We'll concede that former Valleywag Nick Douglas is, in our limited experience, among the wittiest Twitter users out there, and an entertaining chronicler of internet culture. But, really, $50,000 for his book of re-tweets?
That's what our New York publishing source tells us Douglas netted as an advance from his publisher, HarperCollins, for TwitterWit, his collection of other people's microblogging posts. Though he's not writing much original content for the project, Douglas assured us that slogging through submissions — want your tweets to LIVE FOREVER? click here — was pretty, uh, draining, "like watching five hours of porn: your sense of humor dies halfway through."
Years ago—before the age of blogs—a young Will Leitch appeared on Comedy Central's Win Ben Stein's Money. You may know Will as the blogger who brought Deadspin into the world, wrote some books, and who is now leaving the internet to be a columnist at New York. In 1997, though, he was a dude who just got dumped by his fiance and was now on television for some reason attempting a Woody Allen impression. Will wrote about the experience for the Black Table many moons ago, and now we see that the video is actually online. Amazing.
Doree Shafrir has a bone to pick with Newsweek. The former Gawker editor recently scored a book deal from her blog of mom emails, and now Newsweek is asking whether she or any other blogger can even write books, much less sell them. "Many bloggers just repackage what they've already done," the magazine said, citing Gawker's book as an example. But the Gawker book did not contain any content from the site at all, so it can hardly be called "repackaged." And there are all kinds of other problems with Newsweek's blogger book slam:
The Observer's Doree Shafrir and Jezebel's Jessica Grose landed a book deal for "Postcards From Yo Momma," their beloved tumblr blog that reprints emails from readers' mothers, because we are all terrible children. Doree and Jessica "are said to have received a comfortable... sum," according to Balk, though not as much a the creators of Stuff White People Like. Of course the Stuff White People Like guys actually have to, like, write their book. Themselves! [Radar] Update: Doree says, "they actually want quite a bit of original content." Of course she'll probably make her mom write it.
Wonkette founding editor Ana Marie Cox is a permalancer! She broke the news on Facebook and Twitter, natch. She's not leaving Time, where she's currently the Washington Editor for Time.com, but she's now a contractor instead of a staffer. She'll still blog it up for them at Swampland, as most Gawker Media alums are generally forced to do, but she now has "more freedom to write in other print outlets," according to Time. AMC says the change was her suggestion. Oh, and Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers is now a contributor to Fortune. This news was broken properly, in a newspaper column, and not on an Internet thingy. (Spiers has a column in this week's Fortune about inflation and the price of steak. It's probably good and smart but we didn't understand any of it except the steak bit.)
Highbrow pink newspaper the New York Observer—home to Gawker employees past, and probably future—launched their fancy new book review section, "O.R.B." (guess what it stands for) with a review of Keith Gessen's book, a profile by Leon Neyfakh, and a Joshua David Stein review. Which means that nearly all the names on the front page of the section belong to people who have, at one time or another, dated former Gawker editor Emily Gould. There are only like ten people who write things in New York, you see. This is like a nightmare we used to have! Click to enlarge the section, with names helpfully circled by a stalky anonymous tipster.
We're not the only ones with a fancy new office! MediaBistro is, we hear from sources close to the listings site and blog concern, moving up to 33rd and Park, which is on the Upper East Side or something, right? Should be a fun commute! FishbowlNY editor Neal Ungerleider won't have to make it, though, as his last day at the site is tomorrow. But! Former Gawker editor Emily Gould is now a contributing editor at MediaBistro publishing site GalleyCat! Busy, busy, busy.
Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers is a demanding critic—not even Evelyn Waugh's brilliant The Loved One impressed her enough to receive that fifth star in her Facebook book ratings—so her three-out-of-five stars to travel writer Lawrence Osborne's The Naked Tourist are no surprise. Except that travel writer Lawrence Osborne is her boyfriend. Maybe Spiers just knocked off those two stars as punishment for Osborne taking her to Brazil on the world's worst airline? (And They All Die in the End, Spiers' first novel, is due this summer.) UPDATE/CORRECTION: Spiers comments, below.
Josh Stein carved an original niche in the vast field of internet sociology: Figuring out exactly what drives the tools who comment on the New York Times website. Drawing, surely, on his own experience with an admittedly smarter batch of internet nano-pundits, and wisely selecting a random-as-all-hell Jennifer 8. Lee article as his test subject, the former Gawker writer discerned a rough ontology of Web news commenters, expressed in four types: smarter than you, more insanely random than you, boring and bored. Stein's study is sure to revolutionize community management at, like, Slate and a couple of other sites, but in the meantime he has already moved on to the next unconquered research frontier: ranking sites based on the sadness of their commenters. Hint: YouTube is near the bottom. [Joshua David Stein] (This headline stolen, by the way, from a commenter.)