At some point yesterday I happened upon the much discussed topic of a Gizmodo intern’s not-so-nice piece she wrote about the online dating site OKCupid and Jon Finkle.
Huh? [Mom, I now read everything I write like you’re reading it and you’ll just have to follow the links.]
I worried over the whole line of links through the day, off and on, much like Sophie the Pitbull worries over the NYT’s Sunday crossword. Well…she would go back to it randomly if she took the time out of her busy schedule to lower herself to partake in menial tasks such as doing her own crossword puzzles.
It wasn’t until I was closing out the bajillion tabs I always have open that the links popped back up and I decided I’d just post the series of links I’d found to Google Plus and be done with it. The problem is that most of you aren’t on Google Plus and you not only have no idea what I’m talking about but you can’t see the links so I’m going to post them here.
First up, the post that started the shitstorm:
Then there’s this link I wouldn’t have ever known about if not for this note–which appears twice in the original piece: “Australian Editor’s Note: We disagree with the US author of this post, more: Alyssa Bereznak Just Reminded Us That Women Can Be Predators Online Too.” I’m confused by the note. Do they mean they disagree with Bereznak’s post but they dislike Hart’s more?
Last but most definitely not least is a Reddit. Now Reddit is a thing unto itself and deserves a post all on its own–which I’m not going to write. To “get” Reddit, you have to get in there and share and experience.
This will give you a fabulous snippet:
I actually think this comment from Gizmodo user feral.nswf is even better.
“When I saw an IM from a girl named Alyssa that said, “You should go out with me :)” I was relieved. She seemed normal. I gave her my name. “Google away,” I said. Then dinner was ready, and I signed off without remembering to do the same.
We met for a drink later that week. Alyssa was slender and blonde, dressed in a white sundress. We started talking about normal stuff—family, work, college. I told her my brother worked in tech. And then she casually mentioned that she wrote for a nerd blog.
“Actually,” she paused. “I’m write for Gizmodo.”
I laughed. Oh that’s a funny joke! I thought. This girl is funny! But the earnest look on her face told me she wasn’t kidding.
I gulped my beer and thought about Gizmodo, that link-whoring Gawker site that managed to spill all their users’ info a few years ago. A long-forgotten casualty of the web, like Lycos or something. But before I could dig deeper, we had to go. Alyssa had bought us tickets for a one-man show based on Jason Chen’s run-in with Apple. It was not a particularly romantic evening.
The next day I Googled my date and a wealth of information flowed into my browser. She’s Alyssa motherfucking Bereznak, the woman who despite writing for one of the nerdiest blogs on the web, pretends to be superior to other adults just because they play a card game.
Just like you’re obligated to mention you’re divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn’t someone also be required to disclose any indisputably hypocritical attitudes? But maybe it was a long time ago? We met for round two later that week.
At dinner I got straight down to it. Did she still write? “Yes.” Strike one. How often? “I’m writing an article about Dungeons and Dragons this week.” Strike two. What was it about? “How they’re all unwashed neckbeards who molest children.” Strike three. I smiled and nodded and listened. Eventually it was obvious that Alyssa didn’t know shit about the games she was covering. Here was a girl who acted like a successful hedge fund manager was a serial rapist over having a geeky hobby, despite writing for a blog that treats GPS-enabled dog collars like real news. This is what happens, I thought, when you leave things out of your online profile.
I later found out that Alyssa infiltrated her way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your children! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal girl with a job, only to end up being judged on the color of your socks by a hack one step up from a tabloid writer.”
That came from this link and I suggest you head over there and read all of the comments. Just make sure you have a bit of time cause they go on for a while.
You can also read a huge IAmA with Finkel at this link.
From what others have postulated, Bereznak was paid based on pageviews, i.e., the number of times people look at a page on a website. Nerdbaiting–and you don’t get much nerdier than Magic: The Gathering–drives people to your post in droves and that, in turn, increases the pageviews which then drives up the money you make. I’m not going to hate on her for trying to make some money; she was doing her job.
If she had kept it to, “I had this date with this guy I met on an online dating site and he was kind of dorky and I highly doubt I’ll be having his dork babies anytime soon.” then I wouldn’t have an issue with the article. But, if she had done that, she wouldn’t have had a hook and without a hook, she wouldn’t have had a story and she sure as hell wouldn’t be getting a crap ton of views on her post and all of those yummy links back to the post that Google loves.
The fact that she made it personal is what makes it yucky. And the fact that she made it personal about someone who has a Wikipedia page and has a huge following makes it yucky and dumb.
Read the links. Read the comments and if you have anything to add, come back here and share in the comments. I’d love to read your take on this whole thing.