The first-person singular is a powerful voice and they’re all over the Internet these days.
From pieces with titles like “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster” to “No One to Rescue Me From My Drinking”, first-person essays have gone from a navel-gazing niche to a full-fledged genre in the clickbait age.
A recent think piece in Slate has taken issue with these essays, in particular the publishing industry that has enabled their proliferation.
Are these essays exploitative? Or empowering to write and to read? What are the factors that have led to their rise?
Karen North, Clinical Professor of Communication and Director of the Digital Social Media Program at USC