Follow Friday
Twitter trolls, ska music, and goblincore

Ryan Broderick (Garbage Day, The Content Mines)

Ryan Broderick understands the internet better than you do, probably. After being fired from BuzzFeed last year, he launched an independent email newsletter called Garbage Day, which documents and explains the fun and strange and sometimes disturbing things people are posting online. Broderick also hosts the internet culture podcast The Content Mines with British news editor Luke Bailey.

On this episode of Follow Friday, Broderick talks with Eric Johnson about why it's a mistake to assume people are lying online, the implausible fact that email newsletters are cool now, and why making ska music in your bedroom is incredibly cool. Plus: Goblincore!

Follow us:
- Ryan is @broderick on Twitter
- This show is @followfridaypod on Instagram and Twitter
- Eric is @heyheyesj on Twitter

Who Ryan follows:
- Hussein Kesvani
- Casey Newton
- Ska Tune Network
- Morgan Sung

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Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by starfrosch and Katherine Chang.
Full transcript of this episode
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RYAN BRODERICK: I was sort of terrified, in my twenties, of hitting my thirties and being like, "Well, I guess I'll just never understand what music is again!"

ERIC JOHNSON: Can my fellow 30-something Ryan Broderick and I fake our way into sounding like we understand music? The answer is coming up, today on Follow Friday.

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a show about the best people on the internet and why you should follow them. If you tuned into the series debut last week, then thank you for coming back! If you're new to the show, then welcome! Every week, I talk to the internet creators I admire most about who they follow online.

These include podcasters, writers, comedians, musicians, and more, and they all have amazing taste and will guide us to the people they find fascinating, who we should be following too.

Today on the show is Ryan Broderick, the co-host of the podcast The Content Mines and writer of Garbage Day. This is one of my favorite email newsletters. It's about the strange and fun and sometimes disturbing corners of the internet.

I'm recording this intro in February, but I spoke to Ryan on January 5th. And oh! The timing!

Literally one day after we taped this, the US Capitol was breached by domestic terrorists who were radicalized by right-wing internet groups. And a few weeks after that, the Reddit community /r/WallStreetBets gave the real Wall Street a collective heart attack by pumping up GameStop's stock price, causing some hedge funds who had bet against the company to lose billions.

So, Ryan has been keeping very busy explaining all of that in his newsletter, and on his podcast. [laughing] But on January 5, the day I talked to him, the most important internet culture story was "Bean Dad." Remember Bean Dad? Ah, simpler times.

But don't worry, I was prepared for this. I had Ryan read a paragraph from his then-recent newsletter, just in case we had moved on from Bean Dad to less important things by now. Here's what he said.

RYAN: "Over the weekend, John Roderick, a Seattle-based musician, tweeted a thread about how he forced his nine-year-old daughter to learn how to open a can of beans. Jesus Christ, this is all so stupid. In this thread, Roderick claimed his daughter spent six hours trying to figure out how to use a can opener to open a can of baked beans.

In the thread, Roderick repeatedly refers to himself as 'apocalypse dad,' which makes me assume he's some kind of casual doomsday prepper. I also, just in general, assume that every white man on the American west coast who lives north of Los Angeles is some kind of doomsday prepper. I have yet to be proven wrong about this."

ERIC: I live in San Francisco and I am not a doomsday prepper yet, but the year is young. We'll see what happens. You can find in Garbage Day on Substack or by going to garbageday.email.

But we're not really here to discuss Ryan's work. We're here to talk about the people he follows online. So Ryan, welcome to Follow Friday!

RYAN: Thank you for having me. I'm very excited. This is definitely the most sincere podcasting experience I've had. So I'm excited to try this.

ERIC: Well, I was going to ask you: The first time I ever saw anything you did, it was this regular feature you did with Katie Notopoulos and Cates Holderness at BuzzFeed that you used to do, called "The Worst Things on the Internet of ..." 2015, 2016, etc. And you were disturbingly good at finding these really, really just awful things on the internet. And so I'm wondering, like, is this weird for you? Is it hard to unironically recommend good stuff on the internet that people should like?

RYAN: Honestly, no. I really enjoy doing it. I feel like the internet used to be a place where that was very common, where you would just like tell people about a cool thing and then they would check it out and then that was the whole exchange.

ERIC: Yep.

RYAN: Nowadays, that has been taken over by machines, and somehow, it led to the destruction of democracy worldwide. So I'm excited to bring this old art form back. I think it's also very much tied to recommending bad things, you know, recommending anything on the internet. It's a spectrum of content, so I'm excited to try the lighter side today.

ERIC: Awesome. Well, let's dive right in with your first follow. I asked you for someone who makes you laugh, and you said podcaster and writer Hussein Kesvani. He's the co-host of two podcasts: One is called Trash Future, he other is called Ten Thousand Posts. And he wrote a book about the online world of British Muslims called Follow Me, Akhi. So, tell us about Hussein and why he makes you laugh.

RYAN: I worked with Hussein for many years. He's appeared on my podcast, I've worked with him in all kinds of different projects. He recently told me that his completely wild and inappropriate behavior on the internet is ... my fault. He says that he was a normal person before he met me. I don't think that's true.

I think he was just trying to, you know, put some blame on me. For people who've never heard of Hussein, he specializes in male radicalization. His particular wheelhouse, academically, is Muslim radicalization. I think he's very, very sharp about the levers and mechanisms that cause, particularly, Muslim men to gravitate towards religious extremism or misogyny, or radical violence.

But he also understands that character to a level where he's constantly doing it. He's gone viral several times for tweeting out that he's, like, discriminating against white people while working at a coffee shop. I think there was like an incident where he tweeted that he was a doctor that was making babies Muslim at various British hospitals. And then like the hospitals had to email him and ask him to stop doing that.

He'll also tweet stuff like, "Coffee is technically a soup." He's messy. And I'm really jealous of his ability to like play with the more absurd ways we communicate on the internet, and get away with it. I can't do that character, and he can do it so well that I do sometimes wonder if it's even a character.

He claims that it's a bit and he's doing a bit, but yeah, his Twitter account is one I'm just really jealous of. And it's very funny.

ERIC: It always shocks me when people fall for these bits, these like novelty accounts or these characters that people do. Because I feel like — maybe this is just online poisoning, I've just been on the internet for too long and too intensely — but it feels like this happens all the time, where someone will come up with the most obvious, sub-Modest Proposal, obviously fake, character or idea. And then some number of people will very, very earnestly go at it and be like, "I can't believe you would say this! How could you possibly be trying to, what was it? Turn coffee into soup?

RYAN: Yeah. Which, I think coffee technically would be a chili, because it is bean-based.

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: So that's my rebuttal for that one, but no, I know what you mean. Like, growing up on message boards like 4chan and Something Awful, and sort of existing in that world as a teenager and somewhat in college, I always approached the internet as "everyone is doing a bit and everyone's being ironic" and I've been wrong a lot because I sort of give people the benefit of the doubt, where I'm like, "OK, no one is going to use the internet to express a genuine feeling about something they have." And that is not correct anymore. In fact it has gone, definitely, the other way.

ERIC: It used to be ...

RYAN: Definitely used to be! Yeah, because the internet wasn't real, it didn't matter. It was just a place that you'd write any random thing you wanted. And so, there's just been a lot of instances where I have met someone from the internet and realized, "Uh-oh. You're not doing a bit at all. You really believe whatever insane thing you've talked about." Which is interesting in a different way, I suppose.

ERIC: So how much of what you consume — what you read, what do you listen to — is meta commentary about the internet? I feel like this is something that we've seen more and more of, more people like you writing about this internet culture and really taking it seriously. Is this a significant portion of what you're consuming every day?

RYAN: Not at all. [both laugh] The best example I could give is how the folk musician John Darnielle, from the band The Mountain Goats, only listens to death metal. I am not consuming almost any meta commentary and I've gone through phases, I should say.

When I was coming out of college and I was, you know, writing in different places and trying to figure out how things worked and what I cared about, I was reading a lot and I was trying to understand, what is everyone talking about? What's the conversation?

That definitely gives you a perspective. The problem with that is that it can get very boring, very fast. And you miss out on a lot of stuff that I think you get naturally, if you're just a person using the internet. And what I like about the internet is that it's not like an academic journal where you have to pay to access it. Like, anyone can go on the internet and have an opinion about how it works.

ERIC: Mm-hmm.

RYAN: And all you really need to do is just like, think about it. And then you can be like, "OK, this could be better, this could be worse." And so, now that I do Garbage Day full-time, I've basically set up a Reddit account that I really like and makes me feel good. And I set up a Tumblr account, which I've written about a lot, that makes me feel good. And I've tried to create a Twitter experience that makes me feel as un-bad as possible on Twitter, which is hard to do.

And so, now I just sit and consume things that I care about, and it seems to work a little better than trying to like seek out...

ERIC: I'm glad to hear that.

RYAN: Yeah. It's mentally healthier, for sure.

ERIC: Yeah. I mentioned earlier, one of Hussein's podcasts is called Trash Future. I just started listening to it, but I really like it so far. It's it's him and these other co-hosts, and they're talking about tech companies and what technology, and what the internet, is doing to us. They're really funny as they're talking about it.

How optimistic would you say you are about the future of the internet? Future, generally? Do you think we have a Trash Future, or do you think ... I feel like some of this is garbage in, garbage out, right? Where, if you were only consuming garbage, if you weren't curating a positive experience, maybe you would feel differently about this, but what do you think?

RYAN: I'm pretty optimistic. I'm always pretty optimistic. When I approach things optimistically, I think it's easier to look at them critically, because I think it's very easy to be like, "OK, this is bad, and I don't like it." It's a lot harder to say, "This is bad and here's how we fix it." But then if you do that thought process, I think you come away with like a more interesting take.

So I always try to say, "OK, the internet is inherently good, and it's probably the best thing that humans have ever invented other than a spaceship. And it's super cool that we live in a moment where it exists." So, when I go from that approach, it's easier to say like, "Twitter is bad because of X and Y and Z," or "Facebook is turning your brain into soup because of this reason."

And so I think that the technology is incredible. And I think that what you can do with technology now versus what you could do with it when I was in college is blowing my mind. Thanks to the quarantine, I've started like making like electronic music again, cause I can do it in a small room and not get sick.

ERIC: Right.

RYAN: And so I used to do that on GarageBand in college and it was, you know, pretty simplistic. Now, it's totally different. It's a complete different world. And that just happened in the span of a decade.

So, I think what makes me nervous ... my main fear, if we really want to get into it, is the idea that rich people would all move to space. That's like the thing that really freaks me out, because then we can't get them. We can't, you know, control how that goes.

And I think Trash Future, the podcast, and Hussein's work, in particular, to bring it back to him ... What is really sharp about it is that it's not that technology is bad. It's that the stage of capitalism that we're in that drives how technology operates is bad, or at least perverse or grotesque. And that is a much more constructive way, I think, of going about it, than just saying like, "What if screen, but too much?"

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: Instead, it's like, "I don't want to work for the Uber of my industry." And that's a much more useful conversation, I suppose, than doing the Black Mirror thing.

ERIC: Yeah, you can point to, maybe, some solutions rather than just talking about the problem.

RYAN: Yeah, exactly.

ERIC: That was Hussein Kesvani from the podcasts Trash Future and Ten Thousand Posts. He's on Twitter @HKesvani.

Well, let's move on to your next follow. Speaking of solutions, I asked you for someone who inspires you and you said Casey Newton from Platformer. So, I love this pick. I know Casey, he's one of the people I follow who, like you, I think he understands and appreciates the internet in all its complexity. So talk about this, what does he do that inspires you personally?

RYAN: The idea of a good tech newsletter, and the idea that a tech newsletter could be exciting, which is crazy ... if you had told me in my 20s that email could be exciting, I would tell you you're insane.

ERIC: Yeah.

RYAN: That, I credit a lot to Casey. Casey figured out a way to make a newsletter that arrives at night, which is also very interesting, but he made it fun, he made it interesting, he made it, he made it useful, he made it comprehensive, and that is really, really inspiring to me. There are a lot of good reporters, there are a lot of good writers, probably now more than ever. And it's very easy to access them, but I'm always really inspired by people who don't like trend-hop the way they publish.

I really love like, um, like Stratechery, Ben Thompson's newsletter, or Bill Bishop is another good one, Sinocism. And he writes on Substack. These people who were kind of just like, "I fit with this publishing model really well, and I'm just going to focus on that. And the internet is just going to have to like deal with that," in the same way that a Neil Gaiman uses a Tumblr account.

ERIC: He does? I didn't know this.

RYAN: Yeah, my favorite fact about Tumblr is the two main celebrities that use it are Taylor Swift and Neil Gaiman. Both of them are just like, "I have a blog." George R. R. Martin up until, I think, last year or two years ago, was using LiveJournal still.

ERIC: Oh my gosh.

RYAN: Like, I love that idea that the internet doesn't have to become the new thing, if you've found the thing that fits you. If you really like SoundCloud and you're just like, "I'm going to be the SoundCloud guy and I'm going to be like the main person that makes music on SoundCloud" or "I'm going to be the arthouse Vimeo filmmaker."

Like, I find that very inspiring, because it's like wresting back the control that companies like Facebook and Twitter want you to feel like you don't have.

ERIC: Right.

RYAN: So Casey, to me ... To write about technology on a medium that cannot be manipulated by powers like Facebook and Twitter is, like, huge. And so, I sort of chase after him.

I also love how much money he charges. I think that's super wild. For people who don't know what I'm talking about, when he launched Platformer on Substack recently, he just made like a rich people class.

ERIC: You get the same newsletter, you just pay a lot more for it.

RYAN: And people are doing it. That's really inspiring. Journalists get really squeamish about the business aspects of journalism, but it doesn't have to be squeamish, because like it's a job, and you should be able to be paid for it. So, yeah, Casey is just all-around inspiring to me. He's also just like a really nice guy...

ERIC: Yup.

RYAN: ... and has been really kind to me over the years. So that helps, too.

ERIC: That helps! [laughs] Yeah. So Platformer, Casey's newsletter, is about the intersection of democracy and tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter and so on. And I was thinking about this and there was a time in the before times, the old internet times, when someone talking about net neutrality, that was like the biggest story on the internet, right?

All of the very online geeks who were online ... that was guaranteed to be front page of Reddit. That was the topic of discussion. And I don't know if you agree with this or not. It feels like, generally speaking, Casey being the exception, most people are not paying very much attention to how the internet is regulated, or not. And I don't know, I'm just wondering if you agree with that, and do you think we should be? Or maybe that's too geeky. Maybe we shouldn't be paying attention to that.

RYAN: No, I mean, we absolutely should be paying attention to it, and there's huge problems with paying attention to it. It's really confusing, on purpose. The companies that the government wants to regulate, they don't make it easy to understand how that regulation works.

ERIC: Yeah.

RYAN: Also, the government doesn't really understand how technology works, so they can't even explain properly what they want.

ERIC: Great!

RYAN: AOC is probably the most digitally literate person we have in the American government. And she's not even that digitally literate! Like, we don't really have anyone at the same level of the companies that they're trying to regulate. And that's really unfortunate.

And so, you know, just the average person wanting to read about this stuff, I suspect most of the times you're hearing about it, it's because like a community like HackerNews or Reddit has created some campaign around whatever's happening and that's really all you're going to get. And the problem with that is that it's just a bunch of white dudes on the internet. So you're not even really getting the information to people who might care about it.

This is starting to change a little bit with the current legislation around like copyright involving Twitch, and Twitch is slightly more of a diverse community, but it's tough. Casey is really good about breaking that stuff down simply, which is great.

I mean, I'll confess, I care about this stuff deeply, and I really struggle writing about it.

ERIC: It's really complex.

RYAN: It's so hard and boring and America, just like, isn't good with regulation. I lived for a long time in the UK and that's its own rat's nest, but the way that Europe deals with the internet, with things like GDPR, it's a lot more proactive and it's a lot simpler to understand than it works in America.

ERIC: That was Casey Newton from the email newsletter Platformer. You can read it on Substack or at platformer.news. We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Ryan Broderick.

[ad]

ERIC: Welcome back to Follow Friday. Ryan Broderick, I asked you for someone we can follow who is super talented, but still under the radar. And your recommendation here totally surprised me. You said the YouTube channel Ska Tune Network. So, tell us about this network and, I guess, your personal feelings on ska music.

RYAN: Oh, man, this is the moment I've been waiting for.

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: OK, so Ska Tune Network is a YouTube musician. I've interviewed them for Garbage Day's paying subscribers. They were one of the first people that I interviewed, and it was simply because I love their channel.

They're a multi-instrument musician, they work with a band called We Are the Union, who are also very good. But the main focus of Ska Tune Network is they take non-ska songs and they do ska covers of them. Now, if you like ska music, like I do, this is very exciting. If you don't like ska music, like I do, it's probably not as exciting.

But the reason why I think this is cool, in a larger context, is that I grew up playing in punk bands and ska bands. Most of my life, I've been listening to this music, going to these kind of shows, playing this kind of music. And the internet has always sort of had this really weird, complex relationship with it.

A lot of the early blogs were kind of "punk D.I.Y."-focused. There was that realm on the internet and it worked really well, recommending albums and sharing old screamo records and stuff. That was cool. But the act of digitally making music was always considered like, "Oh no, we can't do that because that's not authentic."

ERIC: Huh.

RYAN: Like, "it has to be four white dudes in a basement making like the same four-chord music." What I love about Ska Tune Network is they're very, very smart about collaboration. They're using YouTube to maximize how punk and DIY and ska music can travel around the internet. They're not really hung up on how it's made. It's a fun thing, it's interesting, it's exciting. And so even if you don't care about ska music, and I'm sure there are many people who do not, what I do think is really exciting about what Ska Tune Network is doing — and sort of Gen Z musicians, in general, right now — is they're just using the internet to replace the physical spaces that people used to make bands, and they used to make songs. And that, to me, is wildly exciting!

ERIC: Yeah.

RYAN: Because why not? Like, who cares if you're using a drum machine, but you're stacking a bunch of cool stuff on top of it, and everyone's having a good time? Like, who gives a s**t? And I love that feeling. So, whenever I get the chance, I want to talk about Ska Tune Network, because I think they're super, super cool.

ERIC: That's like the most punk thing of all, is rebellion against the agreed-upon standards of punk and ska and the restrictions on what's allowed.

RYAN: That's right.

ERIC: So that's totally wild. I had no idea that that was sort of an act of rebellion.

RYAN: I mean, I'm not even sure younger people find that rebellious. I just remember years and years of being like, "Oh, synths are cool," or, "We don't need to record live." I remember being in a band and trying to cobble together enough microphones to poorly record a drum kit. And it's like, why?!

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: Why do this? We can just make it on a laptop, and stack a bunch of stuff, and have a good time, and just don't worry about it. And so, to see a YouTube musician just having fun in their bedroom with a trombone and doing a cover of "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers for Patreon subscribers, that's the best! And there doesn't need to be anything more complicated than that, honestly.

ERIC: Well, I was going to ask you … So, I was looking at the Ska Tune Network, their past videos, and I saw that they did a half-hour album of music from the video game Undertale, which is extremely my jam. That's an instant click for me. I don't know, maybe they were just playing to the YouTube algorithm because Undertale music covers are very popular, but I was very happy with that. What's your favorite thing that Ska Tune Network has done? What's your favorite thing on the channel?

RYAN: It's a bit of a deep cut, but they covered "Came Out Swinging" by the pop-punk band The Wonder Years.

ERIC: OK.

RYAN: I love that song and I love that cover. But recently, they did a cover of Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" that is so good! It's so good.

ERIC: [laughs] I gotta look that up.

RYAN: My dream is to get big enough at podcasting to commission a bunch of podcast music from Ska Tune Network.

ERIC: That's the dream.

RYAN: That's all I want professionally, is just to do that. And to open it up for non-ska people listening, also what's great, is that the pandemic has finally forced this thing that needed to happen for a long time, of just … music is going to be made, however it can be made. And right now, it's going to be made in bedrooms and put on YouTube, and that needed to happen so many years ago.

ERIC: Yeah.

RYAN: Just like, make live music when you can make live music. Don't make live music when you can't, and get the f**k over it.

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: It's all just ... it's fine. It's OK. Thankfully, now, I think we're in this moment … you know, I'm a huge fan of what Gen Z is doing with emo and rap and like smashing that up. And I don't love all of it, but I find it interesting. They're sampling American football and then putting trap beats underneath it. It's like, OK, sure.

ERIC: Why not? Go for it!

RYAN: That doesn't make sense. It doesn't make any sense, but yeah. What the hell! You want to autotune rap over The Promise Ring? Go for it. It's cool! And I just love that vibe. I love that entire attitude.

As I said, I've liked music all my life. I've played it all my life — poorly, of course — but I've tried. And I was sort of terrified, in my twenties, of hitting my thirties and being like, "Well, I guess I'll just never understand what music is again!" And what I like about the current wave of really strange Gen Z music, and I guess their art in general, is just, like, it's really weird, but it doesn't take a lot to understand. It's not like there's a lot of lore. It's just, "This is a thing. I made it. I put on the internet and people liked it. And so I made more of it." That, I can understand, because I've been doing that my entire life, so I totally get that.

ERIC: That was the YouTube channel Ska Tune Network. You can find them at youtube.com/skatunenetwork. We have time for one more follow today. I asked you to recommend someone you have just started following. You said Morgan Sung, who writes about culture and tech for Mashable. So why did you start following Morgan? And what has she posted that you like?

RYAN: So I realize, at the beginning of this podcast, I was like, "I don't read a lot about the internet! I just experience it naturally!" And then I went on to list three people who write about the internet. And so I'm very cognizant that I'm a bit of a hypocrite there.

ERIC: [laughs]

RYAN: Morgan Sung, I don't know her personally, so I really hope this isn't insanely weird, if she finds out about this, but I am just very envious of her work. I don't know much about her, other than what I've read on Mashable. But there is this wave of younger internet culture reporters, who aren't straight white guys, who aren't writing about Reddit Nazis, and are expanding the beat out to be a lot more interesting than I think it has been in a very long time.

Obviously, the top of this game would be Taylor Lorenz, who I've known for a very long time. And she's like extremely good at this.

ERIC: Incredible.

RYAN: And, uh, just to name-drop some more: Rebecca Jennings from Vox is really good. There are a lot of these people who are doing this. Morgan is a newer name that I've seen pop up, and I read a couple of her pieces and I was just like, "Holy s**t. This stuff is really good."

Her Twitter account is really funny. She just feels like someone who really gets this kind of reporting, really intuitively. I can't say enough good stuff about it. I hope that isn't weird.

ERIC: Just to add onto the weirdness, I was looking back through her history of what she's written for Mashable, and one of her stories has what I think was maybe the best headline of 2020: "Goblincore's Feral Coziness Will Get You Through the Rest of the Year."

RYAN: Oh, OK, I thought you were going to do the bimbo piece. But yeah, this is the kind of stuff that I think she's really, really good at, which is taking these aesthetic trends that are really hard for a lot of older writers to wrap their heads around.

I struggle with them in Garbage Day because there's this feeling of, OK, this is happening and I can see this is happening, but what is there really to say about it? And in fact, on my podcast, The Content Mines, we did a cottagecore episode and my co-host Luke and I were, just at the end of it, like, "What the f**k are we even talking about?"

ERIC AND RYAN: [laugh]

RYAN: Like, are we just talking about a series of images? What is this? And so Morgan has a talent for doing that. The cottagecore one is really good, too. She did a really good bimbo piece about, like, bimbo discourse … which I don't know if anyone's been following ... which is hard to explain, but basically, people were arguing that being a bimbo or wanting to be a bimbo was ableist. It's all very stupid.

ERIC: This is too much for me. [laughs] I'm tapping out.

RYAN: Yeah, it's a lot, but … OK, I'm going to show my age here.

ERIC: Go for it.

RYAN: There used to be this kind of writing on the internet that was probably best done by the website The Awl — which, fun fact, I was the first intern for.

But the reason I liked The Awl so much was because they did this thing that was common, but not done perfectly well in the old internet, which was, you take a very stupid thing and you dig through it all the way to the end. And in the course of doing that, you have come away with a more profound idea of culture or society or politics. And the world of internet writing was really good for that.

It went out of fashion and it has slowly started to become more fashionable again. The Reply All guys are masters of this, as well. Cracked.com used to have like a ton of really good writers who were able to do this. And I'm really happy that it's coming back. And I think Morgan is one of the writers right now who is able to do this really well.

And they're able to synthesize a weird trend, but dig into it all the way, and come out the other side and you feel better, because you've done that journey?

ERIC: Yeah!

RYAN: And that's the kind of writing that can only happen on the internet. You can't really do that in a newspaper or magazine as well as you can on the internet. That's why I think her work is really exciting.

ERIC: Well, it's a great recommendation. Before we go, I do also want to mention another thing she wrote that I loved, called "Skating Kept Me from Being a Depressed Hermit in Quarantine." It was an amazing essay, I really liked that a lot.

RYAN: Yeah. Like, do you remember when Thought Catalog was good? There was a six-month period where the idea of internet writing, and the idea of relatable essays, and the idea of culture writing, all swirled together, and it was interesting and exciting and it was happening on all these blogs. And then it went away, and now it's coming back, and I think Morgan is one of those voices that's able to do that really well.

And once again, definitely check out the stuff that Vox is doing. NBC News has a really good team that does this sort of thing, too. It's good stuff, and I'm excited it's back.

ERIC: That was writer Morgan Sung, who's on Twitter @morgan_sung. Ryan, thank you so much for these follows. Before we go, let's make sure the listeners know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

RYAN: You can follow me on Twitter @Broderick, and you can read my newsletter Garbage Day, which has a brand-new custom domain name as of, literally, recording this podcast. I just got the alert — it's garbageday.email. You can go to that and it'll pop right up. It comes out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And I try not to make it boring, so hopefully you'll like that. And yeah, I have open DMs. Shoot me a message. Say hello. Please be nice to me.

ERIC: Yes, please be nice! You can follow me on Twitter @HeyHeyESJ. You can find a transcript of this episode, links, pictures, and more at followfridaypodcast.com.

Our theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie, and our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by starfrosch. Special thanks to Katherine Chang.

Today's show was produced by BumbleCast. You can hire us to help you start a podcast or make your existing podcast better. We work with creators of all backgrounds and experience levels. Learn more at bumblecast.fm.

That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson, reminding you to talk about people behind their backs. And when you do, say something nice. See you next Friday!

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