Lauren Goode is senior writer at WIRED, where she hosts the Get Wired podcast and covers consumer tech issues and trends. Before moderating the Zócalo/Commonwealth Club event “How Much Information Is Too Much?,” Goode called into the green room to talk about Al Gore, doomscrolling, and R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To fly. For me, as a reporter, being able to travel and report out stories—and just connect with people in real life—is such a challenge right now, in the time we’re living through.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. There was probably a period of time before I understood how journalism worked and the impact of journalism, where I thought more about fiction. But I know that in some capacity the thing that I always wanted to do had to do with putting words down and sharing them with people and trying to find ways to describe what was happening around me and in the world.
What’s the last thing that inspired you?
Just before this phone call I was on an internal meeting within WIRED where a bunch of colleagues and I were talking about some of the profiles that the magazine has done over the past year or so, and we broke down our process for writing profiles and writing feature-length stories for the magazine. We do this from time to time internally. Sometimes we’re examining our own work, and sometimes we’re pulling work from other journalists at other publications, and talking about it and talking about what inspired us. It sounds like a line, but I’m really inspired by what my colleagues do.
What recent story are you most proud of reporting?
A conversation with Al Gore that ran as a Q&A in WIRED. My colleague Adam Rogers and I talked to Vice President Gore in early July on the ways in which he’s looking [at] big policy answers to hard global problems. And of course one of the things that Al Gore has been focused on is sustainability and climate issues, and I found it to be a really interesting conversation, in particular in the context of what’s happening now, because climate issues fall down the priority list as people are thinking about more important, immediate problems we need to address right now, like health and healthcare, and racism and inequality, and all of these other incredibly pressing issues we’re facing as a society. But climate change is also a pretty dire situation and interrelated to those issues.
Do you have a go-to karaoke song?
I have to say I’m really worried about the future of karaoke. Small rooms. People shouting and yelling and definitely sharing respiratory droplets. I think it’s going to be a very, very long time before we see karaoke—at least here in the United States—return to normal. Maybe there’s a way someone can pioneer outdoor karaoke. I think we should get an entrepreneur on that.
I’m absolutely not kidding when I say that my karaoke song for years has been “It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.
What keeps you up at night?
Twitter. I can’t stop doomscrolling. I do keep up a pretty robust Instapaper account, so when I see articles throughout the day that I really want to read, I put them in my Instapaper so that in the evening when I’m tempted to scroll on my phone, the idea is that I’ll go to Instapaper instead and go through my article queue rather than read what’s going through my Twitter feed. I have a couple of other apps I browse to try and get myself off of Twitter. The app I downloaded most recently to try to detract from Twitter is called Sharktivity. It’s an app for shark sightings. I really don’t know what it says that my way of trying to level off my stress is to think about sharks, but I’m fascinated by sharks.