The thing I’ll miss most about Wired is, of course, the thing I’ll miss least about Wired. Because why should I expect anything else?
I started there through nepotism, kind of: Laura Hudson, formerly editor of Comic Alliance, had taken over as culture editor for the website, and we were friends. I suspect the fact that I’d already been writing for places like io9 and Time worked in my favor, too; I had experience working for “mainstream” outlets instead of just the comic press, and I think it was comforting on some level to feel like I wouldn’t be completely inept if given the opportunity to write for something on the scale of Wired. (Just partially inept; I’m still me, after all.)
I must have done something right, because I outlasted Laura, who left editorial after a couple of years, and also the man who replaced her, Peter Rubin. All told, I ended up staying seven years at the site, which feels pretty incredible to me, to be honest. (Not least of which because there was once a point where it felt as if two years was the outer limit of my tenure anywhere.)
I’m leaving because of that most common reason these days: COVID-related cutbacks. Wired’s parent company Condé Nast has been pulling back all across the shop, despite increased readership because there’s no advertising dollars right now, so I knew it was coming even before getting the phone call a month ago, and we left it with a mutual hope that I might be able to do occasional freelance stuff for them in the future — I hope that happens l because I want to continue to be connected to the outlet in some way. It’s been good to me in all manner of ways; I have happy memories there.
As to the thing I’ll miss most and least… Well, the meat of my last few years at the site was While You Were Offline, a weekly column that picked five social media conversations each week and curated them, explained them and tried to put them into some kind of context. It was, in many ways, like a version of Fanboy Rampage!!!, the thing that started my career off in the first place, and it became this strange, welcome primal scream into the void during the Trump era.
It was also a fucker to do every week, eating up hours of my life and changing the way I interacted with the internet and media in general, and to be blunt, now that it’s gone, I’m not quite sure what it’s going to be like without it. I’ll no longer have to go down a research hole for hours every Wednesday and Thursday…! But at the same time, I’ll no longer go down research holes every Wednesday and Thursday…! It feels like a death, in the oddest way, which feels fitting, somehow. That’s how it feels to leave Wired as a regular contributor, as a whole.