McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

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Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency



Purpose, objective, or mission: A daily humor website, “McSweeney’s exists to champion ambitious and inspired new writing, and to challenge conventional expectations about where it’s found, how it looks, and who participates. We’re here to discover things we love, help them find their most resplendent form, and imagine new ways to bring them to you, Dennis. (If you are not Dennis, kindly ignore the aforementioned.)” 1

“McSweeney’s, however, delivers its humor in a high-brow lit mag sort of way. It’s a place where you can simultaneously experience the comic satisfaction of watching a great sitcom and the glorious smugness of reading a New Yorker think piece.” 2

Target audience: Individuals who enjoy humor/satire  in writing.

Publisher: McSweeney’s Publishing. 3

Peer reviewed? No. 4

Type: Civilian publication

Medium: Website and e-newsletter.

Content: Content is intended to be humorous/satire.  “The thing we are most proud of is that for many of our contributors, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is the only place they’ve ever published publicly. At some point, something funny or odd occurred to them – a list, a new food review, a short imagined monologue – and they had a place to put that funny and odd thing in order to share it with the world, a private joke made public.” 5

Frequency of publication: Daily.

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: All types of submissions are allowed. Lists, open letters to people who are unlikely to respond, monologues, food reviews, etc. “Submissions should be shortish. By shortish we mean an absolute maximum of 1,200 words, but in truth we veer toward pieces that are under 1,000 words, and snuggle closest to ones that are even shorter than that. Your subject line should contain some indicator of what is contained in your submission.” 6

Submission and review process: There are separate email addresses depending on the nature of your submission. The website notes DO NOT send the same submission to multiple addresses, it is unnecessary as it all goes to the same editor. Please paste the entire document into the email message. Please don’t share Google docs or links to your private blogs. Also, very important: do not send us attachments. 7

General website submissions should be sent to

Timely submissions should be sent to This inbox is for super topical pieces riffing on big news stories of the last 24-48 hours.

Lists submissions should be sent to

Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond submissions should be sent to

Reviews of New Food submissions should be sent to

“We get hundreds of submissions a week and, like we have mentioned, there’s just one editor reading them all. So, it’s only natural that this editor will be drawn to submissions with funny, eye-catching titles that cleverly reveal the premises of pieces.” 8

Editorial tone: Light and comedic/satirical

Style guide used: None Specified. “Please do not format your piece in an unusual way. Do not use colors or fun fonts.” 9

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

LIS authors may have as good a chance as anyone for getting a submission accepted in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Their whole publication process seems to be highly informal, but the quality is certainly on par with journals that have higher subscription/circulation rates. An exploration of McSweeney’s multiple related websites is a must to see if your writing project is a match for their style. LIS authors might contribute a fiction or nonfiction piece inspired by their experience as library professionals, keeping in mind that the purpose of such pieces should ultimately be to entertain the reader, rather than function as straightforward articles on an LIS-related issue.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: “The Tendency’s biggest hits have gotten millions of pageviews, and many stories do well, reaching tens of thousands.” 10 The website has a social media following of over 180,000 on Facebook, over 274,000 on Twitter, and over 48,000 followers on Instagram.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: The publication first started in San Francisco, CA, but coverage geographically spans the globe. Content is published in English.

Reader characteristics: While no information regarding reader demographics is provided, a review of publication suggests readers are intelligent, open minded, literary, and comfortable thinking outside of the box, especially in a satirical way.

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Limited, the same as the general public.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

With this publications, LIS authors have an opportunity to engage with readers from a fun, satirical viewpoint, one not typically taken for LIS. While the readership may enjoy high brow humor, there is the potential to address LIS trends, barriers, ethics, and beyond as long as it comes with a comedic edge. The key is to be creative in approach. With shorter word limits, LIS authors can convey concepts in small, precise ways that do not need to meet  academic-level research and review standards.

Last updated: December 5, 2020


Show 10 footnotes

  1. “About Us,”, accessed December 5, 2020,
  2. “McSweeney’s,”, accessed December 5, 2020,
  3. “About Us.”
  4. “Submission Guidelines,”, accessed December 5, 2020,
  5. “Patreon,”, accessed December 5, 2020,
  6. “Submission Guidelines.”
  7. “Submission Guidelines.”
  8. “Submission Guidelines.”
  9. “Submission Guidelines.”
  10. “McSweeney’s Meets Internet,”, accessed December 5, 2020,
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