The Way Middle-Aged White Men Work Now

1.

Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits “send” on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses…. He bursts in and out of parties, at once manic and serene, chronically toting gifts, cards and flower arrangements that seem to consume much of an annual income that is believed to exceed $250,000. Allen — who is childless and owns no cars or real estate — perpetually picks up meal and beverage tabs for his friend-sources (the dominant hybrid around Mikey). He kisses women’s hands and thanks you so much for coming, even though the party is never at his home, which not even his closest friends have seen.

2.

Joe Weisenthal wakes up around 4 a.m. most weekdays, afraid that in the five or six hours he has been sleeping, something happened that could move financial markets. His alarm is his cellphone, and after he silences it so that his wife can sleep, he rolls from bed and starts to type, still in his pajamas, in the darkness of his apartment at the edge of the Financial District. And the first thing he types, the first of about 150 daily messages he posts on Twitter, is almost always this: “What’d I miss?” [...] During the course of an average 16-hour day, Weisenthal writes 15 posts, ranging from charts with a few lines of explanatory text to several hundred words of closely reasoned analysis. He manages nearly a dozen reporters, demanding and redirecting story ideas. He fiddles incessantly with the look and contents of the site…. He is like the host of a daylong radio show, except no one speaks out loud. He rarely makes phone calls. His phone almost never rings.

3.

[Tim Burke] works from home here, in what his colleagues call the “Burke-puter,” for its seamless integration of man and machine. It is less an office than an organism: a flashing, beeping, glowing, thrumming assault of screens, wires, remotes, tuners, phones, receivers, computers and general electronic effluvia wrapped around a person (“the monitor situation up there is insane,” said Burke’s wife, Lynn Hurtak.). Burke sits here alone in the dark day after day, for about 100 hours a week, watching dozens of sports events simultaneously.

To start his day, Burke organizes his desk. He then organizes the games he wants to watch on the various monitors. He makes sure his three Mason jars are filled with water so he will not have to leave the room on the account of thirst. He keeps track of Twitter feeds, Deadspin and breaking news on a monitor he has programmed so he can keep abreast of the many things he needs to keep abreast of.

On one of his computers, he has nine hard drives, which he uses to store the data that he has amassed. He built it himself, “out of components,” he says vaguely…. Since he joined Twitter in 2008, he has written more than 56,650 Twitter posts.