December 21, 2009

Geeks Gone Gossip

Culture, Interview, web 2 Comments

lalawhat2

“I grew up in Palo Alto and when I discovered this L.A. tech world I couldn’t believe how different it was than the area where I grew up,” Julia Angwin, author of Stealing MySpace, told the LA Weekly at South by Southwest: Interactive in March of this year.

“In Palo Alto everyone is smart; they all went to Harvard and had some brilliant idea,” Angwin said. “In Hollywood, in L.A., these guys were totally scrappy–they would do anything to make money and they were marketing geniuses so it’s a totally different world filled with clubbing and hanging out in Santa Monica and pornstars.”

It’s true, L.A. tech has something of a reputation. After a few years of wrestling with it, trying to build our cred, I think it’s time we stopped apologizing. A lot of interesting tech offerings are coming out of Los Angeles, not to mention incredible content. So we like to look pretty and we like chic clubs and pornstars and rockstars and bubbly and fun as much as gossip about Google’s latest acquisition. So we’ll put a red carpet at a BBQ truck. Deal with it.

Nothing illustrates this attitude more clearly than @LaLaWhat, a Twitter user that reports on the unprofessional aspect of some of Los Angeles’ most active tech scenesters. Not to be confused with lalawag, Los Angeles’ favorite tech blog, @LaLaWhat is simply a Twitter account that reports in the refreshing and eternally juvenile style of Gossip Girl.

I fired off a set of questions to the anonymous tweeps last night for your reading pleasure.

How did you come up with the idea?

We were enjoying just enjoying ourselves when we noticed L.A. all a’twitter with some interesting news. We thought–what a shame it was to have that lovely gossip to broken up, hidden in subtext, and forgotten, and since the lovely Lalawag was taking a decidedly more journalistic approach, we decided to have a little fun!

How do you get your information?

It’s quite simple. We have our “agents” who can post directly and anonymously, and then we have all of you whom we follow who lovingly DM us about all the debauchery. We only post details from those we trust and from those we can verify.

Are there tips you get DMd that you just can’t share because they’re so scandalous?

We like to think there are unspoken rules among us. Let’s just say that the truly damaging secrets we keep to ourselves. We’re not here to hurt anyone, we just like to keep things interesting. After all, its the private things that bind us.

Who would ever want to be Valleywag? We don’t have any “clear cut rules” though, with the exception being not to tweet anything that is truly damaging. Like @TheMan [Editor's note: Francisco Dao, organizer of the Los Angeles tech conference Twiistup] once said, the scene can be “a whole lot like high school” but high school isn’t real life.

We know a few of you have gotten a bit upset about a certain tweet or two. Most of those times, it was because of a slight misinterpretation or assumption based on our tweets. Each time, we tweeted a clarification.

We want you to enjoy the gossip and continue to send us tips, and we know you won’t do that if you didn’t enjoy it. We are your guilty pleasure. We want to know all the little things you couldn’t tweet, but you know you really wanted to. We have our own ways of hearing about your thrilling little secrets. For example AV, we hear you’ve been having quite the passionate ride, and this time we don’t just mean in bed.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. Anyway… how do you classify who’s fodder-worthy to the community?

You should only gossip about those you know. No one is just fodder, we love each and every one of you we gossip about. After all it’s all in good fun. Choosing really depends on the juicy details, sometimes even the cute little quiet ones, lingering in the background, are the most interesting.

“So there AV, for your infinite perusal, are our answers to your intimate questions,” they wrote in closing. “So until the next time you sneak out for a cross-country midnight rendezvous…”

I still have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

Deny, deny, deny.

But can you deny this kind of fun? Didn’t think so.

(Not involved but curious? Hit up lalawag’s event page to see what tech-related events are happening in Los Angeles this week. There’s always something going on somewhere. But be warned… no matter who you are, there will be tweeting.)

Image from @LaLaWhat’s Twitter page.

AV Flox

Your humble editrix-in-command.

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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

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