On this week’s episode, I have influencer/creator expert Taylor Lorenz. Tune in as we talk about her book, “Extremely Online: The Untold Story Of Fame, Influence, And Power On The Internet” as well as her experiences working as a journalist for “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times”. We also dive into some tidbits she has about social media.

Show Notes

Taylor Lorenz on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taylorlorenz/?hl=en

Taylor Lorenz on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@taylorlorenz?lang=en

Taylor Lorenz on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp38w5n099xkvoqciOaeFag

Michael’s Online Screenwriting Course – https://michaeljamin.com/course

Free Screenwriting Lesson – https://michaeljamin.com/free

Join My Newsletter – https://michaeljamin.com/newsletter

Autogenerated Transcript

Taylor Lorenz:
These old school entertainment people come on and they don’t really understand the app and they clearly are not doing it themselves. They have some content assistant and then they’re like, Hey kids, I guess I have to be here now. And it’s like, what are you doing here? I will say the musicians do a better job. Megan Trainor has Chris Olsson, but TikTok buddy that, and music is such a part of TikTok, I feel like they get a warmer reception.

Michael Jamin:
You’re listening to, what the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. I’m talking about creativity, I’m talking about writing, and I’m talking about reinventing yourself through the arts.
Hey everyone, what the hell? It’s Michael Jamin talking about today. I’m going to tell you what I’m talking about. So for those of you who have been listening for a long time, I’m always telling you, just put your work out there. Get on social media, start making a name for yourself, because whether you want to be an actor or a writer or director, you got to bring more to the table than just your desire to get a big paycheck and become rich and famous. If you can bring a market, if you can bring your audience you’re going to bring, that brings a lot to the table. And so my next guest is an expert on this, and she’s the author of Extremely Online, the Untold Story of Fame, influence and Power on the Internet. I’m holding up her book. If you’re watching this podcast, if you’re driving in the car, you can imagine that there’s a book and has a cover. So please welcome, pull over your car and give a round of applause to Taylor Lorenz. Thank you Taylor for coming and joining me for talking about this. It’s an honor meeting you finally.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, likewise. Excited to be here.

Michael Jamin:
So you wrote this great book, which I read, and there’s so much, I guess there’s so much. You actually document the history starting from the beginning of mommy bloggers and all these people who kind of were at the forefront and then built a name for themselves on social media. And so I’m just hoping to talk to you about how we can take some of this information and apply it to the people who listen to my podcast and follow me on social media so that they can help do the same. So I guess starting from the beginning, what was interesting that you pointed out is that women were kind of at the forefront at this whole thing. You want to talk about that a little bit?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I talk about this in the book, but in the turn of the millennium, the early aughts, this blogging was taking off and there were tons of blogs, and I talk about some of the big political and tech blogs at the time, but it wasn’t really until the mommy bloggers entered onto the internet in the early aughts who were these moms, these stay at home moms that really had nothing else to do. A lot of them were shut out of the labor market, and they turned to blogging and ended up really building their own kind of feminist media empires by building audiences. And they were the first to really cultivate strong personal brands online and then leverage those personal brands to monetize.

Michael Jamin:
And you’re right about, I remember this may have been 10 years ago or maybe longer, one of my friends, our screenwriter, she developed a TV show on these mommy bloggers. And I’m like, wait a minute. And there was a couple of people who did that. Max Nik, who was a guest on my podcast a while, a couple weeks ago, same thing. He wrote a show based on shit my dad says, but it’s on a Twitter feed and there’s all these people. It’s so interesting. I was a little late to the game in terms of Hollywood exploiting all these markets, these people who are making names for themselves. Lemme back up for a second though. Why did you decide to even write this book?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, so I started covering this. I started as a blogger myself a little bit later.

Michael Jamin:
What were you blogging?

Taylor Lorenz:
I was blogging about my life, a lot, about my life and a lot of about online culture stuff. I thought that the mainstream media was really bad at covering the internet, and so I thought, I’m going to write about the internet. This was when I was young millennial, right out of college.

Michael Jamin:
You were writing about your personal life?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yes.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. So that’s a whole different thing. You’re opening yourself up to everything. And was there any, I know I’m jumping around here, I guess I have so many questions, but I don’t know, was there backlash from that? Were there repercussions? Because we’re talking about people do this. What’s the backlash?

Taylor Lorenz:
Well, this was like 2009, so it was such a different internet, and I’m so grateful, honestly, that I was blogging in that era and not this era because I think I didn’t get a lot of backlash. I had a great community. I met some of my best friends, were other bloggers from that era. I became very popular on Tumblr for my single serving like meme, like blogs. So yeah, I think when you’re young, you’re just kind of trying a lot of different things out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do out of college. I’d never studied journalism. I didn’t know I was working at a call center and just became popular on the internet and then was like, I guess I’m pretty good at this

Michael Jamin:
Stuff. Really? I didn’t know that about it. You have a pretty big following on TikTok and Instagram as well, which is so weird because you’re writing about something that you are also participating in. I mean, it’s almost meta how you are, what you’re talking about. No,

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. I mean, I started, had I been able to monetize my blog nowadays, content creators on TikTok, they can monetize in 2009, 2010, couldn’t, the best that you could hope for was one of those book deals that Urban Outfitters. Right?

Michael Jamin:
But

Taylor Lorenz:
You couldn’t really leverage it into much. I ended up just leveraging it into a career in media, which has been fun. But

Michael Jamin:
See, this is what’s interesting to me because right now you see so many people on social media, how do I monetize this? Meaning ads or even sponsorships, but there’s other ways to monetize outside of brand deals or views on YouTube getting used. So yeah, there’s a whole, I don’t know. Do you think that’s a large percentage of people on the internet? It seems like to me most are doing it to monetize for the brand deals. What’s your take on it?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, I think now that you can monetize in that way, a lot of people, that’s their end goal. I’m kind of glad. I mean, it’s a double-edged sword. Who knows what I could have done if I was able to monetize, but I’m really glad actually that you couldn’t, because I think myself and a lot of other bloggers, we ended up going in a lot of different ways and entering into a lot of media type of jobs that, yeah, I mean would’ve never gotten otherwise. And I’ve learned how to be a journalist and I’ve gotten all these opportunities and my whole career from just experimenting and having fun online. So yeah, I think I always tell people, it’s great if you can monetize, get the bag. If somebody comes to you offering you thousands of dollars, why not? But I think it’s really good to take that virality and leverage it into, I like what Kayla Scanlan does, or Kyla, she’s the economics YouTuber, and she gives all these talks about econ now, and she has a newsletter, and she’s able to just do a lot more. It’s not just doing a bunch of brand deals online. It’s like using it to launch a career and whatever you want to have a career in.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, see, I see. That’s the funny, I think it’s so smart what you’re saying. I see some people, I’m like wondering, what’s your end game out of this? Is it just to, but what you’re saying is the end game, it’s interesting. The end game is to do something else. And I wonder if that’s what’s going on with Hollywood people when I’m encouraging people to, I don’t know, put theirselves out there with their art, their writing their music or whatever in my mind, to build an audience following to basically, so you can do the next thing. But I’m wondering how often that if you see that happening for people,

Taylor Lorenz:
I think the smart ones do recognize it. I feel like the internet, you’re just hopping from lily pad to lily pad a lot of the time, which I know that’s how a lot of creative people feel. It’s just like, I think internet fame in itself can be a goal. I mean, look, someone like Mr. Beast, you’ve done it. You crack the code. Most people are not going to reach that level. And so it makes a lot of sense. If you’re really into food, you’re making food content, use that to open your own restaurant or food line or whatever, but use it to go into something that you’re interested in because then you still, you always have that online audience. I still have my online audience. I have people that have followed me for a decade and maybe they know me from my blog or I had a Snapchat show in 2016 or things that I’ve done over the years, but it’s always in service of my broader career.

Michael Jamin:
And so Well, maybe tell me what that is. Do you have a broader goal ahead of all this? Other than getting a book, which is pretty impressive.

Taylor Lorenz:
I know. I never thought I would write a book. And then just, there was a lot of revisionist history once the pandemic hit in 2021 and all these venture capitalists were pouring money into the content creator world, and TikTok was taking off. People were just kind of like, they were rewriting history. And I was like, I’m going to write the definitive history. I’ve been around for this. And I always thought it would be interesting to write a book. I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry, except I have a couple friends that did those Urban Outfitters type

Michael Jamin:
Books. That’s so funny.

Taylor Lorenz:
See,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, go ahead. I don’t cut you off. So your broader goals. Oh, yeah.

Taylor Lorenz:
I love media. I love media. I want to keep working in media. I love creative sort of endeavors. I like writing. I make videos as I am very obsessed with news media, so I want

Michael Jamin:
To, right. So maybe more of that. There’s a couple of things in that book, in your book that kind of took me a little bit by surprise. One is there are, well, first of all, I think there are people who make content. This is just my opinion, their content’s a little disposable. And so you spoke about people who, I don’t know, it’s like pranksters who they got to keep upping the prank until it comes to a point where this one woman you’re talking about, she was sick to her stomach with the pressure of having to come up with something all the time. And to me, it felt like that’s because you’re making, I guess I have a rule. I have a rule. I was like, I don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes a day on this. But there are people who spend on posting, but there are people who put way a lot of time and pressure on this, and it winds up destroying themselves, don’t you think?

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh, a hundred percent. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of that in my book of just the burnout. And I think, like you said, it comes from just making content for content’s sake and feeling like it’s an extra burden and giving it, it’s also when it’s your whole livelihood, the stakes become higher. That’s why I say you should diversify a little bit.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. There was another, the thing that really surprised me that I learned from your book, because I’m a little older, so I don’t really know all this stuff, but there’s a whole culture of content creators who their job is just to talk shit about other content creators.

Taylor Lorenz:
And I’m like,

Michael Jamin:
Oh my God. And I’ve witnessed some of this stuff, but I didn’t realize it’s really a thing, like a gossip. They’re just gossipers, right?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. They basically have replaced tabloid news for the internet, and yeah, it’s a huge drama channel industrial complex online that you’re lucky if you’ve not encountered.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. And do they go anywhere with, what do you think is the end game for them?

Taylor Lorenz:
Well, I mean, the woman that runs DUIs, which is more of a blind item, celebrity news page, she has a podcast. She also, she wrote a novel kind of based around the content. Others like Diet Prada have really successful newsletters. A lot of the other commentators like Keemstar and stuff, their goal is just to basically run these media empires of gossip, kind of like a TMZ for the internet.

Michael Jamin:
And then how are they further monetizing though?

Taylor Lorenz:
They monetize through partnerships and brand deals and a lot through YouTube ads. They get a lot of views. A lot of them get a lot of views on YouTube.

Michael Jamin:
See, I just turned, maybe I’m crazy, but I turned down a brand deal today because I thought, I don’t know, it doesn’t align with anything that I stand for. And I was like, am I crazy for turning this down? Or I don’t know. But have you get approached by things that, are you turning stuff down?

Taylor Lorenz:
Well, yeah, I have to turn down so much stuff. I’ll never forget a tech company, which I will not name, offered me $60,000 to do three video, three audio chat rooms for them.

Michael Jamin:
What is an audio chat room?

Taylor Lorenz:
Like? A live chat type thing? It was going to be like three hours of work. And obviously I couldn’t do it because I can’t take on sponsored content. I’m a journalist. You can’t do that, especially not with a tech company. But I have to say that one really made me question my career choices. Normally people are like, can you promote X, Y, Z? And I explained that I don’t do.

Michael Jamin:
So there’s nothing that you can promote a journalist. There’s nothing.

Taylor Lorenz:
I mean, I could theoretically probably promote companies that I don’t cover, but I don’t really want to, I don’t need to make $500 promoting a mop.

Michael Jamin:
Right, right. Yeah, it’s so interesting. You have to protect what you, it’s so odd because I don’t see a lot of people making brand when I’m scrolling through my pages for you a page on TikTok, I don’t see a lot of people making brand deals, but I guess they are, right? Am I not seeing it?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, the branded content doesn’t always live on TikTok. A lot of times they’ll create whitelisted content that the brand then promotes in a TikTok ad.

Michael Jamin:
Wait, when you say white, okay, explain this to me. So whitelisted means the creator. Go ahead.

Taylor Lorenz:
The creator creates branded content, but it doesn’t necessarily live on their feed. They create it for the brand, and then the brand will use that video they made to the creator, like, wow, I love my air stick selfie thing. They’ll run ads. So it’s using that creator’s likeness in the ad. It’s the video that they made, but you’re not going to see it on their page. You’re going to see it in the,

Michael Jamin:
But do they not put it on their page or you’re not going to see it? No one’s going to watch it.

Taylor Lorenz:
Sometimes they do put it on their page, sometimes they don’t. I mean, all of these are negotiated in the terms of the ad deals, which are structured increasingly in complicated ways. But I mean, there’s a lot of spun con on TikTok. Also, sometimes there’s product placement on TikTok. You’ll see people doing videos with certain products. Sometimes the products have paid to be in their,

Michael Jamin:
And they have to mention this, right? They have to, I wasn’t aware of this, but theoretically, yes, theoretically. But you’re saying they don’t always mention it. They don’t always say, this is

Taylor Lorenz:
The sponsor. So the FTC says Yes, and I write about that decision in 2017 when they had to do that. The thing is that a lot of times they can get away with not saying it because it’s not directly sponsored. For instance, you could have a long-term, year long partnership with the brand. They could be giving you tons of free product, but they didn’t directly pay you for that post. So you feel like, oh, I don’t have to disclose it,

Michael Jamin:
But they paid you for something. I mean, that doesn’t make sense. They paid you. It’s totally great. Okay. Yeah. But

Taylor Lorenz:
People get around it by kind of fudging things.

Michael Jamin:
Who would get in trouble then if they got caught? The brand, not the TikTok or whatever.

Taylor Lorenz:
Not really. I mean, they went after Kim Kardashian. If you’re that level, they’ll go after you. But normally they’re going after the brands. The brands are usually doing this. And also it’s ultimately the brand or the agency that’s running the marketing campaign that’s up. It’s up to them to enforce it and be like, Hey, put this in your caption.

Michael Jamin:
You said something else that surprised me in your book is that at one point, maybe it’s still this way that the agencies are making the money and many of the creators are not getting that money. Explain to me what happens. I read it twice. It’s like, wait, I’m missing something. So

Taylor Lorenz:
There’s been this explosion in sort of middlemen agencies, management companies that have come in. And what they do is they find these up and coming creators, they sign them into contracts like, Hey, I’ll handle all your spun con, or I’ll come in and do this deal. And then they take a huge portion, the brand pays maybe a hundred thousand dollars for a campaign. The agency will come in and take 50% of that or something, and then the rest goes to the creators. They allocate it, so

Michael Jamin:
They’re getting something. You could

Taylor Lorenz:
Argue that they are providing a service, and that’s true, but the less ethical agencies are less upfront about the amount that they’re taking.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. Oh, they don’t tell you how much it is? Probably,

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. They won’t tell you what the brand originally paid. They’ll just say, oh, it’s $10,000 for this campaign. Nevermind that we got a hundred thousand dollars from the actual

Michael Jamin:
Brand. Oh, wow. Yeah. There’s so much to be careful. There really is. And so I asked you a little bit earlier if you knew of many. Okay, so I’ll let give you an example from my experience. So I did a show, I don’t know, maybe 10 years ago, maybe not maybe 10. And the studio, we had a cast a role, and the studio wanted to get an influencer to play the part because this influencer had a bigger audience than the network had. And he turned it down several times because the money, he was going to paid a lot of money, but the money wasn’t worth it to him. He was making more on a daily, which I was shocked about. And so do you know more? Can you speak more to that?

Taylor Lorenz:
That happens all the time. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Really?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
I thought this guy was crazy, but okay, go on.

Taylor Lorenz:
Well, I mean, for a lot of content creators, their goal, it depends on the content creators. Some content creators, their goal is to get into Hollywood, and that would be an amazing opportunity for them. But especially the ones at the upper echelon, they’re already the a-list of the internet. They’re making millions of dollars. They really don’t need to engage. And maybe it’s a fun thing if they want to do it, and they have time and it’s like a novelty type thing, or it adds some sort of legitimacy to them. But a lot of times, if they’re spending, for instance, hours on a set, that’s money out of their pocket that they could be making a lot. So it kind of doesn’t make sense. And people have struggled. Not every content creator succeeds as well. So I think some of them do have that feeling of like, look, I’m really good at this. I know I’m really good at this. I’m making money. Do I want to gamble? Take time away from that. Try my hand at this thing that maybe I have and succeeded at before. It’s not always there.

Michael Jamin:
Maybe I shouldn’t even ask this on as we’re being recorded. Do you know this guy, nurse Blake? Have you heard of him?

Taylor Lorenz:
I don’t think so. Wait,

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Because I can’t tell if he’s a comedian or a nurse, but whatever he is, he’s selling out arenas.

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh, I know this guy. I’ve seen him before. Yes. He’s a comedian, right?

Michael Jamin:
Well, he doesn’t act, but I also see him also posting in the hospital. It seems like he could be selling out arenas, but also he likes doing the rounds or something. I don’t know. Yeah.

Taylor Lorenz:
So it’s so funny. I don’t know when you joined TikTok, but the earliest content creators on TikTok back in 2018, when it flipped from musically to TikTok, the earliest groups of content creators that emerged were police officers, nurses and service workers. And they were all gaining huge audiences. And I think it’s because those jobs have an enormous amount of downtime, and they kind of almost have interesting stages themselves. They’re always in the hospital or at Walmart working or whatever. And so there’s a lot of people like that on social media that have kind of pivoted their career in that way to,

Michael Jamin:
Okay. I’ve been on a TikTok for maybe two and a half years, and at first I was very self-conscious. I was like, isn’t this the app where teenage girls shuffle dance? Am I going to be the creepy guy on this app? And you’re saying, it’s so hard to tell. I mean, the first time, my first week and a half of posts were like this, this is cringey.

Taylor Lorenz:
They always say, you know what? My favorite quote is that I think all the time Xavier from Party Shirt said this, that everything is cringe until it gets views. And I think that’s

Michael Jamin:
True. Until it gets

Taylor Lorenz:
It’s popular. It’s not cringe anymore,

Michael Jamin:
I guess. So when you first started posting, did you look to anyone for, I don’t know, to emulate?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. I mean, there’s this woman, Katie nais, who’s still hilarious internet person, and she’s a blogger too. She ended up working at Buzzfeed for a decade. I always just wanted to be like her. She was so creative and funny. She had this website called, I think it was called Party something. She would aggregate really funny party photos, and she just was really good at finding funny things on the internet.

Michael Jamin:
And do you know, have you reached out to her?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, now I’m friends with her because I’ve been obsessed with her for my whole career. So she

Michael Jamin:
Very really, so now you have a friendship with her. That’s nice. Do you get recognized a lot when you’re out and about?

Taylor Lorenz:
Not in la. No one gives a shit about me in la.

Michael Jamin:
But when you’re out somewhere else, if I’m not

Taylor Lorenz:
VidCon or something, yeah, usually. I mean, I got recognized in DC on my book tour when I was eating. That was cool. But yeah, sometimes, I mean, when I was doing my Snapchat show, I got recognized a lot more, I think, because a lot of kids were seeing me on the Snapchat Discover Channel thing.

Michael Jamin:
I was on your link tree, you’re everywhere, but are you active on every, I’m like, damn. She’s on every platform.

Taylor Lorenz:
I’m an equal opportunity poster. Well, I mean, I cover this world, so I kind of feel obligated to be on everything. I definitely think Instagram and TikTok are my main ones. And then I have threads also now,

Michael Jamin:
Which I, are you making different content you posting? Are you reposting or posting brand new stuff? Everywhere.

Taylor Lorenz:
I repost. If I make a short video for TikTok, I repost it on reels and YouTube shorts. YouTube’s always the one that I like. I’m so lazy about, honestly,

Michael Jamin:
It’s hard to grow on YouTube. It’s so

Taylor Lorenz:
Hard to grow, and I don’t know, it’s just like there’s something demoralizing about YouTube.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting.

Taylor Lorenz:
But yeah, I think it’s because it’s like, you know how it is, it’s like you post something, you get a hundred thousand views on TikTok, it’s doing really well on Instagram. And then you go on YouTube and it’s like me, 2000 views, and you’re like, oh, I’m a

Michael Jamin:
Failure. What’s the point of that? And you were blocked. Are you still blocked from Twitter or whatever? Twitter is?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. Elon banned me for a while. I did get back on. I don’t really, Twitter is dead to me, honestly.

Michael Jamin:
What did you do to get banned?

Taylor Lorenz:
I was, well, he banned me under this rule that he made that said you couldn’t promote your links to other social media profiles. And I was promoting my Instagram account, so that’s what he technically banned me under. But what he really banned me for is that I reached out to him for comment. I wrote a story about how he completely lied about a bunch of stuff, and I reached out to him for comment. And the minute I reached out to him for comment, I got banned. And then he tried to say, oh, it was actually because she was promoting her Instagram. No,

Michael Jamin:
That was Oh, interesting. So do you think he was guy, do you, you made it he enemy. He responds. He knows who you are and hates you.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. Oh, he definitely, yes. I mean, I’ve interacted with him somewhat frequent basis, but that week I was not the only journalist that was banned for reporting on him. So the same week, drew Harwell, my colleague was banned, and then a bunch of people from the New York Times, we all got banned within a week, so

Michael Jamin:
Wow. Back

Taylor Lorenz:
On.

Michael Jamin:
And then they let you back on. Interesting. And then you’re, screw this.

Taylor Lorenz:
But yeah, Twitter is also just very toxic and political, and I think culture is happening more on TikTok.

Michael Jamin:
Don’t you think they’re all toxic?

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh, totally. But I think Twitter’s uniquely toxic. TikTok is toxic in a different way.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. I want to know what you think the differences are in each platform, because I have opinions, but Okay. Yeah. What are your differences? I mean,

Taylor Lorenz:
Twitter is just very political, and it’s political in a way that there’s a lot of, especially as a member of the media, it’s like there’s a lot of journalists on there. I think it’s a giant group chat for a lot of media people. It’s stressful. Editors, bosses are on there. I don’t really use it. I use it to keep up with, I’m super immunocompromised, and so I keep up with Covid News on there. It’s really the only thing I use it for. It’s really hard to get news and information because Elon has sort of made so many changes to make it hard to get news on there. So I don’t mess with Twitter. TikTok I love. But yeah, I mean, TikTok is just mob mentality. So I mean, I’ll never forget. I defended, do you remember West Elm Caleb?

Michael Jamin:
No. And it’s so funny when you say these names. I’m like, these ridiculous names. I’m like, no, I don’t know that comic book character.

Taylor Lorenz:
Okay, well, west Elm Caleb a year and a half ago was getting canceled on TikTok. He was a guy that ghosted a bunch of people. He ghosted a bunch of women, and a bunch of women went on TikTok, like, this guy’s a ghoster. And it got so crazy that he got fully doxxed and fired from his job. And anyway, I defended him and I was like, Hey guys, can we calm down a little bit? We haven’t even heard this guy’s side of the story. I believe he shouldn’t be an asshole to women, but I’ve been doxxed. It sucks. Don’t do that. And TikTok, they came for me hard on that one. They were like, no,

Michael Jamin:
No,

Taylor Lorenz:
Somebody from West Tom, Caleb.

Michael Jamin:
And then, yeah. How worried are you about, I worry about that. How worried about you getting haters and stuff?

Taylor Lorenz:
I’ve gotten haters. I write about YouTubers for a living. So if I was worried about haters, it doesn’t matter. My friend is a pop music writer, and he was saying, he told me a couple years ago, because if anytime you are covering something with a fandom, you’re going to deal with haters. And they’re vicious, but a lot of them are 11 years old, or they’re just online and they’re mad and

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Do you respond to your posts comments on your post? You do.

Taylor Lorenz:
I do. I try to mean, don’t try not to respond to haters. Sometimes I’m weak and I do respond to the haters, but no

Michael Jamin:
Good comes of it. Right? When you do, no,

Taylor Lorenz:
No good comes of it. But sometimes you just, I don’t know. You just got to, but

Michael Jamin:
Even if you respond with kindness, which I did today to somebody, he just doubled down on his stupidity. They don’t care. Why am I trying to,

Taylor Lorenz:
They don’t care at all. They’re like, fuck you.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. No, it doesn’t help. I mean, sometimes if I’m bored, I’ve replied something, but I mostly just ignore those people, or I limit my comments and I try to keep it to that only my community’s engaging and not a bunch of randos. Or if they have a good faith question, I get a lot of story ideas from people commenting. Or sometimes smart people will comment, you click on their profile, you’re like, oh, cool. Person’s interesting. Right.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Okay. So you sound emotionally mature about this whole thing? Maybe more than I am because I get upset sometimes.

Taylor Lorenz:
No, trust me, I’ve had my moments. It’s hard. But I think I’ve just been through it so long. I’ve been through the cycle so many times that I’m immune.

Michael Jamin:
And do you talk to your colleagues who, I guess, are they as active as you are on, let say on TikTok? No. Other reporters?

Taylor Lorenz:
Journalists are not. It’s weird with journalists on TikTok. They’re not really, journalists are so addicted to Twitter. Twitter is where everyone in the media is. And there’s some journalists on TikTok, but not that many. So the ones that are, I think we all try to support each other,

Michael Jamin:
Or it’s just not competitive. Yeah, it’s supportive. You think?

Taylor Lorenz:
I try to be supportive. I don’t, like somebody said this really early on of Don’t compete collab or something. It was like early thing. And I really like that. I felt that with blogging too. I had made friends with a lot of bloggers. We were all in the same group. And it’s just like the internet is really vast and everyone is unique. And

Michael Jamin:
There’s not too

Taylor Lorenz:
Many internet culture reporters either. So,

Michael Jamin:
Well, that’s a question I can’t tell how big TikTok is. Sometimes I’ll see, oh my God, this creator knows that creator, and they talk whether they stick to each other. I’m like, wow, this is a small place. But then I’m wondering, well, maybe I’m only seeing this wedge of the pie, and it’s actually much larger. I can’t get a sense of how big this thing is.

Taylor Lorenz:
It is really big. I mean, it’s like billions of users, so it’s really big. But I do think that in

Michael Jamin:
Terms of the creators though, the

Taylor Lorenz:
Creator community is smaller than you think. And I think the people that are really active, they form a network. And you’re always going to get people that are a couple degrees away from people that you follow usually.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Where do you think, I’m certainly not the first person to say this, but during the early days of Instagram, it was always about people. This is the glamorous life. It was all made up. It was like they got sponsored posts to be on a yacht or whatever. They’re pretending to be rich and famous or whatever. And because we’re all idiots, we’re like, wow, they’re rich and famous, and they’re living that life. And then that somehow evolved to now influences turn to creators, and creators are more authentic. This is my life. Take it or leave it. What do you think there’s next? What comes next after that? Do you have any idea? Yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
I mean, I think we always flip back and forth between aspirational versus authenticity. And people want a little bit of both. People still want the aspirational content. It’s just not everything. And I do think that the authenticity is part of the appeal, and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. But yeah, I don’t know. I mean, different content formats perform well depending on what the platform is promoting. So right now, they really want long form video. So I think we’re going to see people that succeed in long form grow faster.

Michael Jamin:
But do you think when you’re posting, maybe you don’t even want to answer this on the air. I wouldn’t blame you. Are you thinking about, oh, this post will do Well, I should talk about this. I know it’ll do well. Or is it like, this is what I’m talking about, take it or leave it?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. It depends on the day. Some days so many times where I’m like, oh, I know this would do well, but I just don’t feel like posting today.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, really? Especially

Taylor Lorenz:
Lately, oh my God. There’s been so many things where I’m like, oh, that’s going to go viral. And then I see somebody else posted and I’m like, good. They got the traffic. You have to be early on something. And then sometimes just most stuff I just post because I think it’s interesting, and it’s just my taste and news and information and just something I found interesting. But how

Michael Jamin:
Long will you spend on a post? Do you do it again and again until you get it right? No. One take and you’re done?

Taylor Lorenz:
Usually, maybe I’ll do two or three if I might rerecord something, but I don’t take it that seriously. It’s just one of many things I’m doing during the day, so not, and especially since I’ve been on book tour, I’ve just been too busy to make. I go through periods and it depends on how busy I am, how many videos I’m making.

Michael Jamin:
And how much of your personal life, because I know you’re talking about technology and you’re interviewing people and you’re covering events like a journalist, but how much of yourself do you share?

Taylor Lorenz:
I share my opinions. I mean, I’m very opinionated, and I think I always tell people that you can be very authentic. And I think a lot of people would find me to be very authentic person online. I’m not a shy person or something, but I don’t talk about my personal information. Also, it’s not that interesting, I think. Oh, but

Michael Jamin:
People would love to know. People would love to know. I know Date you

Taylor Lorenz:
Nosy. They’re nosy. But I think about all the cool stuff that I did in my twenties, and I’m like, I wish I had TikTok, I think back then, and I was talking about my life more. I was doing more and going out more. And now I’m like, I have a little bit more of a chill life. So sometimes I talk about walking around the Silver Lake reservoir or something, but I’m not like, if I go to a really interesting event, maybe I’ll share it. I mean, I just went to Dubai and I actually haven’t posted yet, but I’m making a video about that.

Michael Jamin:
I can’t believe you went. That flight is just too long. I would think it was

Taylor Lorenz:
So long. It was so long. But I got invited to this book festival, and I thought, when else am I going to go?

Michael Jamin:
Okay, what is a book festival?

Taylor Lorenz:
So there’s this really big book festival called the Sharjah International Book Festival, and it’s huge. And there’s thousands of authors and books, and yeah, I got invited to speak, and I thought,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, you’re speaking. So what if you’re not speaking, what happens to Is everyone, okay? If you weren’t invited to speak, would you be at a booth? What is it? Yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
You just attend. I mean, there’s thousands of people that attend and they just come from all over to, there’s a lot of book buyers, and then there’s a lot of publishing industry people in the Middle East and in Europe and that side of the world. And then there’s just a lot of people that are interested in meeting the authors, going to panels. There’s a lot of celebrity author type people there.

Michael Jamin:
Who’s setting that up? Your publisher or who?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, the publisher. Actually, I think maybe my book agent forwarded it to me. They were forwarded it to me, look at this random thing, and I was like, no, that’s so cool. I want to do it.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, wow, really? And so did they fly you out?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, they flew me out. They didn’t pay me or anything. They just flew me out and covered my travel, which honestly was enough for me. It was pretty cool. How

Michael Jamin:
Many days were you there?

Taylor Lorenz:
I was only there for three, four days. Four days,

Michael Jamin:
Including the flight, which was the

Taylor Lorenz:
Travel was a day on each side because the travel was

Michael Jamin:
Long. And then you were there for the rest of the time, and you spoke on the panel? I was on the panel. That’s an hour,

Taylor Lorenz:
Michael. I just did tourist stuff. I didn’t have to do anything aside from that, so I was like, let me just go.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay. So it was a chance for you to be a tourist.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. My friend is an editor over there for Bloomberg, and so we hung out and just did all the cool Dubai stuff together.

Michael Jamin:
But I’m curious because it’s interesting, since you were a journalist, are we supposed to know anything about you? I mean, are there rules? Yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
It’s so funny. So the old school sort of notions of journalism is like, I’m serious, and I don’t talk about my life, and I never share an opinion. I think that’s a very outdated and dumb model of journalism that nobody will trust. That’s why we have a crisis in media, I think, of trust is because people don’t know about, there’s so much mistrust in the media, and I’d much rather be upfront with my beliefs and tell people, Hey, look, this is what I’m thinking about the issue. Do you think I’m wrong? Do you think I’m right? Ultimately, the goal of writing any article is to be fair and accurate.

Michael Jamin:
We

Taylor Lorenz:
All

Michael Jamin:
Have. I thought you weren’t supposed to be biased. I thought you were supposed to. Why do I know? I thought you supposed to. This is the

Taylor Lorenz:
Fact everyone. Everyone has opinions, right? There’s no such thing on earth. The point is, is that you’re not allowed. You shouldn’t let that kind of shape the story to the point that it alters the truth. But to act like, oh, I don’t have opinions as a journalist, that’s stupid. We’re all human beings. We all have opinions. Baseball writers that write about sports teams, they still are fans of a specific team. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to shape their coverage. That’s the most important thing. It’s like, I might love or hate certain things on the internet, but I’m not going to let it affect some story to the point that it would be truthful. You know what I mean?

Michael Jamin:
This gets into something else. Whereas you’re kind of maybe, I don’t know if this isn’t the right word, but a celebrity journalist, because you recently had a photo spread in this magazine, and they’re dressing you up and couture, right? I mean, so what’s that about? You’re celebrity journalist.

Taylor Lorenz:
I know. I’ve been in a couple things like that. Yeah, I mean, look, journalists have always been, it’s always been a public facing job. It’s always been a public. I mean, Woodward and Bernstein, obviously. Bob Woodward also works at The Post. He’s incredibly famous. Anderson Cooper, Barbara Walters, the original female journalist, Katie Couric. All these journalists are, well-known household names because of their journalism, but of course, they’re also people. And I think with the internet now, that’s all come to a smaller scale. I’m definitely not at those people’s levels at all. But with the internet, I think we all follow journalists and content creators. And again, it goes back to transparency. That’s what I think is a big problem with that old model of media, where it’s like, don’t ever speak your opinion or something on anything. Because I think actually when you don’t and you try to sort of act like, oh, I don’t have an opinion, that’s a lie.
Everyone has an opinion on everything. Or maybe, but you should just be honest about it because that helps people trust you. I can be like, look, I don’t love, this is a total example. I do love Emma Chamberlain, but I could be like, I don’t love Emma Chamberlain, but I had the opportunity to interview her editing style was pioneering. It transformed YouTube. I wrote about it in my book, X, Y, Z. I’m not going to let my personal feelings about her color, but I would answer questions about it. If somebody asked me, I’d be like, well, here’s my thoughts.

Michael Jamin:
Okay, so what is your daily life then? Do you freelance all these? How does it work? What is your life?

Taylor Lorenz:
No, I work for the Washington Post. So I am on our morning meeting every day at 8:00 AM on Zoom.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Is no one, well, that’s a good question. Is everyone online now? If you work for the Washington Post, does no one go to the office?

Taylor Lorenz:
They have a big office in Washington, but I moved out here with the New York Times, so I was at the New York Times for several years, and New York Times does have an office in la. So they moved me out here, and then the Post recruited me, and I was like, well, I’m not leaving la. And they have a lot of people from the post in LA obviously as well. Are you

Michael Jamin:
From, I thought you were from la. No,

Taylor Lorenz:
No. I live in la, but I’m from New York originally.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, where are you in New York? Are you from?

Taylor Lorenz:
Well, I lived on the Upper East Side when I was little, and I lived all over New York. I’ve lived, I think 11 different neighborhoods,

Michael Jamin:
But all, not all in Manhattan?

Taylor Lorenz:
No, no, no, no. Mostly in Brooklyn. I was in Fort Green before I moved.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. I didn’t know that. So you’re a New Yorker. Okay. Yeah. And then not anymore. So are you pitching them ideas or are they telling you, this is what we want you to cover today?

Taylor Lorenz:
It’s a mix. I would say it’s probably like 80 to 90% coming up with your own ideas. The rest of it. Sometimes there’s an editor assigned story. Most of the time it’s breaking news. So for instance, the war breaks out. I cover TikTok. I cover the content. So they’re like, well, is there an angle on it?

Michael Jamin:
Why is news? My God. So what is most of your day then? Is it surfing the internet, or is it making calls to experts or whatever?

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, it’s a mix. I wish it was surfing the internet all day, but it’s a lot of meetings, a lot of, we have editorial meetings where we discuss coverage and we all give feedback on our stories. And I have meetings with my editor to talk about stories. I write features, so I generally write longer pieces. Sometimes I’m working on investigations for months.

Michael Jamin:
And then how did you have, go ahead. Go

Taylor Lorenz:
Ahead. Oh, yeah, it’s a mix of, I do a lot of interviews and I do a lot of informational interviews, and I do a lot of consuming content and

Michael Jamin:
Keeping Well, then where did you get the time to write this book? It sounds very busy.

Taylor Lorenz:
I know. And I didn’t take book leave like an idiot. I was like, I’ll just do it nights and weekends.

Michael Jamin:
People go on book leave.

Taylor Lorenz:
Leave, yeah. But it’s unpaid, so that’s how they get you. And I didn’t want to do that, so I thought I’ll just try to do it all on top of my job. And I did, but it took me two years.

Michael Jamin:
Are you working on your next book? What’s that?

Taylor Lorenz:
No, I’m not doing another book.

Michael Jamin:
You’re done for now, but you will at some point

Taylor Lorenz:
Maybe. Sure. Like yours. I don’t want to do that right now.

Michael Jamin:
It was really hard. Why? I know. It was a lot of work, a lot of research, and

Taylor Lorenz:
Just the fact-checking. I interviewed about 600 people for the book, and it was just a lot. And throughout it all, I make videos, I do. I speak at things. I go to events. I have a lot going on in between.

Michael Jamin:
And how are you getting these speaking engagements? You’re a celebrity now?

Taylor Lorenz:
No. No, but I talk at industry conferences type stuff a lot. Just like VidCon or things like

Michael Jamin:
That. What is VidCon? Stop talking. I know what I’m talking about. I don’t even know what that is.

Taylor Lorenz:
Wait, Michael, you need to come to VidCon next year.

Michael Jamin:
I don’t even know what it is.

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh my God. VidCon is the largest, so

Michael Jamin:
Ignorant.

Taylor Lorenz:
No, no, no. You know what? You would have no reason to know it. It’s the biggest conference for, it’s a convention for online content creators. It’s in Anaheim every year. They also have VidCon Baltimore this year. But it’s a big convention where all the big content creator type people get together and the industry sort of.

Michael Jamin:
So are you going as a guest or are you going as a speaker?

Taylor Lorenz:
I’ve mostly, in recent years, gone as a speaker, but I used to go as a guest.

Michael Jamin:
And so what do you do as a guest?

Taylor Lorenz:
As a guest, you get to meet your biggest, you meet the big content creators that are there, talkers meet and greets. You go to panels, you can go to events. There’s parties. It’s kind of like a fun thing if you’re up and coming or you care about the internet. It used to be a really big thing. I mean, I talk about this a little bit in the book, but it started in 2010, and it started as this small thing of just the biggest creators on the internet getting together just because there was no event, physical event. And then it got bought by Viacom, and now it’s this huge.

Michael Jamin:
So now they reach out to you to say, we want you to be on a panel or something.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, I’m always talking about, sometimes I do interviews with big content creators on the main stage. They need somebody to interview Charlie Delio or something. And so I’ll do that. Sometimes. I’m talking about, I mean, I did one, I think it was last year or the year before, on news content creators. That’s something that people always want me to talk

Michael Jamin:
About all. So we don’t live far for each other. So we’ll ride fair. If you like riding in a Jeep, you’re not afraid of writing into Jeep.

Taylor Lorenz:
I think you might be recognized. Maybe you’ll be a speaker soon. They love the entertainment people. There was some women they had there one year. They always get some weird entertainment celebrity that has a YouTube channel to come, and they’re always really out of place. It’s very funny.

Michael Jamin:
They wait, why would they be out of place if they’re famous? If they’re a celebrity? They’re

Taylor Lorenz:
Not internet people. They don’t even run their own channel usually.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, I see. So that’s a whole different thing when celebrities put themselves. That’s the thing. I read somewhere, well, I guess there was pushback when a celebrity gets on YouTube, it’s like, Hey, or TikTok, get off TikTok celebrity. It’s like, why is everyone so mad? But I guess maybe talk a little about that. What happens when they try to do that?

Taylor Lorenz:
I think it’s just these old school entertainment. People come on and they don’t really understand the app and they clearly are not doing it themselves. They have some content assistant and then they’re like, Hey kids, I guess I have to be here now. And it’s like, what are you doing here? I will say, the musicians do a better job. Megan Trainor has Chris Olsson, her TikTok buddy that, and music is such a part of TikTok. I feel like they get a warmer reception. But people, I mean, when Reese Smith first joined, people were like, they were in the comments being mean to

Michael Jamin:
Her. Aren’t you rich enough? Reese? But there is some woman I follow, and I was shocked. I’m like, there’s so many ways that people are making on this. And she talks about politics, so she’s like a punt. That’s her passion. So I’m like, okay, let’s get her take on it. But she also does these, they’re called TRO trips. Have you heard of this TRO Trotro trip? And so basically it’s this website. So she’ll run a trip in Europe, we’re going to Italy for a week, come onto this and you can pay her basically to be your tour guide.

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh, this, I see. It’s like a host. They’re hosting you for the tour. Interesting. Oh my gosh,

Michael Jamin:
Yes. I’m like, how smart. So she basically gets a free trip, but she has to be with people for a week. She’s the host. Well,

Taylor Lorenz:
They were doing that with our New York Times when I was at the New York Times. I think they stopped doing it because one of the reporters was being controversial on the trip, and I think they kind of scaled back the program, but I think they were like, actually, we don’t want our reporters talking to the public. But they used to have people travel with New York Times reporters, and that was a way that the New York Times made money off journalists.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, wow. And for the same kind of thing where let’s go tour the Vatican or something.

Taylor Lorenz:
It would be like tour the Vatican with the Times

Michael Jamin:
Reallys recording or whatever. It’s so weird. But there’s just so many ways for people to, I don’t know, make a name for themselves. I was good for her.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, totally. I mean, there’s just endless ways to monetize online.

Michael Jamin:
I haven’t discovered any of them yet, but I’m waiting for it. I got my eyes peeled, but okay, so yeah, so you go to this VidCon thing, you do a panel, and then people want your opinion. And I imagine it’s people a lot smaller than you who aspire to be you.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. Or it’s just people in different industries that are there to learn more about the industry or It’s a lot of brand people too. The head of marketing for Walmart or something.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, really?

Taylor Lorenz:
Want to understand the ecosystem.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, so they’re not talking, I don’t know, conferences. I don’t know what this is about. It depends.

Taylor Lorenz:
I mean, sometimes those people, if they’re really good, I mean, I actually know the woman who runs the Walmart, influencer marketing was also at this event I was at recently. So that’s a bad example. But a lot of times it’s like marketers, maybe they’re not totally in it yet, or they’re a brand that wants to understand the content creator world, but they don’t. Maybe they’re not doing that yet, or they want to do more of it. So they go to these events to build connections. And

Michael Jamin:
So you’re saying, I should go to this thing.

Taylor Lorenz:
I think you should go to VidCon. It’s interesting. It’s fun to just go to once. And there’s a lot of fans there too. So there’s the industry side, then there’s the fan side, and then there’s just all these sort of adjacent events.

Michael Jamin:
Hey, it’s Michael Jamin. If you like my content, and I know you do because listening to me, I will email it to you for free. Just join my watch list. Every Friday I send out my top three videos of the week. These are for writers, actors, creative types, people. You can unsubscribe whenever you want. I’m not going to spam you, and the price is free. You got no excuse to join. Go to michaeljamin.com. And now back to what the hell is Michael Jamin talking about?
Alright, so what about other people who have, I guess, transition from, I guess I’m saying, what I’m thinking is how can we help my listeners into, I don’t know, everyone turns to me for like, Hey, what should I put on? It’s like, I don’t know, just build a following. Do you have advice for them?

Taylor Lorenz:
Everyone asked me the same thing, and I’m like, I wish it was easy. If I could give you a three step thing, we would all have millions of followers. I mean, a huge part is consistency, which is very hard. And I have to say, you post forever. You can’t get obsessed with the views because people just quit and they feel like, oh, if you have an audience of 500 people, that really matters. It is very much about creating more of a community of people, and it is scale. So I think it’s just, that’s so valuable, and it also matters who’s following you, rather than just getting random views. You want influential or interesting or whatever type of market you’re trying to go for. You want the right people to follow you.

Michael Jamin:
Well, this is something that I was always perplexed at the beginning of TikTok, so I guess both of them, but on TikTok, you have followers that are, I get all these followers. I’m like, but if I have all these followers and only a 10th of them are seeing an average post or less, what’s the point? Why? Why do I keep track of this metric? Why do they have the metric of followers if they don’t show it to your followers?

Taylor Lorenz:
The way that I explain TikTok is following is just one signal to the algorithm. It’s one signal out of probably thousands. And so it’s useful. It’s like, I have an affinity to this person. Obviously, you follow people too. Then you’re mutuals, and then you can DMM with each other more, or comment. Sometimes you can put videos to Mutuals only. So there is a value, I think, in following, but most of people’s experience is of consuming content on TikTok is obviously through the for you page. So I wouldn’t even, followers doesn’t matter that much, right?

Michael Jamin:
It doesn’t.

Taylor Lorenz:
And also it’s like, again, it goes back to who is following you. There’s so many creators that people always wonder this with press, because people are like, why? How do I get written about? And it’s really not about how big you are. It’s like, do you have something new and interesting, or have you cultivated some sort of unique audience that maybe hasn’t been served before? Things like that. So you don’t have to be the biggest,

Michael Jamin:
Well, I say this, there’s this one guy, I’m trying to remember his name, but he has a show, he’s sold a show somewhere. I should know his name, but it was a Twitter feed, and he was just writing, he had a thriller. So every day he posts a little different line from this thriller he was writing. Oh, cool. And then it just blew up because it’s mystery and suspense, and people wanted to find out what was in the basement or whatever. Then he was able to, I was like, oh, that’s a good idea. So he did it. And so I don’t know. Are you following any other people who do anything like that?

Taylor Lorenz:
Twitter. Twitter. There was this period on Twitter where there were a lot of TV writers and comedians were trying things out there, and you could really get traction, and people were looking at Twitter. Now, no one’s looking at that anymore. I would say it’s much more TikTok and Instagram for comedy, and that’s just where it is. But I mean, things people make, I mean, I was interested, this guy, Ari Kagan, who is kind of like a young director, content creator. He doesn’t like to be called a content creator, but he just sold a show with Adam McKay, where they’re making it for TikTok.

Michael Jamin:
They’re making it for TikTok. Wait a minute, what does that mean?

Taylor Lorenz:
They’re going to make it on TikTok. It’s going to live on TikTok, I guess,

Michael Jamin:
But not as, what we do is some kind of different TikTok channel or something where it’s long form.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah, yeah, it’s, hold on, let me find it. I want to actually get it right. Oh, yeah. Here. It’s a series that they’re making on TikTok. Hold on. It happened when I was, okay. I just put it in the chat. Okay. Yeah, I think it’s scripted. Yeah, it’s a scripted series to run on TikTok.

Michael Jamin:
So you may or may not. That means you may or may not see it like we were just talking

Taylor Lorenz:
About. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so I guess they’re hoping that it’ll perform well. I’m sure they’re going to put paid media behind it, but

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay. Oh, okay. How interesting. Yeah, this whole thing is so you got to be honest, people are always saying, how do I break into Hollywood? And I’m thinking, well, you don’t need to. You can do this on your own.

Taylor Lorenz:
I mean, Ari did a lot on his own initially. I think that’s how a lot of people get in there, is they sort of start making their own little projects. I mean, one person that I think has done this really well, he is an actor. His name is Brian Jordan Alvarez. Do you know him?

Michael Jamin:
No.

Taylor Lorenz:
Oh my God.

Michael Jamin:
So I got to know who.

Taylor Lorenz:
Alright,

Michael Jamin:
Put him in the chat.

Taylor Lorenz:
I’m going to put him in the chat. He was an actor on Will and Grace and he was in Megan, and he is very funny. I’ll put, oh, he has a Wikipedia now. He’s big time. He’s an actor, but it makes this really amazing content. And he started making music online and these series online and I think it’s like helped him a lot. I mean, everyone knows who he is now. He’s been in Time Magazine and stuff, and it’s mostly from his, he made this YouTube series a while ago that was popular, and then his tiktoks took off and he started making music. But it’s like,

Michael Jamin:
All right, I got to follow this guy. You’re saying

Taylor Lorenz:
He’s very funny, but it’s just raised his profile a lot. I think what he does on the internet, and he does it in a really fun way. And I listened to him on a podcast recently, and he was just saying how it’s led to more people kind of knowing his work, and obviously people see his work and then they want to work with you.

Michael Jamin:
Right. Do you have a podcast yet?

Taylor Lorenz:
Careful.

Michael Jamin:
Maybe I might tune.

Taylor Lorenz:
We’ll see, I had one and then the New York Times made me quit it. The Times is crazy about outside projects, so I quit

Michael Jamin:
It. Oh, really? Hope that the post is not as, maybe they don’t.

Taylor Lorenz:
They’re better. That’s why I work there now.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. You got your hand in so many different things. Yeah. I don’t know. I just thought you’re absolutely fascinated because you are an expert, but you’re also in it. You know what I’m saying? Yeah, yeah. Is it overwhelming for you?

Taylor Lorenz:
I think I have good boundaries because I mean, I’m grateful to be a millennial where I think it’s harder for the 22 year olds today where everything, their whole social life is so enmeshed in the internet. I think I have a healthy distance from it, and I have friends that are just my friends that aren’t internet.

Michael Jamin:
So your boundaries are basically how much time you’re willing to invest every day on being online. And also just

Taylor Lorenz:
Like I have a very strong sense of self, and I think when you get on the internet, everybody tries to push you into doing things or making content or being like, oh, you should do this, or, oh, you should do this. And I have always had a mind of, actually, I know what I want and I’m going to do this, and I’m just going to do only what I want. I know who I am if people, because it’s hard on the internet and sometimes things perform well. So if I had continued to talk about my life, I think that probably would’ve performed well back when I was blogging, but I made the decision to just stop doing

Michael Jamin:
That. But you’re right, if something’s controversial, I try to steer away from controversy. I feel like I’m just here to talk about art and entertainment and writing and Hollywood, but I also know if I took a bigger stand on things and pissed people off, it would go viral. But then what’s the point of this? I don’t know.

Taylor Lorenz:
Then you get all these haters. I’ve written a lot of political stories that have to do with the content creator world and the political ecosystem, and so those are some of my most viral stories. But I have to say, it just gets you a lot of people that then follow you. They feel like, oh yeah, she’s on our side on this, or whatever, or, oh, I hate her. She wrote about this content creator that. So I think it’s just better to just be true to yourself. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
Though I did a post couple, maybe when I first started off and it went, somehow Yahoo picked up on it and I was on Yahoo Entertainment News. My first reaction was, oh no. You know what I’m saying? Oh no. People know about me. It felt wrong. I don’t know. I was like, I don’t want people knowing about me.

Taylor Lorenz:
I know. It feels really, I mean, I’ve struggled with that a lot, and I actually really like being in LA for this reason. I was thinking just the past few years, more and more people start to know who you are and start writing about you, and that is such a mind fuck. I used to really believe, oh, every journalist is so great and they only have the best interests at heart of, and that is just not true. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of places that just aggregate things for clicks and whatever, or they’re very partisan in certain ways, and yeah, it’s very hard. I used to run around trying to correct people. I tried to correct my own Wikipedia page, and then now I’m like, I gave up on all of that. I don’t care.

Michael Jamin:
See, that’s something I still frightens me a little bit is when people will stitch me or they’ll make me the face of whatever argument they want. I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Keep me out of it. I never said any of this. I didn’t sign up for that. This is your thing. I know that frightens me a little bit,

Taylor Lorenz:
I think, because everybody uses each other as characters online, and so it’s like you’re the main character. Then you just use all these other people around you as supporting characters and whatever you’re trying to do on the internet,

Michael Jamin:
I think

Taylor Lorenz:
Really, but

Michael Jamin:
Well, that’s what scared me about what you wrote in your book, but those people who just, they’re whatever, they gossip about other tiktoks like, whoa, whoa, whoa. This just feels so wrong to me. Just do your own thing.

Taylor Lorenz:
I know.

Michael Jamin:
Don’t try to cancel me. What are you doing?

Taylor Lorenz:
I know my first job in media was at the Daily Mail, and it was such a great training ground for media because tabloid news is just so relentless, and just the way it operates is so different than the type of media that I work in now. And I think it is very similar to TikTok in the way that they just create these universes of characters and they just use people to kind of like, oh, so-and-so was spotted with so-and-so and so that means X, Y, Z, and it’s just all these narratives that keep people interested, but I just

Michael Jamin:
Don’t, I don’t know how you are healthy, but honestly, this is kind of my biggest fear. Leave me out of your drama. I don’t want to be, but you’re fine. Screw it.

Taylor Lorenz:
I don’t care. I think I don’t mind because at the end of the day, it affects me. I mean, it’s affected my life a lot. I’ve gotten a lot of online hate, and it’s really been crazy to deal with. But I will say they’ve done pretty much everything that could happen to me has happened to me, and it’s a little bit freeing, like, okay, it wasn’t that bad, so whatever.

Michael Jamin:
I followed some creators who were doxxed and people my age and they lost their jobs.

Taylor Lorenz:
So this is what’s terrifying, and I always say this, I was telling a friend who left the New York Times recently too. It’s like I was never my parents, even when my family was getting harassed and all this horrible stuff was happening, my parents living in the middle of the country, they’re like, whatever. They don’t even have the internet, so they don’t care. But what I was always scared of is like, oh my God, my employer is my employer going to understand. And so I had to have a lot of conversations with the Post when I joined. Everywhere I work, I’m like, okay, so I cover the craziest parts of the internet, and almost every story I write pisses someone off or a fandom off or whatever, or a political faction off. And so are you prepared to get thousands of letters or campaigns and people make nonstop YouTube videos? It’s a lot of attention. And

Michael Jamin:
You’re telling this to your employer, the human resources, or

Taylor Lorenz:
Before I ever accept a job, I’m like, okay, this is what comes with the beat.

Michael Jamin:
And do you think they understand this?

Taylor Lorenz:
No, I mean, it’s a learning curve. The posts fucked up a little bit. They were responding directly to these really bad YouTubers right after I first started, and I was like, don’t respond to the YouTuber. If you respond to the YouTubers, now they’re making videos. Oh, look, we got to the Post. We’ve got to change the article. I’m like, no, just ignore. Just the more you think that

Michael Jamin:
Stuff. That’s right.

Taylor Lorenz:
But a lot of people have jobs that don’t understand, and suddenly they’re flooded with calls or flooded with bad reviews, and so I get it. They don’t, and so they just think, oh, okay, I’ll just fire the person. And that’s so horrifying.

Michael Jamin:
I made a post about this just a couple of days ago where I said, it allows these people on the fringe to be in the conversation, and if I’m tearing down now I’m part of Hollywood because I’m tearing it down. So you’re building and I’m tearing down,

Taylor Lorenz:
And then you’re the person. You’re the famous person that got so-and-so canceled, and now you’re getting all the, I know. It’s really toxic.

Michael Jamin:
I feel in some way, okay, so I have this platform. This is a therapy session. You’re going to help me. I have this platform where I have a voice where I can talk about things, but in some ways I don’t. I, because I can’t respond. In some ways it’s, it’s not even the right word. The word impotent, almost like I can’t respond to them. They can hurl insults at me, but I have to shut up and take it.

Taylor Lorenz:
It’s so frustrating. And Michael, I empathize so much. I tell you, I used to run around. I used to respond to everything. I used to try to get articles corrected. I’d be like, that’s not true. Here’s all the, and nothing even that controversial thank, I don’t do anything crazy, but it’s just the internet and it’s a losing game. And so you just have to accept that you don’t control the narrative about yourself online. And this is something that big Hollywood people have, and I kind of write about this in my book, have always had to deal with, I mean, when you’re really famous, you do lose that. You don’t control the story of your life anymore really in the public eye. But now we all have to deal with it. Anybody with a following has to deal with that pretty much. And it’s hard to go through.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, it’s so interesting. Yeah, it’s exactly right. I was going to say something then I lost my train of thought because you got me. No, no. I got so distracted by like, oh, I got lost in my own tunnel of insecurity.

Taylor Lorenz:
It’s hard. It’s so hard to deal with, and you want to be like, you got me all wrong.

Michael Jamin:
But that’s why I don’t respond even too positive. I spun a little bit, but when someone says something nice, I feel like I don’t want to blow ’em off. But I also feel like, am I going into this? I don’t know if I respond to everyone or respond to no one, what’s the right thing to do?

Taylor Lorenz:
I mean, look, I make content out of some of my replies. I think it’s great to engage people sometimes, especially sometimes when there’s a lot of consistent hate around specific things. A lot of things that what people say to me is, I’m too old to be writing about technology, which is funny because I’m a woman in my thirties.

Michael Jamin:
You’re too old. I don’t, I’m too old to

Taylor Lorenz:
TikTok. And by the way, let’s not talk about all the men in their sixties that are writing books about Elon Musk and whatever. It’s so silly. I’m, myself and Joanna Stern are actually the youngest tech columnist in the entire industry, period. Women. So obviously it’s ridiculous, but I responded. I made a TikTok a while ago. I’ve made a couple of tiktoks being like, okay, look at the misogyny of this comment and what women tech reporters and women in tech have to deal with, and this thinking of women. There’s no right. We age to be a woman. And I pulled up some stuff because when I was in my twenties, people would be like, oh, she’s silly. She’s too young to cover this industry. It’s serious. And so there’s things like that that you can respond to and just sort of shine a light on. And sometimes I’ve seen you do a good job, Michael, when people say something mean, and then you give a very thoughtful answer actually to whatever they said,

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, but that’s not my first reaction. My first reaction is actually a lot funnier and a lot meaner.

Taylor Lorenz:
Just you have to remember, it’s a lot of children.

Michael Jamin:
That’s the thing. It’s a lot of children or I’m sometimes thinking, well, or it could be someone with mental instability or whatever they’ve got going on. And so you can’t even call ’em out for that because then someone can say, Hey, that person has whatever. And then you’re like, then you’re the villain. Yeah, then

Taylor Lorenz:
You’re the villain. I know. I just think, oh, they’re probably having the worst day ever. Or they’re just a hateful person. And another thing I would say for everyone to understand early on the internet, and I think actually in any creative profession is just like, you are never going to be for everyone, and

Michael Jamin:
It’s

Taylor Lorenz:
Totally fine. You are going to have people that hate your work, and that’s totally fine. That doesn’t mean anything about you. Just the way, I hate some stuff that’s so popular. That’s amazing. Beloved, by all. I’m like, oh, I don’t like that that much. That’s totally fine. And so sometimes people hate something, and I’m like, that’s okay. It’s not for you. It’s

Michael Jamin:
Not for you. I feel like you’re maybe in your thirties, but I feel like you’re exceptionally mature because Yeah, you’re walking me through this. I’ve been

Taylor Lorenz:
Through the ringer a lot.

Michael Jamin:
Have you been though? I mean, yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
I’ve been through some crazy stuff on the internet,

Michael Jamin:
But it dies off, you’re saying?

Taylor Lorenz:
I think people have the memory of a goldfish, and it gets hard. Like I said, the hardest stuff was the political, especially when Tucker Carlson was on the era. He kept doing so many segments about me and stuff. Oh,

Michael Jamin:
Really? I didn’t know that.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. Oh my God, that was like a whole era. He was doing all these segments on me all the time, and his fans were so angry, and every day, all my social profiles were swarmed with his fans. And guess what? Now he lost his TV show, and I feel very vindicated because Wow.

Michael Jamin:
Wow.

Taylor Lorenz:
But I just never responded, ever.

Michael Jamin:
You never, that’s so interesting. Yeah, there was this guy, oh my God, I’ll say this on a wrap, but there’s this on TikTok, there’s this, he was a showrunner. He has a show or had a show, I dunno if it’s still on popular, but every time I’d make a post, what’s the word? He’d be a contrarian, give his contrarian opinion under my, this is twice, two times. And I just rolled my eyes. I didn’t respond to him at all. I was like, whatever, dude, get your own. Stop trying to take my clout. He’s

Taylor Lorenz:
Clout chasing you. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
He’s clout chasing, right? So I just ignore him. And the third time he says, similar thing. And I just said, all right, I’m done with this guy. Just blocked him. I never had any engagement, just blocked this guy. And then I found out he’s badmouthed me on his podcast. I’m like, dude, what? I don’t even know you.

Taylor Lorenz:
He’s out for you. There’s so many people like that. It’s so crazy. I mean people, but I think a lot of it is also jealousy. And I mean, I think you do a good job of this too, but I’ve had people get a little bit snippy to me, or they’re like, oh, and is she a professional journalist on TikTok all day? And it’s like, yeah, when I had my Snapchat show, people were also really mean about that. And they were like, oh, she does her silly Snapchat. And I’m on cnn, so I’m a real journalist. And she’s on,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, really? The other journal are coming after you.

Taylor Lorenz:
So mean, and I always was like, Hey, there’s room for all of us and just guys, it’s not that deep. I’m not competing with you. Also, you should come try Snapchat. It’s actually pretty great. There might give you a show.

Michael Jamin:
Was it men or women that were coming after you? A

Taylor Lorenz:
Lot of men, but I’ve had other women. I mean, it’s weird. I think people get competitive and they feel there’s so much FOMO on the internet and you see someone that’s kind of adjacent in your career succeeding. And so I think it’s everyone that I looked up to that could have been like that maybe to me, I’m sure I annoyed Katie to topless a million times when I was younger, like, oh my God. But I was more like fangirling. But everyone was so gracious to me, actually. And I always remembered that. And I feel like I try to do that, even if people are a little bit mean, if they’re less successful or they’re not there, they’re just starting out. It’s like sometimes they’re just trying to put a stake in the ground and you just have to not take it personally.

Michael Jamin:
Oh wow. Well, okay, okay. I mean, because I do feel that it’s different. I mean, it is way different for women on the internet because a guy can come out and start hitting on you. It’s not just meant to be creepy.

Taylor Lorenz:
People are crazy online men and women. But yeah, anytime you have an audience, people are going to come for you and yeah, it’s funny when people trash talk you, I’ve had that too, where I think I muted someone because they kept replying to my post. They were just replying a lot. I was sick of getting the notifications. And that person also went on a podcast, was like, can Taylor Lorenzo ignores her fans? And I was like, you reply to, there’s no way I could reply to everything.

Michael Jamin:
You, yeah. So people are not, yeah,

Taylor Lorenz:
But that’s just reading into it.

Michael Jamin:
But that’s why. All right, well, I think this is a good segue. So, I mean, because a lot of this stuff in your book, I, let’s plug it one more time, extremely online, the untold story of fame, influence and power on the internet by Taylor Lorenz. If you are interested in doing this, if you’re interested in making your claim in social media, TikTok, Instagram, whatever, I think it’s really helpful to understand a little bit of the history and to understand some of the pitfalls. You certainly outline them. I dunno. I think it’s a very helpful book for people who I don’t know, who are at all interested in playing this game, the pros and the cons. So right now, get her book. Yeah. And very well written, by the way. Good for you. Thank you. Oh my

Taylor Lorenz:
So much. There’s no editing with books.

Michael Jamin:
What do you mean? There’s no editing?

Taylor Lorenz:
They don’t line edit books.

Michael Jamin:
What do you mean they don’t? What do you mean? If someone’s looking at it?

Taylor Lorenz:
No, they copy edit maybe to make sure you don’t spell anything wrong, but they don’t line edit it. They don’t rewrite your sentences or,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay.

Taylor Lorenz:
Change the structure or anything like that.

Michael Jamin:
They do that in magazine art in your articles rather.

Taylor Lorenz:
Yes. My editor will rewrite things for me all the time. Like this could be stronger work on this lead book, I think because it’s so much, it would probably take so long to go through those edits. But I love my editor as Simon and Schuster, but it was scary. I was like, can you read this again? I actually want more.

Michael Jamin:
Oh really? Oh really? See, it was so fascinating. Well, I thought it was a great read. So thank you. Very easy to read. Taylor, thank you so much for having this chat with me. I’m a big fan of all your posts, so it was nice to finally meet you. And maybe we’ll go to VidCon together and Yes, and boo people, let ’em have it.

Taylor Lorenz:
Respond to the haters.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, well become haters. That’s what we’ll do. Oh

Taylor Lorenz:
Yeah. We’ll be the trolls on.

Michael Jamin:
Maybe there might be something to it. It might be fun. But alright, well thank you so much. And don’t go anywhere. Don’t grow. Thank you. As I wrap it up. All right everyone, another great talk. Go follower Taylor. By the way, let’s get your social media profiles on Instagram and TikTok. What are

Taylor Lorenz:
They again? I’m just at Taylor Lorenz on every single social platform, so that

Michael Jamin:
Makes sense. You’re the only one. You’re the only one. Alright, go follower. It’s great stuff. Alright everyone, thank you so much. Another interesting talk. We got more people lined up, so keep following me. Until then, keep creating.
So now we all know what the hell Michael Jamin is talking about. If you’re interested in learning more about writing, make sure you register for my free monthly webinars @michaeljamin.com/webinar. And if you found this podcast helpful or entertaining, please share it with a friend and consider leaving us a five star review on iTunes that really, really helps. For more of this, whatever the hell this is, follow Michael Jamin on social media @MichaelJaminwriter. And you can follow Phil Hudson on social media @PhilaHudson. This podcast was produced by Phil Hudson. It was edited by Dallas Crane and music was composed by Anthony Rizzo. And remember, you can have excuses or you can have a creative life, but you can’t have both. See you next week.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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