Rachel Sterne, NYC’s “Hot” New Chief Digital Officer, Is Making Nerds Lose Their Minds


Today brought the news that 27-year-old Rachel Sterne, Mayor Bloomberg’s first-ever chief digital officer in the office of media and entertainment, has upgraded her privacy settings on Facebook. This is interesting because she hadn’t already done so, and also because the Wall Street Journal used that opportunity to snag some rather funny quotes from her friends, things that might not play so well in Bloomberg-ville. So she’s already teaching us social media 101: Personal page, private.

But the real thing everybody is either dancing around or stomping all over is what she looks like: Pretty. Young. Girl. Consider the nerd hive-mind blown.

On AOL’s tech site, Engadget, writers “question her analog existence,” comparing photos of the human Sterne to the “incredibly lifelike” Female Android Gemenoid-F. Commenters there have proceeded to wage a rather vehement debate on issues of sexism, female denigration and lookism. As one commenter writes, “in typical appalling techblog fashion, male editors can’t think of anything to say about a female in the technology field than to denigrate her appearance or say ‘she’s hot’ or, somehow, say both at the same time.”

And yet, people still can’t stop talking about it! Maybe because, as another commenter synthesized, “Any picture of a cute woman followed with a public comment area of geeks and nerds will contain statements such as ‘i’d hit that,’ ‘she’s hot’ etc.”

Else around the digi-verse…

Animal New York‘s Bucky Turco has a photo of her kissing a guy (which has since been deleted from her Flickr).

From a commenter on CNet:

She’s like a Hot young female Jack Ryan minus the combat training.

From Twitter:

From a Wall Street Journal commenter: “How come these special appointments are always young, attractive women? You never see a nerdy little guy (like me) offering advice. Sour grapes? Maybe.”

Meanwhile, one of our (former) own just wants her to get a little respect. Good point. As such, let it be known that Rachel Sterne is founder and CEO of citizen journalism site GroundReport and digital media consultancy Upward Strategy. She’s an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. And, in her role as chief digital officer, she’ll help streamline New York’s digital footprint. She’s 27. And she’s attractive. Nothing wrong with any of that.

Now, let her show us what she can do.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 26, 2011

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