The NYC Social Media Elite Yearbook '09

by Rachelle Hruska · February 25, 2009

[Who are these people and why should you care? Photo by Brian Van Nieuwenhoven]

Here at GofG we're always trying to stay up to date on the emerging trends in NYC.  What happens when my word for "trendy" becomes "Meme-y?"  I've spent too much time on a computer that's what.  We've done our GofG High School Yearbook for you in the past, which included familiar "socialite" names such as Tinsley Mortimer, Olivia Palermo, Peter Davis, and the like.  But, as I find myself more and more intrigued with a new crowd of "cool kids" in the school, it's time to add to the yearbook. Introducing the GofG NYC Social Media Yearbook.  A "Who's Who" if you will of NYC's most popular faces in the social media network.  Whether they be known by Blog, Twitter, Tumblr or Vimeo, these are the people you should care about...

Prom King: Nick Denton. It's true, if NYC social media were a popularity contest, Nick Denton would win hands down.  The founder of Gawker Media, has a posh apartment right across from Balthazar, and a friend list that is akin to Graydon Carter's. Most of us know we are in the right place, or at the right party if we are in the same room as Denton. Who can you think of that can take an unknown freshman and make her one of the popular girls?  Also, do you think anyone else in this school could go for $560 on eBay?

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Most Popular, (and most likely to come in contact with Renee Zellweger): Rachel Sklar. Dan Abrams knows a good woman when he sees reads one, and such was the case with the former HuffPo media writer Rachel.  She's as nice as the northern city she hails from (Toronto) and is quickly becoming a favorite guest among the elite of NYC social media. She's hot, she's smart, she's nice, and she's got more spunk than Emily Brill standing outside at the Eldridge.

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Most likely to become an American Idol finalist: Jessica Coen. Jessica was one of the founding members of what has become a well known tradition amongst a certain media group: Karaoke.  It was at Sing Sing in the East Village when I first met her over 3 years ago (even before I was a blogger!), and, though the guy she previously showed up with might not be there this time, and the publication she is an editor at (first Gawker, now NYMag's Intel) may change, one thing has remained constant: this girl can rock out with her mic out!

Most likely to win the lottery but lose the ticket: David Karp. This 22 year old entrepreneur and crush of Stephanie Wei hit the jackpot with his site Tumblr (or what I like to call "Blogging for Dummies").  Everyone from Julia Allison to Cajun Boy is a fan of his site, but how will he make money off of it? Well, er, um...in any event David is one of our favorite techies to spend time hobnobbing around.

Head Cheerleader: Caroline McCarthy. I know, I know, most of you were expecting her, but I think Caroline has the most school spirit this year. Writer of tech column "The Social" at CNET, This girl is out almost every night lending her social expertise to the nerds that adore her.  Need someone to play on your team in a wacky game show about Internet Memes? Get Caroline.  Need someone to write that report on last night's geek fleet festival? Or what about a panel you need about [insert ANYTHING related to social media]. Caroline's your girl. I myself can always count on Caroline to keep me in the loop.  RaH rAh Rah!

Most likely to have a porn star plagiarize their name: Lockhart Steele. Ah Lock, the man, the myth, the legend.  As founder of the successful Curbed Network, he is one of the most influential men among NYC's real estate power players.  Also, he recently was named one of NYC's most eligible bachelors by Page Six (is there anywhere else to go from there? Probably...but I digress).  Always dependable for an afternoon beer at Marshall Stack, or an underground party with a secret password (it was "Tacos" for his birthday party); there are reasons one would be envious of this guy, and they go well beyond that incredible name of his, even if "Locked cocked and hard as Steele" could be a good tagline for an adult film star.

Class Treasurer: John Carney. When it comes to money, there is one guy that we all can trust to take care of ours (or at least make fun of the people that do). The man that helped make DealBreaker awesome is now doing the same for ClusterStock.  John told me to quit my job.  I did.  I thought that we had a special relationship.  Then I found out he tells this to basically anyone working in a corporate hellhole (FYI my previous job was actually great).  "Follow in my footsteps!" he will exclaim as he forges ahead to the front of the bar (like Moses parting the Red Sea).

Most likely to move from "Preclear" to "Operating Thetan": Owen Thomas. Background: when you enter the Church of Scientology, you are "audited", a form of confession involving an E-meter that essentially helps a person recognize hidden abilities, promotes spiritual awareness, and moves a person from being "Preclear" to "Operating Thetan".  It's another way of saying that the Church will get "dirt" on you to essentially hold over your head when you want to leave and stop paying to get to higher levels in the Church.  Enter Owen Thomas, the outside world's auditor of Scientology.  When he's not busy snarking up  Silicon Valley for Valleywag, he moonlights at Gawker, often acting as an E-meter that relentlessly digs up dirt on Scientology, most recently bring to light the Church's belief system and what part it may have played in the untimely death of Jett Travolta.

Most likely to get married: Julia Allison and Ben Leventhal. You know that old adage: when they pretend not to like each other it's really because there's something there?  Well I'm going to go ahead and put this out there: Internet fameball sensation Julia Allison and Eater editor Ben Leventhal are PERFECT for each other. (Forget Lodwick), Ben's one of the most discreet editors in the blogosphere, and she is one of the most visible persons.  What each one lacks, the other can provide.  Ben may not be Julia's sugar daddy just yet, but we think there's more to come from these two...

Homecoming Queen: Soraya Darabi.  Have you met Soraya yet? You should. She is as beautiful as she is charming, and, after working at Conde Nast post-Georgetown, she has taken over as the manager of "Partnership & Buzz Marketing" for the New York Times.  Soraya has met loads of people along the way, and is always well received.  If anyone can save the Times it's Soraya, who helped plan the Inauguration party with Facebook (genius).

Most likely to marry a supermodel: Rex Sorgatz. To be honest (and not to be offensive to Rex because he's really quite pleasant to be around), I REALLY don't get the Rex thing. Sure he has a "look" (scarf, glasses, etc), but don't a lot of New Yorkers? Just check out The Sartorialist if you don't believe me.  I haven't been around this crowd long enough to get the entire scoop, but Rex here has been cool enough to date Rachel Sklar AND get a profile in the Observer (after which that relationship was dunzo). Some guys just have it, and Rex is clearly one of them.

Person who spent the most time in detention: Charles Forman.  Charles just seems like that kid that spent a lot of his time in detention doesn't he? Once I figured out what "iminlikewithyou.com" actually was, all of the pieces started to fit together.  "Oh", I said, "he makes video games possible in real time, and connects people to others that like the same computer games." "Okay, so now it all makes sense"  Charles, I imagine, went to detention a lot, a perfect amount of time to spend designing video games.

Homecoming Prince: Noah Kalina. Because anyone that can make women look this beautiful surely deserve a crown no?  Plus he took a photo of himself everyday for a year and made a really cool video of the project which was featured on an episode of VH1's Web Junk 20 and on commercials for Time Warner Cable's Roadrunner service. It's had more than 11 million views on YouTube making "nothing comparable in the history of photography." [via]  He's had a Simpsons parody already for Christ's sake.

Most likely to become a rock star: Nick Confessore. As a political writer for the New York Times, Nick may be "old media", and he may be riding on a sinking ship, but that doesn't mean that he is a dud.  No way. In fact, he's the only one on this list that is actually a lead guitarist in an up and coming band called Northern Public.  He's got the girl, and the hair... now all he needs is the groupies, oh wait, he's got those too.  All this from a guy who showed up to an Oscars party in a black suit this past Sunday. Why you ask?  "Because I felt like it."

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Most dedicated yearbook designer: Nick McGlynn. Every single social media, tech, or blog event that I have attended, I have seen Nick there... documenting it with his camera.  Someone's got to cover all of the social shenanigans so that we have something to write about the next day, and we're glad Nick is helping the effort.  After any event, you can expect to see Nick's photos from Random Night Out on this site, and all across tumblrs, twitters, flickrs, and facebooks of everyone to see.

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Most likely to miss the 10 year reunion: Nikola Tamindzic. Speaking of photogs, what happened to this famed nightlife photographer and Gawker protege? Seriously.  His photos and passion are one of the reasons we became interested in this whole wacky world in the first place.  Not to mention he was one of the first interviews I did on Gofg. Reminisce over at Home of the Vain if you are feeling nostalgic for some Nikola times.

Freshman of the Year:  Stephanie Wei This Yalie Golfer, turned finance chick, turned socialite has transformed herself once again. She has given up almost all of the society affairs (and photo shoots with Chuck Bass) to join Chris and I at our adventures with the nerds. And she has "never felt more at home." She was more excited meeting David Karp than she was meeting Ed Westwick. And that is precisely why we love her.

Most likely to save the world in the face of a nuclear disaster: Richard Blakeley. Have you been to one of this guy's Media Meshing parties?  Even in the face of the drastic effects of this recession depression, we have faith that Richard, resident video editor at Gawker, will have the answers to our problems in the form of some new party, meetup, or video in the near future.

And there you have it.  The list is growing daily,  but this is a good start to get you schooled in the NYC Social Media High School Class of '09.