What happens when we care more about the Kardashians and "Real Housewives" than major issues that affect women and society? We become one of the snarky commenters in Jessica Grose's novel, "Sad Desk Salad."
"Sad Desk Salad" is a fast-paced novel about Alex Lyons, a 25-year-old "churnalist" who churns out several blog posts a day for the fictional Chick Habit, a popular women's website.
I recognized Grose's name from her days as a blogger at Jezebel.com and Slate.com, so I was interested to see how she would handle this semi-autobiographical storyline. Basically, the book highlights everything that is wrong with journalists-turned-celebrity-news-bloggers - and how each page click and comment moves the writers up the ladder within this high-stress industry.
The title comes from Alex posting during her site's primetime, when working women eat their "sad desk salads" in their offices or cubicles. (Jeez, way to make me feel even more pathetic eating lunch at my desk!)
Alex has become pretty snarky and moved away from the type of journalism she hoped to do after she graduated from college. To pay her bills and stay relevant in her industry, it means Alex must stay glued to her laptop and cellphone each day, as she scours the web in search of the next big celebrity gossip or scandal. Alex must get more and more clicks on her stories in order to keep her bosses happy - and keep her job.
When an anonymous tipster gives her the story of the year, she decides to post it and deal with the consequences. But at the same time, she's also dealing with the "haters" who negatively comment on her stories and her insecurity about a new blog that slams Chick Habit - and her.
But there also is the disturbing issue about the state of Internet journalism and that is something I think we all should worry about. Regurgitating news articles by adding opinion is not reporting and is not journalism.
Anytime we give these bloggers clicks and likes, we are giving them value. And we all should care more about the crap we fill our brains with - and leave the Kardashians and Housewives alone.