Logging on with Jules Terpak

Gen Z’s biggest voice in tech stops by for a chat.

Meet Jules Terpak

When it comes to Gen Z, brands and publications are more focused on dissecting the true meaning of “rizz” — or working it into their next ad campaign — than taking them seriously. Enter Jules Terpak. Whether she’s breaking down complex topics in tech and media or interviewing linguist Noam Chomsky (nbd), content creator Jules Terpak is on the frontier of digital culture. As one of the first Gen Z voices in tech on social media, her TikTok account has amassed over 350,000 followers. Viewers watch her for her incisive takes on topics like misinformation and youth culture, AI, and interviews with other tech figureheads like reporter Taylor Lorenz. It’s pretty obvious we’re also fans of her work. And when she told us Back Market was her “first stop” when she was on the hunt for a new piece of tech? Well, we figured it might be time someone interviewed her for a change. Scroll down to read our chat with Jules on tech, social media, and (gasp) logging off.
Jules Terpak

What drew you to covering tech, or more specifically, digital culture?

Jules Terpak: I’m the oldest of Gen Z (27) so I truly grew up with the rise of each social media platform and found myself engulfed by every one of them along the way. I was posting YouTube videos at the age of 10, grew a Tumblr blog in middle school, overshared far too much on Twitter in high school, grew a topic-based Instagram account in college, and then started sharing on TikTok in my early adulthood. 

It wasn’t until I was older that I could really take a step back and be like wow, all of this stuff is so new for humanity — not just social media, but all aspects of digital technology. To me, ‘digital culture’ is focused on how humans and computers interact. It has a lot more to do with user habits, psychology, and anthropology than traditional tech reporting on things like hardware and internet culture at large.

"That’s what I love most about tech’s potential – the ability to share and consume more stories."

What do you love about tech?

I’d say its ability to bring the visions in your head to life at a much faster rate than ever before – that way you can create and share more, for future generations to tap into. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars once said, “From cave paintings to canvases, advances help to tell more interesting stories and express yourself more clearly. That’s why artists are constantly pushing the technology in their medium — to widen the range that they can use their imagination.”

That’s what I love most about tech’s potential – the ability to share more stories with more people, and in tandem, the ability to consume more stories from more people. In a lot of regards, it’s a wonderful time for curious as well as creative people. 

What’s your favorite video that you’ve made?

My favorite video I’ve made is about posting people without their consent. This norm has extreme repercussions on privacy and personal peace, and has become much more prevalent with the rise of TikTok. Because of this, the impacts of doing so have also grown to greater magnitudes because of the viral nature of the platform.  I still feel deeply passionate about the topic and hope to be part of pushing the cultural norm in the opposite direction.

Watch Jules on YouTube

What is your experience purchasing refurbished tech?

My Nintendo Switch, the Sony camera lens I use for all of my videos, as well as my Acer monitor are from Back Market. All three items are a huge part of my daily life and not to toot your team’s horn, but not once have I felt like they weren’t devices I bought new. While Back Market doesn’t have everything I need when I need it, when I’m thinking about buying new hardware, it’s my first stop. Always.

What do you think stops people from choosing refurbished?

We’ve luckily seen an uptick in buying second-hand clothing over recent years, much in part due to social media trends around “thrifting”, but people don’t realize the same is true of tech just yet. A lot of people have their family's old technology stuffed in a drawer somewhere and just assume you buy new, then add it to that pile or throw out the tech once you’re onto the next. We’re at a point where companies are shipping out products at such unnecessary rates that there’s an unfathomable backlog of great quality, refurbished tech to tap into — which not only reduces waste, but also saves money.

Jules's Back Market picks

  • iPhone 12

    iPhone 12: My main phone for the past few years. The camera doesn’t show my pores.

  • Acer Monitor 27-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD

    Acer Monitor: Simple but effective for my set-up.

  • MacBook Pro 16-2019

    2019 MacBook Pro: My main device for the past few years.

  • Sony LinkBuds: Wireless headphones that feel like one with your body.

  • Nintendo Switch: A beautiful colorway and a fun piece of tech

Your work seeks to keep people informed about tech, but what are your go-to platforms for healthy media consumption?

Variety (the practice, not the publication!) is always at the forefront of my media consumption. Social media platforms are admittedly points of discovery for my media consumption. Let’s be real. But I meticulously curate my following lists to have a solid range of positions/angles, interests, and so on. I do monthly audits to ensure I’m not getting caught up in echo chambers and rabbit holes. You want to make your feeds have a degree of discomfort to help you grow! Expose yourself to new things and ideas.  I also think books can be a go-to platform for us all again. Just give me some time to be more consistent on that front. 

You live online. What is your favorite way to log off?

To be honest, I don’t know that I feel equipped to answer this right now – which likely has much less to do with technology and much more to do with feeling like I need to be grinding in my 20s. Ultimately, I wish I could teleport to a California beach sunset while still living in NYC full-time. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Back Market

Written by Clare Austen SmithExpert Brand Copywriter

Our mission is to make renewed tech mainstream. Turning old into "new new", so to speak.

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