Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, written by Kate Lindsay and edited by Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Rachel Karten, a social media consultant and writer of the newsletter, which she just expanded with a paid tier that includes access to a community Discord and other perks. Rachel is on flavored water TikTok, reluctantly plays the LinkedIn game, and posts cursed products she finds at Erewhon on Instagram. —Nick
Link in Bio and Embedded are the SpongeBob and Patrick of internet newsletters. Subscribe to us both!
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
RACHEL KARTEN: Probably this. It’s so bad and perfect.
It was featured in my friend Ian Marshall’s newsletter. He basically just rounds up lots of good/bad/weird internet posts like this and this. Highly recommend.
EMBEDDED: What shows up on your TikTok For You page?
RACHEL KARTEN: Right now? So many horrible CapCut trends. I am stuck in this infinite loop of couples showing what they’d look like when they are older, Pedro Pascal eating a sandwich, and the blonde filter. They are so pervasive on my feed even though I hate them! I’m beginning to think ByteDance is just pushing them in an effort to get more people to use that app in case TikTok gets banned.
Other than that, I’m on flavored water TikTok.
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EMBEDDED: Has your Twitter experience changed since Elon Musk took over? What would it take for you to quit?
RACHEL KARTEN: I hadn’t noticed a huge difference in my experience since Elon took over—but the recent ban (and unban) of Substack links changed that. Twitter is one of the biggest ways I promote and talk about my newsletter so it was a little tricky to do that when the links were banned.
Funny enough it was during the ban that I had one of my biggest traffic days to my newsletter thanks to a Twitter thread. I didn’t link to the post (I couldn’t) but the buzz surrounding the thread actually led to a significant amount of traffic. Thanks Elon!
EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
RACHEL KARTEN: Both my Twitter and LinkedIn can lean a little professional, so I use my Instagram to be my more “full self.” Wow that sounds dark! On Instagram I post a lot of food I’m cooking (I ran social at Bon Appétit for four years), cute pictures of my dogs, some social strategy tips, and cursed products at Erewhon.
EMBEDDED: Have you had posts go viral? What is that experience like?
RACHEL KARTEN: This tweet I wrote about actually liking SKIMS marketing went viral. It is so wild when something goes viral on Twitter because there’s this distinct shift that happens. It goes from everyone agreeing with you (or at least constructively building on what you said) to everyone hating on you. The responses went from “I gasped when I saw this on Instagram. It viscerally brought me joy” to “It shouldn’t pain you to admit that a woman-owned business is doing well for themselves.” I had to mute it.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
RACHEL KARTEN: For some inexplicable reason Kate Berlant follows me on Instagram. It’s probably a mistake and, if she sees this, please don’t unfollow me!
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
RACHEL KARTEN: Not exactly a person, but the team behind MAMA, an account dedicated to preserving immigrant culture through food, makes some of the best Reels I’ve ever watched. This one is my favorite.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
RACHEL KARTEN: Martha Stewart because she so clearly runs her Instagram herself.
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite Substack or other independent newsletters?
RACHEL KARTEN: I feel like my Substack diet consists mainly of food newsletters and internet newsletters.
For food, I read, , , , , , and .
For internet, I read Embedded,, , and .
Read: My Internet with Carla Lalli Music, Folu Akinkuoto, and Ryan Broderick
EMBEDDED: What’s one positive media trend? What’s one negative trend?
RACHEL KARTEN: Algorithms that feed you personalized content.
Algorithms that feed you personalized content.
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
RACHEL KARTEN: I mainly listen to How Long Gone and Poog. I either listen while driving, cooking, or attempting to fall asleep.
EMBEDDED: How has using LinkedIn benefitted you, if at all?
RACHEL KARTEN: This is me posting on LinkedIn.
When I launched my newsletter I knew LinkedIn would be a helpful platform to distribute on. But every time I try to post about the newsletter in my normal voice and style of writing, it tanks. And when I jazz up the post with a catchy hook, use emojis as bullet points (painful!), separate my paragraphs into one-line sentences, it takes off.
I play the game because it has brought me a lot of newsletter subscribers, but I hate that I am contributing in any way to the toxic thought leadership vibes of the platform. I promise I’ll never post myself crying on there, though.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Discord, Slack, or Facebook? What’s the most useful or entertaining one?
RACHEL KARTEN: I just launched the Link in Bio Discord for paid subscribers! So I’m in there both participating and moderating.
I am also a lurker in several Discords like Sidechannel,, and Garbage Day.
EMBEDDED: Do you typically start searches on Google, Reddit, TikTok, or another source? Have you tried AI-powered search on Bing or elsewhere?
RACHEL KARTEN: I think I use Google and TikTok equally in terms of searches. I will use Google if I am looking for more research- or news-based results. I will use TikTok if I am looking for a product review or a more opinion-based result.
EMBEDDED: What most excites you about AI text and art generators? What most concerns you?
and she had this quote about knitting and imperfections:
RACHEL KARTEN: I was reading Haley Nahman’s
“Mistakes get you compliments.” Perfectly knitted things look manufactured, while little mistakes lend pieces a homemade charm, more likely to garner questions of origin and words of admiration.
AI art feels too perfect.
EMBEDDED: Do you have any predictions for cryptocurrency, the metaverse, and/or Web3?
RACHEL KARTEN: No. Not a fan.
EMBEDDED: What’s your most-used messaging app?
RACHEL KARTEN: Probably Instagram DMs.
EMBEDDED: Do any of your group chats have a name that you’re willing to share? What’s something that recently inspired debate in the chat?
RACHEL KARTEN: I’m in a group DM with my old co-workers Carla Lalli Music and Emily Schultz called “Team Sosh.” Our last debate was about why LA Times Food chose this illegible font.
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
RACHEL KARTEN: Something about this emoji just speaks to me 😮💨. I feel like it kind of just works in any scenario. “Just finished making chicken parm 😮💨” or “Want to come over later? 😮💨”
It’s less of an emoji with a specific meaning, and more of a state of mind.
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
RACHEL KARTEN: I do and I love them. If you send a text asking for someone’s thoughts on something and you get a voice note back, you just know it’s going to be juicy.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
RACHEL KARTEN: Been listening to a lot of Remi Wolfe lately.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
RACHEL KARTEN: Probably Chairish. I love going down shopping deep dives of things I don’t need.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?
RACHEL KARTEN: This tweet!
Thanks Rachel! Subscribe to Link In Bio. 😮💨
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Team Sosh is now BOTH an IG DM group and a group chat on phone, which is how you know it's absolutely huge.