I think it’s great that the site was finally given a major update, recently. But I wonder what effect the media sharing buttons at the bottom of the articles will have on the pieces that are submitted there, now? Will a popularity contest dynamic come into play? To some degree– even if only subconsciously– yes, I believe, of course it will. But I don’t think it will be a bad thing. All in all, I think the main effect it’ll have for them is strictly the intended one: it’ll nicely boost traffic– McSweeney’s integrity well intact.
I think that, for the writer-type, having 4 Facebook shares on a piece at McSweeney’s compared to, say, Jesse Eisenberg’s (a purposely loaded and generic example) 10,000 shares on that one piece the other month, just means: “so, only 4 people in the world really get it. Their problem, not mine.”
I have to say, the pieces that make me most jealous on McSweeney’s are the really personal little pieces that people manage to get published, the ones that are not at all “pandering to the masses.” This Open Letter To An Entity is a perfect example.
It’s like she just sat down one morning, knocked out a one-thousand word humor piece about what happened to her the night before (simply involving her lack of sports skills) and it just turned out to be this thoroughly hilarious, irresistibly charming, gracefully self-deprecatory genuine little ruby.
Also, the Snake Fighting Portion Of Your Thesis Defense makes me jealous. And The Killer Clown Consortium Price Guide.
EDIT: And A Professor’s Introduction To Intermediate Shark Cinema Studies. And True Blue: Lie Detecting Software.
And Toto’s Africa: By Ernest Hemingway.