What is Josh Quittner, the former editor of Business 2.0, doing for his next act? Since September, he's had an unhappy career at Fortune, the Time Inc.-owned corporate sibling which took him and a few other refugees from the magazine in. He's been earning what we hear is a mid-six-figures salary playing Scrabulous, and then writing about it. (Actual quote from a recent column: "Clearly, I had too much time on my hands.") The latest I'd heard on Quittner, my former boss, was that he was leaving Fortune to return to Time, where he worked before joining Business 2.0, as its Marin County-based tech correspondent. But he may have another exit strategy in mind. in 2006, Quittner registered roofmagazine.com.
Oh noes: Fortune executive editor Josh Quittner's wife Michelle Slatalla is still writing her column about 'computers: who knew!' for the Times. Today, she revisits well-worn territory: How much her daughters hate her for cramping their style on Facebook. But she's upped the ante considerably now that she's discovered something called "apps." "The discovery of the existence of Naughty Gifts proved I was, once again, out of touch," Michelle writes. How to remedy? Adding as many apps as possible, starting "poo fights" with her husband, and sending her teenage daughters virtual rubber blow-up dolls. "Oh, my God, you are so creepy," one of them told her, before hanging up the phone on her. Heartwarming!
Despite the protests of literally twos of thousands of Facebook members, Time Inc. has kicked Business 2.0 to the curb. According to an unusually emotive blog post in the Times and its dry print follow-up, editor Josh Quittner and nine staffers will be shuffled over to Fortune. (The rest of 'em will be sending you resumes when the kill teams are done a-killing.) We'd be bitchy about this, but it always sucks for actual real people when a company runs a magazine into the red and then won't let a willing buyer turn it into a competitive product. The only silver lining: Mrs. Quittner, AKA Michelle Slatalla, the Times' Andy Rooney-of-the-internet, will have plenty to columnize about now with these hubby troubles!
This week, Michael Winerip's New York Times Parenting column focuses on a wild phenomenon. It turns out that when you work at home, sometimes you actually have to, like, take care of the house! Crazy. (Seriously, this guy makes their online-life columnist Michelle Slatalla look like Frank Rich.) You remember Winerip; he's the Times writer exiled to the lonely Regionals section, where he can safely muse about the fact that his kids aren't getting into Harvard from his comfortable Long Island perch.
New York Times columnist in charge of spending way, way too much time online and then writing about it Michelle Slatalla has moved on from her old habit of stalking her children online because she's found a new way to use the web to feed her OCD: Keeping day-to-day, moment-to-moment tabs on the enormous value of her home.
Fans of Time Inc. tech title Business 2.0 have taken the bold step of starting a Facebook group to show their support for the troubled publication. So far, the group has amassed over 50 members, including Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, Quittner's wife, New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, and LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman. Oh, and former Business 2.0 editor and my new boss Owen Thomas. Let's hope this roster of Valley luminaries is more effective than other futile Facebook groups, such as the 29,359 people who believe strongly in removing the "is" from the Facebook status message.
As the Times' "Cyberfamilias" columnist Michelle Slatalla knows, the new hotness is stalking your own children online. In an article in the latest Atlantic Monthly, chillingly subtitled "Anyone could be tracking your children online—even me," reviled housewifeliness-advisor Caitlin Flanagan is getting in on the action, and, well, seriously biting Michelle's styles. Not to mention revealing, as the kids say, TMI.
Judith Warner's 'Domestic Disturbances' TimesSelect blog-column grows increasingly, well, disturbing. Buckling under the stress of "two grade-parent cocktail parties, one all-school gala, a Spring Fling, three music recitals" and other trials, she offers this confession: "I have, there's no question, gone off my gourd." Luckily for her, colleague David Brooks is perfectly willing to be her ad-hoc therapist.
It's only the second installment of Michelle Slatalla's "Cyberfamilias" Times column, which is about how she tortures her family via the Internet, and already she has discovered social networking. No one is happy about this, least of all her teenage daughter: "'You won't get away with this,' she typed. 'everyone in the whole world thinks its super creepy when adults have facebooks.'" In search of refutation, Michelle consulted some of her experts: "Although he didn't go so far as to say he disapproved of my parenting skills, Professor Wesch reminded me that what Facebook's younger users really are doing is exploring their identities, which they may not want to parade in front of their parents. 'Can't I explore my identity, too?' I asked. 'Why does everything fun have to be for them?'" Um. Also: "'I can't really comment on your family dynamics,' said Brandee Barker, a Facebook spokeswoman." Michelle, you creep, get off the Internet before it tears your family apart!
Times columnist Michelle Slatalla and Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner live together in wedded bliss, but according to an announcement in today's paper, they also "live in I.M. windows on each other's screens." That's why Michelle's "Online Shopper" column is now called "Cyberfamilias." From now on, she's going to write about how Information Superhighway has changed "almost every chapter of family life." Her inaugural column examines how sometimes kids search for medical information online, leading to humorous misdiagnoses like "strip throat" and "sick as hell anemia." Nothing, oddly, about homespun saccharine folksiness-borne diabetes. Also, some experts weigh in: "'Now more than ever, search engines are absolutely central to how people search,' said Susannah Fox, associate director at the Pew Internet and American Life Project." OH FOR PETE'S SAKE.
Josh Quittner is the editor of Business 2.0. Michelle Slatalla is responsible for the New York Times' inexplicable "Online Shopper" column, a collection of hyperlinks well-gussied up with advice on how to Google things that for some reason appears in that paper's print edition on Thursdays. In it, you can learn how to buy English muffins that cost five dollars. Five dollars. Michelle and Josh are married to each other! Boy, are they ever.