How many tabs do you have open in your browser? If you’re an Internet junkie like some of us, the answer is somewhere between More than you’d like to admit and More than you can possibly imagine. So we’re asking Slate staffers for a peek at what they’ve got open right this minute. The rules: no advance warning, no secrets, and no hurriedly closing the cat videos and opening the Economist. This round: the culture team.
Laura Bennett, senior editor: If this screen had been grabbed 30 seconds beforehand, I would not have been Googling Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Alas, I was. I was editing a Willa Paskin piece that mentioned him, and I couldn’t remember how many S’s and A’s were in his name—but I also wanted to see how his face is looking these days. (Pretty good.) The rest of my tabs reveal that I read Slate (in this case, our very cool interactive “the United Slang of America”), was about to read a Dwight Garner essay on Greil Marcus, was planning some fall TV and books coverage via GalleyCat and Sidereel, and participated in a discussion among Slate editors about whether the headline on this Robert Draper piece in the New York Times Magazine, “Between Iraq and a Hawk Base,” was impressive or lame. And then there’s Clickhole’s “Aww! These Photos of Animals With Their Children Are Going to Melt Your Hand,” which is just as weird and great as it sounds.
Forrest Wickman, senior editor: The best part of writing about culture is that watching a video like “Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (Goat Edition)” is part of your daily responsibilities. Or maybe the best part is that even if watching that wasn’t for work, no one would know any better. In this case, it was for work (I was looking for inspiration for this masterpiece), and so are nearly all my other tabs. But how would you know the difference?
To briefly explain the rest, the biggest portion (10 tabs) are candidates for articles we might reprint from New York as part of our partnership with them. Others are documentaries I’ve been thinking about watching, like this one about Elliott Smith or this one about Lil Wayne, both of which I’ve heard are pretty good. The rest are fairly standard (email, Twitter, articles I’ve been thinking about responding to), but the most important tab here is actually not a tab: It’s TooManyTabs for Chrome, a plugin without which I would have open a lot more tabs than just 27.
Aisha Harris, staff writer: I was treating myself to some very important research on Aziz Ansari’s character from Parks and Recreation when I was commanded to snap a pic of my screen. As you can probably see from the rest of my tabs, I go a bit crazy with them. Can you make out what some of those websites are based on those adorable miniscule icons? You’ll probably spy Gmail and Facebook, of course, but I’ve also got Vanity Fair (Do better, Walking Dead franchise!), Time (Do better, How I Met Your Mother!), and no fewer than two IMDb pages open. Maybe you can now guess my research topic, for an undisclosed future article, and you’re probably right. The rest of my tabs are a potpourri of informational and enjoyable pursuits: A Cosmo article about vagina massages, which, despite the titillating subject matter, I have yet to read after having it open for the past two days; the Wall of Sound Songza channel; Slate (duh); and Twitter.
Laura Bradley, editorial assistant: Yeah—as you might have guessed, I’m also a zero-inbox kind of gal. Maybe I’d just finished a story and closed all the related tabs when I was told to step away from my laptop for the tab roulette ambush. Or maybe I’m just the ultimate office Slacker. In any event, this screengrab proves that Slack was literally the only window open on my computer. Although it appears I am bombarding L.V. Anderson with unsolicited images of T-Pain and Sesame Street, I was actually just sending her stills for Twitter to promote two articles I'd filed.
Claire Landsbaum, culture intern: “This is so … not much,” says Forrest, and he’s right—unless I’m researching something specific or I’ve clicked on an article, most of my day happens on the Slack, Tweetdeck, and Mail apps. Here I’d just gotten the email about Friday’s culture meeting (my first), so I wanted to have some workable ideas ready. I’ve been reading a lot about Noelle Stevenson, a 23-year-old indie comics writer and illustrator, so here I am researching some of her projects. Yes, it’s work-related. But have you seen her drawings? They’re adorable.
L.V. Anderson, associate editor: I was tab-ambushed about 30 minutes after I’d returned to my computer following an afternoon of reporting, so keep in mind that this screenshot reflects my attempt to catch up on an entire day’s worth of news. That’s my excuse, anyway. I almost always have three tabs open—Gmail (tab 1), Twitter (tab 2), and the Slate home page (tab 10)—and I also spend lots of time on Feedly (tab 13), which is a good resource for finding culture news, and Chartbeat (tab 11), which shows how much traffic Slate stories are getting in real time. Lamely, I also often have two Google spreadsheets open: one for tracking how much content I’m producing per month (tab 14), the other for remembering which freelance stories I have in the editing pipeline (tab 15).
Most of the rest of the tabs shown here are stories I found via Twitter. They are: a bunch of Slate stories about, respectively, Kim Davis’ arrest (tab 4), the Syrian refugee crisis (tab 5), the new Star Wars droid toy (tab 7), the “1 in 5” statistic about sexual assault on college campuses (tab 8), and an old Brow Beat post about a super-sexist video game featuring Kanye West (tab 12). I had looked up that last post for ammunition in a heated debate among Slate staffers about how much criticism Kanye deserves, which was sparked by this blog post by Melissa Beck about why she’s over Kanye (tab 16). You’ll also find two Awl posts (one about WeWork [tab 6], one about bad typing [tab 18]); one New York Times Magazine story about blue-collar shirts by Slate’s own Gentleman Scholar, Troy Patterson (tab 3); a McSweeney’s post that I’ll probably never read (tab 9); and a Gawker post about a fish ejaculating on President Obama (tab 19). My saddest tab is a search in Slack’s help center (tab 17). Slack is the chatting service we use internally at Slate, and I was trying to figure out how I could mute channels so I would be less susceptible to distraction by things like heated debates about Kanye West. Obviously, my battle against distraction is … ongoing.