Virginia Heffernan's Headshot

Virginia Heffernan

Writer, Cultural Critic - Panelist Blurb

Virginia Heffernan is a writer and speaker on the most influential and least understood medium of our time: the Internet. She was the “Machine Politics” and “Appitude” columnist at Yahoo! News, a contributor to The New York Times, and a writer of television criticism and The Medium column for The New York Times Magazine. A former editor at Harper's and Slate, her book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, is forthcoming in March 2016 from Simon & Schuster. 

Heffernan sees
 the Internet not merely as a new technology or as a business tool, but as a cultural object - a collaborative work of art that has "its own rules, conventions, implications." In her forthcoming book, Magic and Loss, she argues that the Internet, broadly conceived, is a “massive and collaborative work of realist art." Whether writing about how the Kindle changed reading, how the iPod and iPhone changed listening, or how the demise of landline telephones changed communicating, Heffernan goes right to the heart of the lived experience, like the way when talking via cell phone, “You don’t know when to talk and when to pause; voices overlap unpleasantly. You no longer have the luxury to listen for over- and undertones; you listen only for content.” She helps us rethink this new medium: its enormity, its effect on society, and our place in it.  

Heffernan has her Master’s and a Ph.D in English literature from Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn Heights with her two children.