digital | August 29, 2016

#AskASpeaker #13: Twitter Q&A with Magic and Loss Author Virginia Heffernan

This past Thursday we resumed our live Twitter Q&A series with writer and cultural critic Virginia Heffernan, who, in the new book Magic and Loss, argues that the Internet is a massive and collaborative work of realist art—and so much greater than simply a tool for business, or a shiny bit of tech. Heffernan’s been called “a new species of wizard” (Kevin Kelly), the author of a work that’s “humane, personal, and extremely smart” (Ben Yagoda) and “blazing and finally wise” (Michael Robbins). We were thrilled to talk to her about how the web has transformed the ways we see, listen, read, and collaborate today, and what the ‘magic’ and ‘loss’ in her book title really mean—for art, business, science, and our daily lives.


Throughout our all-too-brief conversation, Heffernan touched on human maturation and digital infancy, our push-backs and preoccupations with material culture even as we engage in plugged-in, digital spaces. She reflected on the dazzle and splendor of the Internet as art, and the necessary grief all great art demands. And, while offering insights into the massive transitions we face adjusting to the new paradigm (especially for those born long before the advent of digital culture), she balanced the gravity of her arguments with refreshing reference to memes, .gifs, and hilarity (what’s the Internet without the LOLs?).


In keynotes, Heffernan tackles the so-called “Tickle-Me-Elmo” challenge of online business. How to invest in robust innovation and engineering mandates while still ensuring your corporate image is approachable, trustworthy, honest, and even furry (one might say imminently huggable)? And for groups seeking to understand how new media, aesthetics, politics, and art collide, she translates the ideas behind Magic and Loss into a customizable keynote: a talk that examines, with epiphanic wit and intelligence, the seldom examined nature of the present: both IRL and digital, fleshy and Bitmoji’d.


To read the entirety of the chat, scroll through the Storify transcript below. And to hear more about booking a spellbinding keynote from Virginia Heffernan—or other digital, innovation, and arts and pop culture speakers in our superb roster—get in touch with one of our agents today.


One last thing—follow both Virginia (@page88) and The Lavin Agency (@thelavinagency) on Twitter to stay abreast of the conversation: our 14th Q&A is coming soon!



To book keynote speaker Virginia Heffernan for your next conference or workshop, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.

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exclusives | August 26, 2016