Job: Author and blogger (ShmittenKitten.com)
SMC Degree: Master of Journalism, 2008
Current city: Moorestown, N.J.
A piece of advice: “Get your hands dirty. Start a blog. Start a band. Hell, start a freakin’ knitting circle. The pride and confidence I’ve gained from spearheading my own projects is something I take with me in every room I enter.”
Anna Goldfarb is able point to her computer-assisted reporting class as the start of it all.
It was in that classroom where she learned the basics of blogging.
Without that knowledge, there wouldn’t be Shmitten Kitten, her popular dating blog read by thousands of fans each day.
And, without the book, Goldfarb would have no reason to be in conversations about creating a television pilot.
Learning the trade
She picked Temple University for its hand-on approach.
“A lot of the experiences were create your own blog, create your own publication. Temple knew on some level to give their students the right tools,” Goldfarb says. In her class blog, Cupcake Brigade, she wrote about short guys (still a primary target of the 6’1” Goldfarb’s blog) and Fall Out Boy.
“Temple made it not scary. Now I can talk to people about HTML and all of these other things that sound intimidating.”
While it was the School of Media and Communication that tools, her adventures in dating in her 30s are what provides the material. The concept of Shmitten Kitten evolved during conversations with her friend about their experiences with men.
“We’re always getting into hijinks,” she says, but she initially rejected the concept of turning their stories into a blog. “No one cares. No one’s going to read this.”
But after learning the Metro was seeking a relationship columnist, Goldfarb dove into the blog to show off her talent and hone her voice.
“I want the site to read as if you’re talking to me,” she says. “I just try to amplify the way I talk.”
And then the people came. She started setting analytics benchmarks for her blog.
“I checked my stats constantly,” Goldfarb admits.
First it was 50,000 visitors a month. Then 1,000 a day. Then one million total hits, which is about when she stopped paying attention to the figures and realized she had found internet success.
That’s not saying she still doesn’t peruse the analytics for her ex-boyfriends’ IP addresses.
“For the stalking factor alone, it’s compelling reading material,” she says.
Transitioning her style
It soon came time to expand the breadth of her work and pitch a book, which was published by the Penguin Group’s Berkley Books, whose editors jumped at the opportunity after she sent in her first chapter. In Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through, Goldfarb expands the scope of her writing beyond dating.
“It was a bit of a challenge to adapt into an overall narrative structure,” with a beginning, middle and end, she says. “It was a challenge because I haven’t done anything amazing and I haven’t died.”
She also didn’t include any of her childhood. “That’s the part I usually skip [in memoirs]: ‘In third grade, something boring happened.’”
The reality of being a published author only set in at a recent book signing, where “I saw my book on the noteworthy literature table next to Henry Kissinger.”
And as she looks into the future at the possibility of a television series and life in Los Angeles, her mind is clearly focused on what’s most important.
“I’d miss Wegman’s,” she says. “But I like tacos, so that’s a big thing for me.”