I can't believe I'm writing these words, but I'm here to announce an exciting new project that I've been working around the clock to make happen for about the last month. In addition to the blog, I'm going to be writing, producing, and creating a podcast called The Empathy Factor. You might have noticed that there's a new tab on the header of my website devoted to it as well to make it easier for readers here to access and find out about it. I did post on Instagram and Twitter when the trailer went up, but, since then, the pod has become available on Apple Podcast and Google Podcasts as well, and I finally have an episode to share with all of you!
I wanted to do a formal post announcing and talking about it more on here, not just so that I could talk about what the podcast is but what has led me to make it. The why behind it. And, honestly, it starts with the blog. If I hadn't gotten the crazy idea to start a book blog where some nobody eighth grade girl could blabber on about how books made her feel in an effort to feel less alone, I would have never had the confidence to create this podcast. Now, out of high school and taking a year before college, I can look back and see how much having this place has helped me. It's introduced me to some amazing people who have supported me and made me feel like my creations are valid. I've learned, after many years of peers and teachers trying to tell me otherwise, that what I have to say and how I say it matters, so thank you for helping me become that person.
Most things that I've tried in life haven't become as successful as this. And, some days, that's daunting. Knowing that I've done something that means something to someone out there, or is at least worth clicking on sometimes, feel like a high bar. But everything has to start somewhere, and I'm reminded of why I started the blog in the first place. I didn't have anyone I could share my passion with. I wanted to find people who felt the way I did. I wanted to share my feelings. I wanted to carve out a little place in the world to have a voice, and, it didn't matter at first if there was anyone there on the other end to hear what I had to say.
I've once again found something that I love enough, like the blog and writing, to not care if it soars or sinks because it's something I believe in. It's something I love creating.
If you haven't read anything else I've posted about it, you might be wondering what the heck it's actually about. The Empathy Factor is a narrative nonfiction podcast featuring dissections of pop culture and the world we live in and reviews of anything that might be considered a teen drama, as well as any other song or show or movie that catches my attention. Really, I wanted to do the podcast to offer myself as much flexibility and freedom to dive into any topic that excited me.
The main through lines, though, will be the way that I take on everything. I want to talk about pop culture and celebrities in a different way. I want to dive into why we see them the way they do, and, when I talk about specific people, I want to do so in a way that looks at them in an honest light, that tries to find the threads that make them feel humans, and to talk about careers without exploiting them as people. Basically, I want to look at each topic with a critical yet understanding eye. I want to ask "What if that was me" and "why" and "how" constantly to keep myself true to this during each short episode.
Also, most of them will just be me and the mic, sharing what I've learned and how it's changed my point of view. Because of this, they aren't very long, but, hopefully, they're perfect for a short commute. While each episode takes far more research than it seems, I've fallen in love with the learning experience, and I'm so happy I'm fulfilling one of my main goals with the gap year: to keep learning about the things that interest me.
If this sounds like something that might be interesting to you, come check out the podcast page on the blog which has all the links, or check out the show's website to find show notes and everywhere it's distributed. I also have full transcripts there to make it as inclusive as possible and all my sources I used to build each episode.
Today's story dives into gossip magazines. How they came to be, why they report the way they do, and why we, as a culture, continue to consume them. What hooks us? Future episodes will include breaking down the 24 hour news cycle, reviewing the media sensation, Euphoria, diving into the Instagram Influencer, and revisiting the Disney shows that shaped my childhood. And, if you're a Riverdale fan like me, there's something in the works for you too. I'll be posting updates on the blog's Twitter, my personal one, and on the Instagram I made for the podcast, @empatyfactorpod. Please give it a follow.
Thank you guys for supporting me with this crazy idea and being there while I embark on another one.
To subscribe: Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Spotify