Plus Roundups

What Happened at Slate This Week?

Social media guru Lindsey Underwood highlights the most popular stories of the week, from the Patriots to Tom Petty.

Illustration of Lindsey Underwood by Charlie Powell
Lindsey Underwood.

Illustration by Charlie Powell

Greetings, Slate Plus members!

I’m Lindsey Underwood, Slate’s social media editor. If you happen to follow Slate on Twitter or Facebook already, we’re practically old friends! I have been writing tweets and Facebook posts for Slate for a little over a year. It’s my job to try to figure out which stories will be most popular to readers on social media at any given time.

When I’m not manning our social media accounts, I’m producing the Dear Prudence live chat on Mondays with the wonderful Emily Yoffe. During each chat, I pore over all the questions and responses that you all send in, and send ones that I think are most interesting to Emily. It’s really fun (and sometimes shocking) to see the variety of questions that come in. I’m also always in awe of how fast Emily is able to come up with her smart answers during the chat. I actually tried my hand at answering a question in a chat last month. How’d I do?

The best part of my regular duties, though, is that I spend most of my time reading Slate stories. From Will Oremus’ look at why the top-rated restaurants on Yelp are places you’ve never heard of, to Aisha Harris and Forrest Wickman’s dispatches from Sundance, it’s been another great week of Slate content. It’s always interesting to me to see which stories, out of all the interesting pieces in the magazine in a given week, end up being the most popular on Facebook. Let’s take a look at the top 10 Slate stories on Facebook this week:

10. This Dear Prudence letter from a 26-year-old who wants to retire hit close to home for me this week. (Just kidding, I love my job!!!) It was also pretty popular, like most Prudie columns, on Facebook.

9. Eric Holthaus’ wall-to-wall coverage of this week’s East Coast blizzard was top-notch. On Sunday, after reading his popular story about the potentially historic storm, I went to the grocery store to stock up. (Sorry, Dan Engber.)

8. Warren Sharp’s startling analysis of the Patriots’ recent fumble statistics was like candy for #Ballghazi truthers on Facebook this week.

7. Reihan Salam said living in a cold home will make you a healthier and better person in this viral story. (I disagree.)

6. Why do people keep plagiarizing Tom Petty? Adam Ragusea offered a smart take during all the noise this week.

5. Slate occasionally republishes interesting questions from Quora. I can’t say I’m surprised that Facebook users were so interested in this one: “How Can I Get My Cat to Like Me More?

4. I was happy to see that this important story about the dangers of owning a gun was shared so widely on social media.

3. I was also happy to see that this important story about the best moment in the Jennifer Lopez thriller The Boy Next Door was shared so widely.

2. Frequently, some of the most popular Slate stories are ones from months or even years past. This essay on kids and dogs from Allison Benedikt from 2013 caught a second wind this week after being recirculated on social media.

1. Warren Sharp smashed the competition with two viral posts in the top 10 this week. In this second column, he looked at data showed the Patriots became nearly fumble-proof after a 2006 rule change.

Happy reading!
Lindsey Underwood