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Are You 'Extremely Online'? The Rise of Social Media with Taylor Lorenz

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Our guest Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post and author of the new book Extremely Online shares the truth about the evolution and influence of social media platforms.

Are You "Extremely Online'? The Rise of Social Media with Taylor Lorenz; extremely online, social media

Discover shocking secrets behind the evolution of social media platforms and their impact on society. From the rise of the American dream to the lack of labor protections, this episode will leave you questioning the glossy facade of online success.

Dive into our enlightening discussion with Taylor Lorenz. Taylor brings an impressive media repertoire. As a technology columnist for The Washington Post, Taylor's grasp of online culture is profound. Her acclaimed journalistic background also includes work for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. As a legitimate voice in the social media realm, Taylor was featured in Fortune's 2020 ‘40 under 40’ list, solidifying her influence in media and entertainment.

Her new book, Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet, is available for preorder now and is set for release on October 3rd. Get it from your favorite book retailer.

Key Takeaways from this episode:

  • Explore the profound effect of social media in shaping the modern American dream.

  • Uncover the inherent challenges and inequalities prevalent in the digital industry.

  • Trace the evolutionary journey of various social media platforms and gauge their impact.

  • Live vicariously through Taylor 😉 and her brushes with fame as she goes "extremely online"—check out her social media!

Other things we learned:

  • Taylor does not recommend purchasing the tube hair curling tool for overnight curls as it tends to leave hair looking janky and flat (same, BTW). Foam rollers or finger curls work better for her.

  • Get inspired by online videos and create your own snack basket or organized pantry section for easy access to snacks and food items.

  • Reflect on the evolution of the internet and technology from dial-up internet to smartphones and how it has shaped our lives.

Resources for this episode:

  • Follow Taylor Lorenz on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube for the best updates on what's going on in media and entertainment @TaylorLorenz

  • Check out Taylor Lorenz’s book, Extremely Online, for a deep dive into the history of internet culture and fame

  • Support your favorite influencers and bloggers by checking out their content and engaging with their posts

  • Watch our full interview with Taylor on YouTube!

Evolution and influence of social media platforms as we go 'extremely online'

Social media platforms have significantly evolved over the years. From personalized MySpace pages to the dominance of Facebook and Twitter, these platforms have shaped our society in unprecedented ways. However, their impact is not always positive, with issues like arbitrary content moderation, lack of free speech, and data privacy concerns emerging recently, emphasizing the need for healthier alternatives.

The impact of social media on the modern American dream

With the advent of social media platforms, the American dream has been redefined. Social media influencers present an aura of accessibility and success, giving the impression that anyone can make it big with hard work online. However, the digital landscape also brings its own challenges such as a lack of labor protections and healthcare, complicating the reality of this dream.

Inequalities in the digital industry

Despite the seeming ease of online success, the digital industry perpetuates its own inequalities. Not everyone can make it big online, highlighting a stark contrast between the virtual and real world. These disparities underline the need to address certain shortcomings in the digital realm, such as the absence of labor protections and ease of healthcare accessibility.

Taylor Lorenz; Extremely Online; social media
Taylor Lorenz

About Taylor Lorenz

Taylor is a technology columnist for The Washington Post’s business section covering online culture. Previously, she was a technology reporter for The New York Times business section, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Her writing has appeared in New York magazine, Rolling Stone, Outside magazine, Fast Company, and more. She often appears on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and the BBC.

She was a 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a former affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Taylor was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of leaders in Media and Entertainment in 2020. Adweek included her in their Young Influentials Who Are Shaping Media, Marketing and Tech listing, stating that Taylor “contextualizes the internet as we live it.” In 2022, Town & Country magazine named her to their New Creative Vanguards list of a rising generation of creatives, calling her “The Bob Woodward of the TikTok generation.”

She lives in Los Angeles, and you can follow her @TaylorLorenz on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.


More about Taylor's book, Extremely Online, from publisher Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Acclaimed Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz presents a groundbreaking social history of the internet—revealing how online influence and the creators who amass it have reshaped our world, online and off.

For over a decade, Taylor Lorenz has been the authority on internet culture, documenting its far-reaching effects on all corners of our lives. Her reporting is serious yet entertaining and illuminates deep truths about ourselves and the lives we create online. In her debut book, Extremely Online, she reveals how online influence came to upend the world, demolishing traditional barriers and creating whole new sectors of the economy. Lorenz shows this phenomenon to be one of the most disruptive changes in modern capitalism.

By tracing how the internet has changed what we want and how we go about getting it, Lorenz unearths how social platforms’ power users radically altered our expectations of content, connection, purchasing, and power. Lorenz documents how moms who started blogging were among the first to monetize their personal brands online, how bored teens who began posting selfie videos reinvented fame as we know it, and how young creators on TikTok are leveraging opportunities to opt out of the traditional career pipeline. It’s the real social history of the internet.

Emerging seemingly out of nowhere, these shifts in how we use the internet seem easy to dismiss as fads. However, these social and economic transformations have resulted in a digital dynamic so unappreciated and insurgent that it ultimately created new approaches to work, entertainment, fame, and ambition in the 21st century.

Extremely Online is the inside, untold story of what we have done to the internet, and what it has done to us.

Reviews for Extremely Online

”Readers will learn valuable lessons about…what goes viral and are sure to be blown away when they see the dollar amounts moving through the industry. This socioeconomics docudrama is both fun and terrifying, just like the internet.” —BOOKLIST “This astute debut from Lorenz, a Washington Post technology columnist, traces the tumultuous history of social media from the early 2000s to the present… Lorenz accomplishes the difficult feat of wrangling a cogent narrative out of the unruliness of social media, while offering smart insight into how platforms affect their users... It’s a powerful assessment of how logging on has changed the world.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Many, many thanks to Taylor for giving us her time for this episode.

Show her some love!



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