Monday, May 16, 2022

Procrasti shopping with NPR .’s youngest podcast host

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Welcome to 24 Hours Online, where we ask an extremely internet-minded person to document a day in their lives while looking at screens.

Last year Emma Eun-joo Choi was an intern on the old NPR radio show Wait Wait… Don’t tell me! Today she is the host of his latest spin-off, Everyone and their mothera short comedy podcast featuring: wait wait panelists and comedians discuss the inescapable subject of du jour. But unlike, say, Peter Sagal, she records episodes from her college dorm at Harvard, where she’s finishing her freshman year.

Being the institution’s very first Gen Z host comes with its hardships; for example, her colleagues have to explain what the most popular new app for schoolchildren is (it is be real), answered Instagram DMs from all her friends’ moms, trying to pay attention in her poetry reading while researching upcoming guests of the show. But Choi grew up with the Internet (she was in seventh grade when Snapchat came out), so multitasking online is practically second nature.

During her 24 Hours Online, she discusses the highly recognizable experience of putting together a wedding-centric Pinterest board despite not wanting to get married anytime soon, and psychoanalyzes her online window shopping habits. Here she is, in her own words:

07:15 am

I wake up accidentally which is annoying. I do the New York Times Spelling Bee puzzle until I get to the “genius” level. The wait wait the staff love it; I didn’t start playing until they started. Then I go back to sleep.

8:50 am

I wake up again and find a few more words about the Spelling Bee to show the NYT who’s boss. I scroll through Twitter and respond to some Instagram DMs. A strange number of mothers of my high school friends have reached out because a Vanity Fair piece about me just came out. Always nice to hear from Carol!

I’m browsing the Lisa Says Gah sale – from basic† – but find nothing. I am always shopping online because I have an unhealthy addiction to buying dresses. I check the Shop app to see if my shirt from ODDLI, this Instagram brand that uses deadstock fabric to make T-shirts with your name on it, is already here. It’s not 🙁

10 hours

There’s a new episode of my show coming up so I’m adding it to my Instagram story and tweeting about it. The atmosphere of the show is like going to a party and there is a corner where a group talks about everything. It’s very chaotic and compact, and great fun.

[ALL DAY]

I’m on Slack. Assume I’m always on Slack. We have a Slack channel called “NPR Spills,” which is just everyone at NPR showing other grown people what they spilled that day, like soup.

11:30

I’m getting ready to write a collection of short stories for my master’s thesis in creative writing. I pitched a collection of horror stories because I enjoy writing genre fiction. There is a lot of research involved, so I read my advisor’s story Threepenny review and reread Allegra Goodman’s “La Vita Nuova”, which is beautiful.

12 o’clock

I screw up my search history because I’m creating a PowerPoint with Peter Sagal for the upfronts (when podcasts showcase their latest work to potential advertisers), which means I have to search for random pictures about, like, “What’s life?” Then I look for whale watching in Boston right now, but apparently it’s not whale season yet.

Before class I watch what Philly Philly Wang Wang which is a Netflix special from a British comedian, then clips from then Conan O’Brien posed as a Civil War reenactor back in the early years. I am a lifelong Conan super fan.

12:30 pm

I watch TikTok as I climb the stairs to my dorm room. I do this to motivate myself to climb the stairs. My For You page features a lot of teenage pregnancies, wedding preparations, and fashion girls buying expensive things and unpacking them. And then there’s the surreal, Vine energy stuff, like a boar runs super fast while Florence and the Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over” plays. I watched it about 10 times.

1:30 PM

I pretend to pay attention in class while doing background research on one of our upcoming guests, astronaut Victor Glover. The professor starts talking about the Marxist theory and so I go to my notes app and type “I don’t remember what we are talking about” and show it to my friend.

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

I’ll be taping for the next few hours, so in between I’ll be idly browsing Pinterest and adding to my home, style, yarn and wedding dress boards. I don’t want to get married soon, but god, I love weddings. I’ve been adding to this Pinterest board since 2012; if you scroll all the way down, it’s the most hideous dresses you’ve ever seen and like, mason jar candles. I’m fascinated by how a wedding dress means so much to a bride – it’s not just a dress, it’s an encapsulation of her personality, her wealth, her social status, and it will be in her photos forever.

Then I browse Net-a-Porter and sort the dresses from most expensive to least. It sounds stupid, but I just love to look at beautiful things; it scratches a very specific itch. I like to imagine the kind of woman who would wear a hideous $12,000 Jacquemus dress.

3.30 pm

Time to get my BeReal! It’s kind of the cool app right now. I think it appeals to my group because it has little commitment – you post a photo in the moment once a day at a specific time – and it connects you with your friends because you can see what everyone is up to. At the same time, there’s still a bit of bragging rights, because when people take the BeReals from each other, you can tell they’re hanging out. For the past week, all my messages have been at Zoom meetings and my friends are saying, “You’re girlbossing too hard.”

22:00 o’clock

I look up the rest of the New York Times crossword answers and then work on tomorrow’s. I scroll on Savings, an Instagram account where I recently bought a vintage NPR t-shirt from the 90s because I like to embody my stereotype. My nightly routine is scrolling through more TikToks, scrolling Instagram, scrolling Twitter, checking my email, then watching more TikToks until I get tired.

I have a complicated relationship with my screen time. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV during the week, and I wasn’t even allowed to have my phone upstairs until I went to college. So watching TikToks until I go to sleep is something completely new to me. I still consider it a dangerous treat that I should enjoy quickly until someone takes it away. But now it’s part of my job, and it’s fun; everyone at school talks about that. At the same time, my vision is now bad and I don’t drink enough water, so my head hurts.

Total screen time:

6 hours, 10 minutes

This column was first published in the newsletter of The Goods. Register here so you don’t miss the next one, plus exclusive newsletters.


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