Introducing the Knack Factory podcast series

I try not hawk my own wares here, but my company [Knack Factory] just launched its new website, part of which is a podcast series I:

… talk with artists, activists, politicians and professionals about their work, their passion, and their lives online.

I was fortunate to chat with Heidi Moore [podcast] of The Guardian US and Johanna Fateman [podcast] of the band Le Tigre. These are some of my favorite quotes.


The whole way that newsrooms work, I feel, has been changed by the way the Internet works right now. Before you would go into the newsroom and if it was a relatively prestigious place, it was very ivory tower. There were editors who were all knowing, and every day they would have a morning meeting on which they would inscribe the stone tablets that they would hand down to the reporters and the people about what was going to be the most important news that day. Now you don’t need the editor as the reader proxy. You have readers right in front of you if you can access them, if you know how to talk with them like on Twitter or commenters on your website. All of a sudden you have this unfiltered firehouse of what questions people are really asking. That has been uncomfortable for a lot of people who are used to the old, very rigid, almost authoritarian regimes of now newsrooms used to work, and it can be exciting if you are good at engaging with people and it can be tortured if you’re not.

By the way, every single social media thing I have done ever, I have been incredibly skeptical about and almost hateful about from the beginning.


Weirdly, Twitter is a good form for me. I like the limited characters. I like the ADD format of it. I feel like I can be absurdist, I can say something important, I can link to something I am doing and somehow it all feels okay to mix it up in Twitter. I don’t have to stick to one voice or one purpose. Sometimes I do the Twitter for my old band Le Tigre and I feel like it’s necessary for doing anything right now to periodically link to how to buy my DVD, how to download my song, how to read my essay. You kind of have to do that, I think that people expect that from you if they’re putting out your DVD. I feel like part of it is a job, part of it is really fun.

I do think I thought it was weird at first. Because previously, at least with Le Tigre when we had promoted something, we were relatively inaccessible. We had a band email account, but there wasn’t even MySpace when we were active as a band. We were touring, but it’s not like we were active in a dialogue with people except for at shows. The idea of dealing with people’s comments continuously was like, Oh, wow. This is a more porous reality. You can’t pretend you don’t know people’s reactions. you can’t pretend that your fans aren’t there.

There is a recklessness about it for sure. I am certainly not innocent, first of all because I was totally that 19-year-old who if I had that access to social media I would have been blocked by everyone in the world. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but I do have an aversion to it probably because I see the potentials of my young self let loose on Twitter or Tumblr.

Please check out the whole episodes here.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.