I honestly didn’t see anything very interesting online this week, which is largely my own fault because I spent the past few days staring at my inbox for reasons I won’t get into. You ever have a “Stare-at-Inbox Week”? Really puts into perspective how much junk I’m subscribed to. Internet culture used to just be hitting this button in Outlook every five minutes, hoping for something.
Anyway, I’m gonna put the “Elsewhere…” section right up top this week, and then, after that, stay tuned for an opportunity of debatable excitingness.
the ai dril has become self-aware
guy fixed a tv
i saw a bunch of people (actually, maybe 3 or so) get annoyed at this piece wondering how Clubhouse — an audio-conversation app that is built on the concept of “conference calls from hell” — is possibly going to prevent rampant misinformation. and yeah, the constant worry about lies on the internet is annoying. but i generally think anyone in the business of trying to growth-hack their way to made-up bazillion-dollar valuations via a platform that does algorithmic recommendations for what groups users should join should have to articulate how they’ll address (or won’t address) platform toxicity sooner rather than later
Call For Submissions
The end of April will mark one year of BNet. I think you know where I stand on the issues, and I’m sure you’re bored as well, and I would like to take a break — but because people pay for this dang thing, I feel like I’m scamming people if I do that. So my plan for the month of May is, hopefully, to turn BNet over to some other people.
There are 8 Tuesday and Fridays in May and I’d like to fill those slots with some new voices. BNet is not a large platform and I try not to look at the analytics/subscriber list too closely because it honestly feels creepy, but I get the sense that it is read by other people. So maybe it can be a helpful stepping stone. At the very least, BNet is committed to casting a spotlight dumb, silly web ephemera and I’d like to offer a chance for other people to write about internet junk.
Here’s a brief list of things that might be a fit for BNet:
Trending Topics/memes- basically, identify a behavior or content trend that isn’t just a meme people are participating in, and explain why it might be. optionally, look at how the technical structure/toolset of an app encourages the creation of certain types of posts (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
an internet thing you love that nobody else knows about- (examples: 1)
the internet outside America- it should be pretty clear that I hang out on the mainstream American version of the internet, but I suspect there are other cultures and users who harness the internet in other ways and I’m interested in that too (examples: none, because of what I just said)
I’m not looking for anything in particular, but I’m naturally drawn to the above topics. On the flip side…
The Danger Zone. Here’s a list of things you might want avoid unless you’re hella confident:
singular meme explainers/thinkpieces- not really interested in your thoughts on one single meme, plus you’re pitching this weeks in advance so there’s no point in trying to be zeitgeist-y
These Memes Reflect Our Yearning For Escapism, or Need For Connection, or Our Collective Despair, In These Times- boring!!!!!!!!!!
People Are Talking About [X] Online- for decades, people have been using the internet to find people who share similar interests and connect with them. the mere existence of chatter is not in and of itself a story
The Kids Are (or are not) Alright- i do not really care about what certain age groups are up to and generalizing broad swaths of the population often leads to lackluster internet culture coverage
misinformation/disinformation/”I found some lies online”- too many people write about this already
The Fine Print section:
Ownership- I’m not drawing up paperwork. Here’s the deal: You own your work entirely. You also grant BNet a perpetual license to host it here on Substack (or whatever service BNet may migrate to in the future) and to blast it out over email one time. That’s it.
Payment- I’m gonna split whatever the subscriber revenue for May is equally between all the contributors. Currently, I think BNet brings in somewhere around $800/month, so you’d get at least a hundred bucks. In fact, I will commit to paying each contributor at least $100, even if all of my subscribers drop out suddenly. (I’ll just Venmo you! If the IRS comes after me, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.) I realize this is not a lot of money, but at the same time I’m also committing BNet’s entire monthly revenue to this project. It’s up to you. This brings me to…
Who should pitch- If you are someone who would classify themselves as a professional writer, however you want to define that, I’ll politely suggest that you sit this one out. The pay is, as I’ve admitted, not great, and I’d rather give slots to those who do not have much writing experience and are interested in covering internet culture.
What to pitch-
The timeline- Send an idea by March 12. I’ll read through them and get back to you by the end of March. Then we’ll figure out a schedule for doing draft/feedback/edits by the end of April.