In hopes of wrapping up these series of blogs in style, I thought I would document the A to Z of things I have discovered through the Internet that significantly and qualitatively enriched my existence over the years!
A for AMA
AMA (or /r/IAmA; Ask me Anything) is a subreddit for interactive interviews, ranging from various celebrities to everyday people in several lines of work. When I first discovered AMA was a thing, I was absolutely thrilled! The whole concept of someone sharing the peculiarities of their individual life experience with the virtual masses felt revolutionary to me because that type of knowledge exchange could not have been as lucrative and streamlined as it is without the Internet. Check out this Mashable-curated list of sick Reddit AMAs
B for Button Poetry
Button Poetry is a Minnesota-based organization dedicated to developing an effective system of production, distribution, promotion, and fundraising for performance poetry. Somehow, it made such a dramatic difference in my life, continents away in my bedroom in Doha. I was regularly inspired and in awe of the talent that was displayed on their channel which only pushed me to write more (and get better!)
I remember watching Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s ‘My Spanish’ and immediately writing ‘My Arabic’ because of how deeply it moved me.
C for Crash Course
Crash Course is the bee’s knees. The summer before I started my Psychology A-Levels, I watched every single Crash Course video on Psychology I could find and took notes. Aside from that, I also serially binged the Philosophy, Film History, Media Literacy, and Literature series. Personally, I really enjoyed the way the information was such a great fit for me in terms of infotainment; subjects I was passionate about were covered thoroughly, illustrations and animations used as a study aid, quotes and anecdotes sprinkled in there for context. 10/10, would recommend!
D for Duolingo
Duolingo is such a gift to humanity!
Learning languages gets a little tougher every year, with less time on our hands and more things taking up our mental harddrive’s storage space. Duolingo is currently helping me overcome my fears about speaking with people in the various languages I want to learn and it’s also doing that through a very enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing method. I love their Stories function (it’s been helping with my Spanish a lot, as you can see) but of course, Duolingo can’t gather the motivation for you (as you can see from my Dutch score lol #shame)
E for Empowerment
The Internet not only deserves credit for making English feel like my native language, but it also deserves credit for showing me that I can feel empowered through conversations, knowledge, books, documentaries, music, art, and so so so much more. I felt like the world was at my fingertips because everything I developed an interest in, I could expand on and learn more about. Additionally, having my own little home on the internet allowed me to develop my voice and sense-of-self. Getting lame comments from ‘haters’ under my understandably cringe-worthy videos pushed me to keep making things and to give even less sh*ts haha!
F for Filleosophie
The first blog I ever made was on the ever-so-sexy platform Blogger and it was called Filleosophie (like fille = girl, but like also philosophy, lol, get it?) and I curated so many playlists, collages, angsty poems and the like on there for a solid 5 to 6 years before I migrated to WordPress.
G for Goodreads
Goodreads was my younger bookworm self’s w*t dream and I have zero shame about that. Something about being able to curate the books you hope to read or are currently reading on a virtual bookshelf, interact with other readers and compare reviews of books you’ve both read was magical to me. Also, for younger children who are looking to get incentivized to read, these types of cyberspaces can be incredibly motivating as they invigorate the element of competition.
I’m currently reading Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith – how about you? If you’ve got a Goodreads, hmu!
H for Hannah Witton
Hannah Witton is an English Youtuber, author, and podcaster who creates content mostly focused on relationships, sex and sexual health, intersectionality, literature, and travel. I have been following her work for over 6 years now and have always admired her transparency about sensitive subject-matters from detailed insights into her finances to engaging and educating conversations on fetishes, contraception (through her series The Hormone Diaries), and sexuality.
(Sidenote – She also created this (hilarious) series called Drunk Advice and the first rule of participating was to be drunk or – if you don’t drink – be in the spirit of drunk which I found very inclusive 👏)
I for Instagram
Yes I know it’s uncool to like Instagram, but I like Instagram. I love curating my feed, I love seeing other people’s art and their music recommendations on their Stories. I also thoroughly enjoy the potential for interaction that the app provides (and I definitely enjoy poll-ing my followers for this course’s blog posts).
J for Just Between Us
Just Between Us (JBU) is an LA-based odd-couple comedy channel from ‘co-dependent besties’ Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn who at first glance post advice segments and sketches but more often than not are exhibitionists of their eccentricities. They discuss mental health and relationships very candidly, both very open about their experiences. Gaby also has a podcast called Bad With Money where she discusses the intricacies of money that we don’t often get into societally. I had to mention these gals because they also played an important role in my personal and social development as I also felt empowered to engage and open up in the dialogue about things like sexuality, minimum wage, OCD, depression, jealousy, etc!
K for Google Keep
Pretty handy, if I do say so myself!
L for Leiden University Catalogue
Saves me every time. Thank you to our university for digitizing our resources, big GG.
M for Music Youtube (& Meditation)
Idk man, I love YouTube Music & I love to Meditate and once again YouTube makes that stuff so ultra-accessible for me.
If you’re interested, give these a watch: Meditating 1 Hour a Day is Changing my Life & 1 Year of Meditation: What I’ve Learned
N for NaNoWriMo
When I first found out that National Novel Writing Month was November – my actual birthday month – I looooost it. NaNoWriMo is an annual Internet-based creative writing project where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. The website provides tips and tricks on combatting writer’s block, info on where local participants are meeting to write together, and even handbooks on creating believable characters with depth. Honestly learned so much from my first NaNoWriMo despite struggling to get past 30,000 words!
O for Offline
Just as much as the Internet is a dream, it can also be limiting, draining, saturated, and distracting. So sometimes going offline can do the trick so you can appreciate the online once again.
P for Polarr
Not much to say here except that the Polarr Photo Editor (which is available on all major platforms and OS) is absolute quality and I really enjoy using it. Thank me later 😉
Q for Quizilla
Honestly, I have no idea how or why I remembered this website existed but yeah…it was a game-changer. Basically an online community of user-generated content including Hogwarts house quizzes and reader inserts. (Basically, Twitter #imagines before they were Twitter #imagines)
R for Rosianna Halse Rojas
Rosianna is a writer, video blogger, project manager, literary critic, and producer. By now, you can probably guess I’m a sucker for strong women who are out there excelling and pursuing their careers to the max. I always appreciated her intersectional and insightful perspective, her honesty & her love for books.
If you wanna check her out, these might be a good start – How To Get Back Into Reading (with my other bae Sanne) & 24 Things I’ve Learnt in 24 Years
S for Sci-Hub
Sci-Hub is the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers (78,699,727 at the time of writing this piece). The widest possible distribution of research papers, as well as of other scientific or educational sources, is artificially restricted by copyright laws. Such laws effectively slow down the development of science in human society. Sci-Hub provides access to hundreds of thousands of research papers every day, effectively bypassing any paywalls and restrictions.
Oh and Spotify & SoundCloud
T for Tavi Gevinson
Tavi Gevinson appeared on the Forbes 20 Under 30 in Media list in both 2011 and 2012 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 by Time magazine. Now, these accolades don’t even matter because the impact she had on my internet journey was completely personal. She came to public attention at the age of 12 because of her fashion blog Style Rookie and moved on to be the founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Rookie.
Since we are around a year apart in age, I was incredibly inspired by her trajectory when 7 years ago she had her own Ted Talk titled Still Figuring It Out, and I truly connected with a lot of the things she spoke about. Artistically, however, the online magazine was quite a turning point for my own creative endeavors as I started to branch out my interests and art styles through the things I was discovering on Rookie.
U for Understanding
This isn’t a site or a person, but I feel it is a crucial part of my Internet relationship. The online world has expanded my horizons, broadened my interests, honed my skills, and most of all opened up the doors for me to communicate with and work towards understanding people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, religions, orientations.
V for Vice
Vice claims to be: The Definitive Guide To Enlightening Information. Their immersive and often bizarre stories have made me speculate on the ways I think about culture, crime, fashion, politics, and funny enough, the internet itself.
W for WIRED
I remember being so excited when my high-school best friend gave me his login details for Wired. Wired is an American magazine focused on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and politics. Definitely worth the subscription – I might just treat myself to it this holiday.
X for X.Company
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin always believed in investing some of the company’s resources in hard, long-term problems. In 2010, a new division forms to work on moonshots: sci-fi sounding technologies that aim to make the world a radically better place. They claim to approach projects that have the aspiration and riskiness of research with the speed and ambition of a startup. Badass.
Y for YouTube (& Yoga)
*In fact they come hand in hand quite well!*
YouTube was such a foundational part of my learning process over my years on the Internet, if you couldn’t already tell from how YouTube-oriented this list is! I would listen to TedTalks for hours whilst painting or sticking things into my scrapbook before looking up interviews with filmmakers and authors I was infatuated with, trying to soak up every little bit of knowledge or information they had to offer. And honestly, I feel like I gained a lot from the platform. As a matter of fact, I even gained my own filmmaking skills through the platform by making my own videos since I was about 13 (fortunately most of them are private now)!
As for the yoga element – I really appreciate that YouTube brings me quality content like Yoga with Kassandra and Yoga with Adriene directly to my screen, allowing me to regularly spice up my practice or have the ability to take it everywhere with me, be it on holiday or my bedroom floor. Over the summer, this made the world of a difference to me and I didn’t feel the need to put my practice on hold because my own routine was supplemented by this accessibility.
Z for Zane Lowe on Beats 1
Zane Lowe is the best interviewer alive right now and if you disagree, come fight me. I’ve always had a love for the arts; from music to films and listening to Zane ask the creators I admired, the questions I actually cared about the answers to, was quite enlightening. It felt like his interviews broke the barrier between consumer and creator by providing insight into the music- or filmmaking process that I felt I could actually learn something from. Here’s him interviewing Kendrick Lamar on ‘DAMN‘ and interviewing Halsey and director Baz Luhrmann on ‘hopeless fountain kingdom‘
That’s all from me, folks! Thank you for reading my A to Z of the Internet 🙂