make a change is to kill an entire project, then fine, do it, but is it? Can’t there be a re-education, rather than a complete implosion?

We could’ve learned volumes from the Reply All BA series and perhaps figured out how to apply those lessons systematically. At the very least, it could’ve prompted all of us to look at the times when we’ve contributed to those environments ourselves or have adopted attitudes that have supported them.

Instead, Gimlet, a company that openly admits to having the same racist atmosphere, decides to kill the thing that would’ve given voice to the victims of that atmosphere. And, somehow, this is supposed to be the solution.

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