Dear Miss A,
Explain to me Late Night Shots? What is this nonsense? From my perspective it is a desperate attempt of the dc party crowd to create a social hierarchy and a stages for berating and belittling one another. Didn’t the clique-y-ness go out with high school?
New to Washington
Dear New to Washington,
Where do I even begin? I have a love/hate relationship with Late Night Shots, and clearly LNS has a love/hate relationship with me. “Miss A” isn’t my nickname as some people think. The only nickname I’ve ever had was “Dre”. “Miss A” was a moniker I used on Kelly Ann Collins’ “Washington Socialites” blog, which was the first blog in Washington about nightlife and the social scene. Only Kelly Ann and a few other girls who ran that site knew that I was “Miss A”. When Late Night Shots started the Forum in 2006, I decided to stick with “Miss A”.
People would post dating and relationship questions on LNS, and I would answer them. I don’t have a background in psychology, but have gained a lot of experience having spent 10 years with my ex-husband who was my college boyfriend, having gone through a divorce, and having survived a broken engagement and some abusive relationships. People would start asking for me to answer their question by “Calling Miss A”, etc. Many people suggested I start a blog or write a book. Eventually word got out that I was behind the “Miss A” moniker.
When I was working at local jewelry store, it was a natural fit for me to blog about relationships in connection to shopping for an engagement ring and how to buy a diamond. My blog posts brought about 80% of the web traffic to a local jewelry chain in the Washington area. I soon realized that if I could bring attention to this jewelry store, I could do the same for other businesses, and that’s when I launched my blog and my business consulting practice.
As for Late Night Shots, some of the threads are complete nonsense, but now and then there are some very insightful threads on political topics, etiquette, and proper attire. If you’ve been in Washington long enough, you can tell who is likely self-posting, and who is bashing who. You also learn who is dating, who broke up, who is engaged, who cheated on who, who is currently loved, who is currently hated, and where “everyone” is going. There is also a ton of misinformation out there, and of course lots of humor. There is a lot to love about LNS. It’s hilarious, and has been a lot of fun over the years. These are things I love about it.
My hate for LNS stems from how my association with LNS led to my being the target of a “hit piece” written by Angela Valdez for the City Paper a few years ago. I thought I was just talking to a reporter who was going to write a nice piece on my friend, Reed Landry who was in my opinion a great entrepreneur. Before this experience, I thought “hit pieces” were used to target politicians and celebrities, but Ms. Valdez has made a career out of targeting and humiliating private citizens. Take a look at what she did to Tony Cord. Ms. Valdez’s article not only inspired my co-workers to ask me if I thought they were fat, but made my boss question my work ethic, as Ms. Valdez made a number of assumptions, including how much time I spent online. If that weren’t enough Angela lumped me in with the very misogynistic, elitist, and racist aspect of LNS that I abhored.
The people she targeted may not be perfect, but I also don’t think we’re much different from anyone else. If the same were done to you, would you be ready to be exposed? You may remember my piece on the Liz Becton scandal. As I wrote:
We have all done and said things that we regret, and that when brought out into the public spotlight might show our character as being flawed. Whenever one small sample of who we are and what we do is blown up in the media, it can make us look like heroes or villains. Take Michael Phelps, everyone thought he was a god because he won eight gold medals in Beijing. He wasn’t. He’s human like the rest of us. That was made clear when he got busted for smoking weed. It takes a much greater sampling to judge a person’s character. We see people the way we want to see them, by the simplest, most convenient definitions. Any great writer knows that characters are complex. The villain can be lovable, and the hero has flaws.
As for Social hierarchy, it’s a part of life. It’s reality. It’s a myth that cliques end in High School. They never go away! You’ll find them in the nursing home when you get there. I’m not a Structural Anthropologist, but I do know that humans have always set themselves up in order. All animals do this, as a matter of fact. We don’t live in a communist country, and although we don’t have a monarchy, there will always be a social pecking order. I will say that the social structure on LNS differs from the social structure in the real Washington due to the fact that LNS is only a subset of Washington.
What bothers me about LNS is that the Forum has gotten so nasty, and as a result Georgetown isn’t what it once was. Nobody uses LNS as a social networking site — to send messages, invitations or to “friend people.” People don’t want to upload their photos and share them with friends due to the anonymous photo comments that are always rude and mean spirited. People are too ashamed to admit they are even on the site. They use initials rather than their real name, or create an alias with a fake name and profile picture. Everyone pretends that they “don’t go on LNS anymore”. Some of them are telling the truth, though. If you go on www.compete.com, you can see how much their traffic has decreased while Facebook’s traffic has increased. It’s not considered appropriate to use LNS, while at the same time, Facebook has become extremely acceptable. Everyone has moved to Facebook for social networking, so the only viable product LNS has is their anonymous Forum.
The Forum has the market cornered. It’s like one big bathroom wall. It’s the only place you can anonymously bash your social and/or business rivals. It’s a great place to bash the person who stole your boyfriend, cheated on you, or to trash a charity event that takes place the same night as your event, or to bash a competitor’s bar, spa, restaurant, or boutique. It’s also the perfect place to make yourself look great, and your enemies look bad. It’s awful. Removing the anonymity would make LNS, and the real Washington a nicer place, but doing so would would be the death knell for LNS, so I doubt that will ever happen. I’m not perfect, and I’ll admit I’ve defended myself anonymously on LNS, and I have said some nasty things about people who I felt were saying nasty things about me. I’m not proud of this, but this is what an anonymous forum brings out in people.
I hope that this answers your questions about Late Night Shots.
– Miss A