The New York Times editorial director of games on creating her ideal corner of the internet
Here at Mozilla, we are the first to admit the internet isn’t perfect, but we are also quick to point out that the internet is pretty darn magical. The internet opens up doors and opportunities, allows for people to connect with others, and lets everyone find where they belong — their corners of the internet. We all have an internet story worth sharing. In My Corner Of The Internet, we talk with people about the online spaces they can’t get enough of, what we should save in Pocket to read later, and what sites and forums shaped them.
This month we talk with Everdeen Mason, the editorial director of The New York Times Games team, on what she’s reading, her TikTok algorithm and shaping the puzzling community online.
What is your favorite corner of the internet?
Unfortunately, I am obsessed with TikTok. My algorithm is perfectly curated to me: anime, alt fashion and makeup, booktok, and mental health jokes. I also read a lot of webtoons and manga online and there’s a whole community of people who scan, translate and comment on work from all over the world. It just adds so many layers of depth — the original work of course but also the commentary helps me understand culture, translation difficulties and even a little about the translators themselves. I also try to support the original creators by funding through Patreon and other sites.
What is an internet deep dive that you can’t wait to jump back into?
It’s not really a deep dive but I clicked on this Alison Roman profile SO fast. I’m also a psychotic Wiki reader, like I give them money because I use it so much. Right now I’ve deep-dived on League of Legends — I’m not going to play because, to be honest, I suck at fighting games — but I love all the little bands and pop groups and Arcane was phenomenal so now I’m just reading about all the characters and I hope they make more stories. And weirdly, I’ve been reading a lot about nail art because it’s really fascinating all the different ways people do it.
What is the one tab you always regret closing?
I mean accidentally clicking out of Spotify mid listen is always weirdly devastating even though it’s not that big a deal. I also lost this Brandon Taylor essay I had been saving when I restarted my computer and lost all my tabs I’m still sad about it.
What can you not stop talking about on the internet right now?
My wonderful little team! I just started my second year with the New York Times games team, and I spent my first year rehabbing a lot of our processes and fact-finding and strategizing. I don’t think people realize how much work and process goes into it. Right now, I’m really excited about the content team I’m building. I don’t know if people realize, but we have a vertical where we write about puzzles and games and the community. I just hired a new staff writer, and we have a fabulous new community manager helping to revamp our social media presence. Play our games AND read our stories!
Why do you think Wordle has become such a positive corner of the internet for so many people?
Wordle is just so accessible! Not just the gameplay, but its spoiler-free shareability. People can post their scores without ruining it for other people, and the limited number of tries makes the game achievable. It’s a great way to get a little confidence boost each day.
What was the first online community you engaged with?
I’m a little behind in this space because SOMEONE (dad) made me use dial-up until I went to college even though we definitely had the technology in the early 2000s. But I definitely had a little Myspace that I decorated. I read a good amount of fanfiction too. I’ve always been a bit of a lurker on the internet – I’m a gossip so I read all the comments but I get anxious about posting myself. Something to work on.
What articles and videos are in your Pocket waiting to be read/watched right now?
I’m pretty caught up! All I have left is the Vulture review of the Station 11 show.
If you could create your own corner of the internet what would it look like?
Frankly, I’m already kind of doing it! The existing puzzle community is super engaged, but I want to expose it to more people and bring in fresh blood. To do that, we’re working on shoring up social media spaces (as we speak I’m slacking on a TikTok account I’m supposed to be running), and publishing more stories and features. I have a lot of exciting stuff to announce in the New Year.
Everdeen Mason is editorial director of the New York Times Games team, overseeing the editorial direction and strategy of games such as The Crossword and Spelling Bee. Before working on games, Everdeen worked in Audience for seven years, most recently conducting editorial experiments at The Washington Post. Everdeen is also a writer and served as the Post’s science fiction and fantasy columnist for three years. Her fiction has been published in Lightspeed Magazine.