Monday, May 3, 2010

40 bloggers who really count

Times Online

Meet the online writers, stars and commentators that everybody's talking about

From left: Jezebel's editor-in-chief, Anna Holmes, with colleagues Jennifer Gerson and Maureen Ikacik
(Nikola Tamindzic, ILOVENIKOLA.COM)
From left: Jezebel's editor-in-chief, Anna Holmes, with colleagues Jennifer Gerson and Maureen Ikacik


David Byrne
Few professionals in the arts maintain a blog as lovingly as David Byrne, or post at such length about topics of genuine interest (one recent entry, on the recontextualisation of performance art, breaks the 6,000-word mark). Given that Byrne is most famous for his work with Talking Heads, one might expect music to be the order of the day, but he writes just as searchingly about art and film, photography and opera, buildings and food. A treat.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwynnie's lifestyle blog is easy to deride. Yes, it's a chance for her to show off the breadth of her cultural experience while encouraging the humble reader to "nourish your inner aspect", but it does provide some rather useful tips, not to mention opportunities for celeb-spotting. Her friends Steven, Christy and Sofia, whom she taps for book and movie tips, are Spielberg, Turlington and Coppola respectively.


Justin Halpern
Move back in with your parents, commit your 74-year-old father's obscenity-strewn wisdoms to text, post them on Twitter and, if you're Justin Halpern, end up with 1,288,000 followers, a book deal and a show on CBS. Halpern started after he moved home from LA to San Diego last year. "You look just like Stephen Hawking… Relax, I meant like a non-paralysed version of him. Feel better? Fine. Forget I said it."


Anna Holmes
Being in charge of the sharpest, snarkiest, most popular women's blog around sounds as if it should be a lot of fun. Anna Holmes pauses and chooses her words.

"It's not not fun," says the editor-in-chief of Jezebel, which launched in May 2007 and today attracts almost ten million hits a month. "But it's more like the blog is a baby, and it has to be tended to at all times. And the baby might grow up a bit, but it's never going to get past the age of 2 or 3 in terms of how much it demands of you."

From the spare room of her New York apartment, Holmes oversees blogging on a near-industrial scale as she commissions a team of writers who churn out a new post every 10 minutes for almost 12 hours a day, addressing anything from urinary tract infection vaccines, via dating and stupid celebrities, to the evils of glossy women's magazines' airbrushed covers. Typically, a working day will stretch to 11 or 12 hours at her computer.

"I don't want to say it's ruined my life – I don't want to put it that way. But it's reconfigured it in a way that's probably extremely unhealthy. A social life? Nah, I don't have one," she chuckles. "That's the problem with the internet: it's always on."

Julie Zeilinger
The town of Pepper Pike, Ohio, doesn't sound a hotbed of feisty young feminist thought. And prior to the F Bomb, it wasn't. The 16-year-old Zeilinger created her blog to address topics ranging from pubic hair to Twilight; to keep the content teen-focused, she's even said she'll pass control to someone younger when she hits 20.

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