Media News

The Verge’s Patel on keeping its audience happy

March 4, 2024

Posted by Chris Roush

Nilay Patel

The Verge editor in chief Nilay Patel was interviewed on his “Decoder” podcast by Complexly co-founder and YouTuber Hank Green about the site.

Here is an excerpt:

That goes back to the conversation we were having before about audience and how do you imagine those people. Who are they in your head, and how do you feel like you understand them? This is a huge thing for me. I think about it all the time.

Our mission statement is that The Verge is a website about how technology makes people feel. We’ve kind of narrowed it down. We’ve had headier ones. We’ve had ones that were designed for advertisers. We’ve had ones that are like, “We’re about the future.” And over time, it’s like, “Oh no, we’re just about how this makes you feel.” It is a very emotional website about cellphones, and that means we can be expansive. It means we can validate the fact that people are having emotional experiences with their technology. One of the things I say all the time is, I can go up to anyone in the world and ask them about their phone, and they will tell me a story because they have an emotional relationship with this piece of technology that mediates almost all of their other relationships.

So there’s something they love, there’s something they’re frustrated about, there’s something they wish were better. And if you can ask them the right questions, everyone has a story to tell you about their phone. That is a pretty massive set of things to think about. So I think of our audience as people who want to feel those feelings. They want to love things, they want to dislike things, they want to be passionate about these objects, these screens that literally mediate almost everything else that happens in our lives. And I think we poke at that pretty hard all the time. And we’re never punished for thinking too hard about things.

Read more here.

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