📝 Notes from Jenn:
I am trying a different format in this first part because I feel too scatterbrained to focus on one thing. Hopefully, one of these topics resonates with you.
🔏 Last week, paid subscribers received a rant on collaborations and influencers, where the word “collaboration” is the new coy way of saying “influencer marketing.”
In the last month alone, I have made five brain dump/anxiety lists. And this is on top of the three pages I handwrite and brain dump in every workday morning.
I use a new page in my everything journal and begin listing everything that I’m worried about. They tend to start like a to-do list and then morph into worries. It doesn’t matter if I already put something on a previous anxiety list; I write it all down (this is also when I notice trends). Ideally, if I woke up and stayed awake because of ruminating thoughts, I could tell myself, “You made a list. It’s on the list.” I have not been able to execute this because either a) the worry is new and didn’t make it onto the list or b) the night I have ruminating thoughts is not the same night I made the list. My issue lately is that I am worrying about things I don’t normally worry about to this extent. It’s as if my brain is saying, “Hey, you had a decent day. Let me counter that with an hour or two of uncontrollable worry.”
When Lyz at (her newsletter at the time had 30k subscribers) wrote that she felt strange about asking people to be in the newsletter, I felt that.
I have to admit, there have been times these past two years when I’ve called people to be interviewed for the newsletter and felt very silly saying, “Can I interview you for my newsletter? It’s called ‘Men Yell at Me’ but it’s not weird or anything, okay just a little weird.”
She sums up why I have been so afraid to write short-form journalism pieces here. Despite having interviewed many people for articles published elsewhere, I have difficulty asking people for their time, especially for a newsletter they don’t know. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been told my emails go into spam, and I don’t know why my domain is being punished. (This is your reminder to check your spam folder often.)
On the one hand, I felt consoled that this journalist with big credentials and a following also felt weird. On the other, it was a horrified realization of “OH MY GOD, does this feeling never go away?” (Not that I think I’ll ever reach her level, but it certainly didn’t make me feel that much better).
In this series of four illustrations, one of my favorite illustrators drew an accurate reflection of my current state of mind:
- balancing selling things with the pandemic, news, legislation, all the stuff
- trying to connect with community but not being up for it
- exhausted by a need for content creation and to market
- enjoying the creative process and feeling uninspired
The state of digital marketing is driving me bonkers. I have not caught up on the TikTok hearing yet, but all the clips I’ve seen reek of sinophobia.
There’s OBN, a person or group of people who make a living off of getting Instagram accounts banned, verified, or unverified. If you have the time, this investigative piece is worth reading.
Jilted lovers, jealous friends and business rivals use his services. OBN wrote that he also targets people for his own amusement, because they insulted a friend or client, or because they offer rival services. After banning an account, he frequently offers to reactivate it for a fee as high as $5,000, kicking off a cycle of bans and reactivations that continues until the victim runs out of money or stops paying.
The proliferation of basically every big company jumping on the AI writing/photography train. One writer wrote a reflection on AI and the American smile. Because the AI used had trained on photos of US people with toothy, wide grins, anyone requesting an AI-generated image of smiling people ended up with the same big smiles.
Seeing the relentless parade of toothy, ahistorical, quintessentially American, “cheese” smiles plastered on the faces of every civilization in the world across time and space was immediately jarring. It was as if the AI had cast 21st century Americans to put on different costumes and play the various cultures of the world. Which, of course, it had.
Levi Strauss & Co. recently announced that instead of sourcing real, alive human models, it would use generated, diverse AI ones. Why spend time on an organizational DEI issue when you can just create the one you want?
The company emphasized that diversity remains a priority and that its efforts extend beyond AI-generated models, although it did not specify what those efforts are.
I am also interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic, so I created a thread for us to discuss it.
👀 interesting reads
- “You Know What? I’m Not Doing This Anymore.” [Slate]: There’s a quiet new crisis brewing in Texas following the abortion ban. It could get much worse.
The inability to provide what they say is the standard of care to pregnant patients is taking a toll, personally and professionally, according to interviews with more than a dozen doctors and nurses across Texas.
- The Family Who Tried to End Racism Through Adoption [The Atlantic]: Bob and Sheryl Guterl saw their family as a kind of “ark for the age of the nuclear bomb” and attempted to gather “two of every race.”