Inspired by the Embedded newsletter's "My Internet" series, I'm gonna tell you a bit about what I do when I'm online. Though I wrote this post and went back and looked at one and the interview format is a little different than how I grouped things here. That's okay. It's also a little inspired by Uses This which is more tools-focused. I might do one of those another day. Or today! Depends on how long the baby keeps napping.
# Traditional media, online
I'm currently a paying subscriber to The Atlantic, The New York Times, and the Omaha World Herald. I am an infrequent reader of The Atlantic, but enough that the subscription probably makes sense, and should probably once again cancel the NYT subscription I'm on before it jumps up in cost. I don't remember what article made me want to sign up for it again; we've been doing an on-again off-again thing for a couple years now.
This is kind of traditional journalism, but purely digital, and new, based in and focused on Nebraska, and just putting out excellent work. Writing this is making me realize I don't currently pay them but probably should, because I want them to stick around and keep up the critical, nuanced reporting.
# Email Newsletters
I'm a paid subscriber to 3 email newsletters. I read them using Stoop, an app that keeps all my newsletter subscriptions siloed into a separate app, away from my regular email inbox. Unfortunately that means I forget to read a lot of the things I'm subscribed to a lot of the time, but I make an effort to seek out the ones I like best.
Culture Study by Anne Helen Petersen covers all sorts of topics from wellness culture to the impact of the pandemic on parents to modern work culture, and is just so smart and thoughtful and good. There are subscriber-only threads on Substack each week themed around a different question, and they are so consistently full of really thoughtful people with really keen insights on their own lives or the world around them. I'm also in the Culture Study discord, which is chaotic and full of discussion on every possible topic.
Burnt Toast, by Virginia Sole-Smith, focuses on food, body image, diet culture and parenting in a diet culture-infused world. Many of the newsletters are a well-edited, written form of a podcast interview, and so sometimes I listen to the podcast instead of reading them.
She's a Beast by Casey Johnston is on being strong, generally, now, though I started reading it when Casey was employed by online media brands writing her column as "Ask a Swole Woman". The advice column still appears sometimes, as do essays on getting strong (mostly physically) in a healthy way and commentary and links to all sorts of fitness culture stuff. I credit Casey with my interest in weightlifting; it was a revelation to me that an adult woman could pursue strength for its own sake without needing to attach aesthetic or weight loss goals to it. I'm also in the Beasties discord, though not really active in my long periods not lifting for whatever reason (that is, recent childbirth and parenting an infant).
# Slack and Discord
I'm in a really great slack for women in tech; discussion there ranges from salary negotiation and job search support to parenting, considering whether to become a parent, personal finance, politics, to fashion and household maintenance and decorating.
In the early pandemic I was really leery of Discord but I've grown to really like it actually. I'm an admin of the Eleventy Discord, though I haven't been as active there since my baby was born. I'm also in a Slack a friend set up to stay in touch in early covid, and the aforementioned Culture Study and Beasties discords.
I am also in a Discord for moms who were all due with babies in the same month as me, so we were going through pregnancy and now parenting on roughly the same time scale. It has moms with just one kid, like me, and moms whose qualifying baby was their second or third. The support, commiseration, and wealth of knowledge in this Discord is like nothing I have IRL, and I'm so grateful to have it online.
My first posts on Instagram were from when I was running for city council. I didn't really know what to do with it, just that I should probably have one. Later I used it to post art I made, or pictures of stuff I saw around my neighborhood on my many pandemic walks. I very rarely go on Instagram any more, and hardly ever post.
I'm on Facebook still because it feels indispensable for political and community organizing. It serves in some ways as an elaborate, surveillance-filled Rolodex; I can contact people directly who I know care about an issue in our community and tell them what's going on and how they can help. It's the main place I promoted Queer Family Potluck Picnics this spring and summer and reached strangers who actually showed up, though a few people told me they saw the posters in coffee shops. I'm also in groups related to my hobbies, like for gardening with native plants, various crafts, and people who own a kind of e-bike that I also own. I really value seeing life updates from acquaintances (though really digging into why and if it truly is adding value to my life is a question for another post some day) and hearing about local events or political going-ons.
I use TikTok more frequently than Instagram but pretty sporadically; I have to be in the right headspace for the amount of stimulation it provides with fast paced, energetic videos one after another. Broadly I'd say I'm on on queer tiktok, gentle parenting tiktok, and crafttok. Here's a sampling of accounts I follow and really like, in the order they appeared on my Following tab just now. :D
All their tiktoks start with "Um, yes hello". It's an account about interesting geology around the world. October was "Spooky Lake Month" showing off haunted hydrology from around the world, and rating them on a scale of 0 to 10 spookies.
Character studies, like "your friend who wants you to know they
~travel~" or "your friend who thinks having a sweet tooth is a personality". I love them all.
I love her videos where she plays both herself, a mom, and her 4 year old, and acts out conversations they've had
A labor & delivery nurse who had lots of really helpful content while I was pregnant about how labor & delivery works, who now has a baby of her own!
Short dramatic interpretations of being a kid/teen in the 90s & 2000s.
The TT account for a brand that makes a thing called a Gelli Plate that you can do printmaking with, without carving anything. I want to try it some day and am watching videos trying to wrap my head around how the process works.
Polymer clay artist who works with an awesome neon color palette.
Gentle parenting with flair.
Makes fitness content that's really inclusive for people with disabilities
A professional organizer with such a kind, gentle approach (and demeanor!)
Polymer clay artist who's great at florals and other botanical elements, who primarily works with beautiful jewel tones.
An inside look at different aspects of foster parenting focused on supporting the child and family reunification, and tips on how to handle different scenarios as a foster parent.
On a mission to share the good news that care tasks are morally neutral and you can choose to prioritize functioning in your space over aesthetic perfection.