Pop quiz: which San Franciscan has the most followers on Twitter?
That would be Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, a.k.a. @biz, who currently boasts a tally of 1,654,582 followers.
But who’s the runner-up?
It’s not @speakerpelosi (29,284), whose Twitter name is gonna seem a little silly in about two weeks.
And it’s definitely not @haighteration — we’ve only got 1,004 followers, though we cherish every single one.
No, according to twitaholic.com, the most popular San Franciscan on Twitter, other than Biz, is the Lower Haight’s very own @veronica, a.k.a. Veronica Belmont.
Belmont is the co-host of Tekzilla, a weekly tech/gadget-related video podcast on Revision3. She’s also a Lower Haight resident — but not for long. Sadly, Belmont’s in the process of relocating to the Inner Mission. But she was kind enough to take a break from working/moving to do an interview with us, sharing her thoughts on everything from the biggest tech story of 2010 to the best Indian food in the Lower Haight.
Can you give me a quick recap of your life from birth to now? (How’s that for an opening question?)
Ok, I’ll do my best to make it quick! I grew up in Connecticut, and went to school at Emerson College in Boston, where I studied audio/radio production and new media. After I graduated, myself and two of my best friends packed up a car and drove cross-country to San Francisco! Our first place was at Page and Divisadero. Now I live further down in Lower Haight, where I’ve been for years!
How about a similar recap of your career? I’m particularly interested in how you got into tech in the first place.
I’ve always been interested in tech, gadgets and gaming as a hobby, but it wasn’t until I got a job as an audio production intern at CNET (now CBS Interactive) that I began making a career out of it. I’d been producing several of their tech shows, and eventually started co-hosting when I found I couldn’t keep my opinions to myself! Shortly thereafter, my boss asked me to write and host a few video segments for CNET TV. That was in 2006, I believe. Since then, I’ve hosted a daily podcast called Mahalo Daily, and now primarily work on Tekzilla for revision3.com and Qore on the PlayStation Network.
What’s a typical workday for you like?
I wish I had a typical day! Usually, it’s either shooting, traveling, or script writing (or some combination of the three).
What’s the best aspect of your job? The worst?
The best is getting to talk about subject matters that I really love. The worst is flight delays or bad hotels.
What area of tech interests you most?
Gaming is probably my favorite subject matter, though I’m also really interested in social media and how it’s changing the way we communicate and interact with people.
You’ve taped a lot of video segments over the years. Any that stand out as particularly memorable, for better or worse?
Recently we shot a segment for Qore at the Gun Store in Las Vegas. I’d never shot a weapon before, and it was really thrilling. Naturally, being in a safe environment with professionals definitely helps. I can’t really think of the worst shoot… Probably something where I’d only gotten 2 or 3 hours of sleep the night before, or with an interviewee that only responds with one word answers.
Companies probably send you tons of gadgets to review. What do you end up doing with them?
Send them back or give them away on the show! That’s the code, though some gadgets do get reviewed for a pretty extended amount of time.
You have an amazing number of followers on Twitter — over 1.6 million right now. How did that happen?
I was fortunate to be a part of the suggested users list on Twitter; people the company thought would be good first follows for new users. I had over 50,000 before I was on the list though, and I think that was because I got on the site very early and promoted it a lot on CNET.
Do you interact much with your fans?
Everyday! Usually online, but there have been a few times when I’ve met a fan in a bizarre place in person. For example, two years ago I was coming home from a work trip to Europe, and I had probably been traveling for about 19 hours. As I went through customs, an officer pulled me aside with a gruff ” Excuse me m’am, may I see your passport?” I was convinced I was in trouble for something, but he took my passport and said “Ah ha, I thought that was you!” He was actually a very sweet Tekzilla viewer, and I always look out for him at SFO now.
Fill in the blank: the biggest tech story of 2010 was ____________.
And the biggest tech story of 2011 will be _____________.
Who knows! Everything changes so fast. Predicting is always a lost cause.
Marvel at our interviewing skills here: If you had to get rid of all your gadgets except one, what would you keep?
Predictably, my iPhone. However, my Kindle comes in a very close second.
What’s next for you? Anything good coming up?
Yeah! Starting up a couple of new projects that I’ll be announcing soon. I’m looking forward to CES (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) because theres usually come great new stuff in the gadget world to check out.
Now let’s talk about the Lower Haight. When did you move here? And why?
When I first moved out here to SF, I only knew a couple of people. They were living in the Lower Haight, so we (me and my two friends from college) ended up moving in across the street. I’ve been in the neighborhood ever since, though I’ve moved twice.
Any favorite hangouts or hotspots in the neighborhood?
I love Cafe Du Soleil for hanging out at with a glass of sangria. Uva Enoteca is probably one of my favorite restaurants in the city, too… I love everything they have there to eat, and the wine list is amazing (are you noticing a trend?).
What bugs you most about the Lower Haight?
Probably the rowdiness. I’m kind of a fuddy-duddy; I like it to be quiet around 10PM.
Indian restaurant face-off: Indian Oven vs. Clay Oven vs. Rotee vs. Naan n Chutney. Go.
Hmmm…. Well, Clay Oven and India Oven are owned by the same people, so it’s almost a trick question. I probably go to India Oven the most though! Naan n Chutney was awesome, but I heard some pretty scary rumors that made me think twice about going back.
And finally, you’re moving? WHY???
Not too far! Just to the Inner Mission. My boyfriend and I have been in the same place for 5 years, so we’re ready for a change. We weren’t at all opposed to the idea of staying in the hood, but we found a place we love in the Mission. Only a 10 minute walk to Haight and Fillmore, so you’re not getting rid of me that easily!
We’d like to thank Veronica for sharing some time with Haighteration, and wish her good luck with the move. Hopefully we’ll see her again soon in the Lower Haight!