@CarinaHsieh on Engagement Tests and Barnes & Noble Flashbacks
Carina Hsieh is a writer and comedian living in Delethisburg, Brooklyn. She’s currently a Sex & Relationships Editor for Cosmopolitan.com (Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder—a comparison she feels she doesn’t deserve, but brags about anyways). In her free time she writes and produces sketches, hosts a monthly comedy show at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, and is down to write a TV show with you if you, like, REALLY twist her arm about it. Her “Commuter Barbie” sketch was featured on BuzzFeed, Gothamist, Huffington Post, and more. This week, Hsieh spoke to me about three of her favorite tweets, plus real estate values, productivity, and Barnes & Noble flashbacks.
on a date:
ME: lemme show u this meme i saw
[the zillow page of his childhood home is the last open tab]
ME: actually this isn’t my phone
— Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) April 15, 2017
Hsieh: I love this tweet because it combines my love of real estate values and a generalized anxiety about dating. I’m so obsessed with Zillow and love talking shit like I have money to invest in real estate instead of making peace with the fact that I will never be a homeowner. Plus, cyberstalking dates is the best part of modern dating!
What are your favorite subjects to tweet about? Are there subjects you love to think or write about elsewhere but keep off of Twitter?
I really like tweeting about dating and insecurities. I’m very lucky that my day job also intersects with dating and relationships, so I feel like I can explore some of those feelings in a more fleshed-out context elsewhere on the web. But Twitter’s been great because you see that those feelings of anxiety are really universal and that you’re like, not alone in overthinking everything (most of the time).
How does Twitter compare to other social media for you?
I definitely enjoy Twitter more than Instagram or Facebook, for sure. The discovery aspect of Twitter is something I really appreciate and find much easier to navigate than anywhere else. You find a few solid accounts who retweet gems and suddenly you’ve got a whole network of cool people to follow. It’s also a lot safer to be vulnerable on Twitter, whereas Instagram is so much more curated and polished. I pretty much only go on Instagram to post engagement tests to see whether or not my crush gives a fuck about me enough to view the second snap in a story.
me: *sweat forms on my upper lip as i use 118% brain power to write two blog posts a day*
also me: whither art my book deal
— Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) April 12, 2017
I’m always vacillating between paralyzing fear that I’ve never had an original thought ever in my life, or thinking I, like, invented art. Am I the dumbest person to ever live? Can anyone tell that I’m using 90% of my brain space rn to see if I should capitalize a letter in a headline or not? But also, did I invent human suffering? Was I put on this earth to be the voice of a voice of a generation? etc. Generally I go through three of these mood swings per one sentence I write, so it’s very productive and not exhausting at all!
What’s the emotion (or emotions!) that most often inspires you to tweet?
Hard to say, as I’m a very emotional person so I guess all of them? But like, insecurity/anxiety/other ugly feelings are definitely behind a lot of my tweets.
In general, would you say Twitter has made you more or less productive?
It’s probably made me more productive in the long term because I’ve met so many great people from Twitter. If you had told me a few years ago that so many of my friends would be from Twitter I wouldn’t believe you. But like any social media medium, it can also be really distracting in the short term obviously, so I also definitely have days where I’m like, “I need to not log in so I’m not just reflexively hitting ⌘ +R on the timeline and wasting time.”
depressing that nothing in nyc will ever make me feel as cosmopolitan as the jazz soundtrack of a barnes n noble when I was 8
— Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) April 22, 2017
SATC and Gossip Girl (two formative shows I healthily base all my expectations of adult life on) have NOTHING on a formative B&N flashback. This is for all the women out there who wore headbands and ill-fitting Forever21 tights to be fab in the 9th grade or whatever and dreamed of moving to NYC. Only no one told us you can’t afford an UES brownstone by writing like 200 words a week and having three close friends requires a level of emotional energy not all of us can afford to give right now. Will we ever be happy again? Who knows. Probably not. But you still shell out the extra cash for a regs Uber so you can take a cinematic cab ride over a bridge every so often to try to jog something anyways!
How—if at all—has the way you tweet/use Twitter changed over time?
I think I’m a lot less precious about Twitter than I used to be. Even like a year or two ago, I’d sweat over unpopular tweets or articles I’d written that got low engagement, but now I’m more comfortable using Twitter to just workshop shit.
Jenny Nelson lives, writes, and performs in Brooklyn, NY.