My Internet: Choire Sicha
The New York magazine editor just reactivated his Twitter.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, by Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Choire Sicha, an editor at New York Magazine, where he recently worked on the team that made the 2022 edition of Reasons to Love New York. He says it’s painless to follow him on Substack because he almost never emails! Choire has only brushed up against main character status a couple times, is pretty active in a Snap group where mostly everyone is a 22-year-old straight man, and rejoined Twitter last night to be part of the problem. —Nick
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
CHOIRE SICHA: Oh, this.
EMBEDDED: What shows up on your TikTok For You page?
CHOIRE SICHA: Right now, it’s: guys trolling cops on camera, grey sweatpants OnlyFans recruiting post, under-qualified Gen Z career coach, user157420837 ripping some years-old rural Chinese viral YouTube repost, lesbian construction worker surreal comedy, huge Midwest garage and heated driveway porn, guys in rugby shorts, gay guy playing Charli XCX for straight people, people with indoor panthers, my beloved roof thatcher (below), hot ASMR arm-wrestling deli guy. (He has a name, and it’s Etienne! Incredible.)
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EMBEDDED: Has your Twitter experience changed since Elon Musk took over? What would it take for you to quit?
CHOIRE SICHA: My experience certainly changed when I disabled my account last weekend. Unclear which of us is going to last longer, my willpower to not contribute to Twitter or his ability to not destroy a business. But: To stop those monsters 1 - 2 - 3… Generally I think you’re supposed to stay places and fight to make them better. If there are Nazis doing Nazi things, you’re supposed to fight the Nazis, not run away. And also it’s not like I’ve given up using Amazon or, like, cars or other things I find morally flawed. But in this case, the one thing Elon Musk wants is for all of us to give him engaged minutes and free content. And the one thing I can easily withhold in protest as an average user is my attention.
But then … he started purging journalists over a misapplied very fuzzy rule. Which makes me think I should reactivate right now so I can go be part of the problem! We live in times with no precedent. [UPDATE FIVE MINUTES LATER]: I’m back on Twitter and it feels fucking amazing. [UPDATE SEVERAL HOURS LATER]: haha well this was wild??? Thankfully Elon’s appearance in a Twitter space was recorded. What an absolute disaster. This real mess of an era will be over soon, but imagine suffering this much as a billionaire owner of a social media platform: This might be my current takeaway.
EMBEDDED: Have you found any good alternatives to Twitter?
CHOIRE SICHA: (Still reeling.) Except for TikTok, there’s no other venue in which someone can hilariously drive-by dunk on someone and have it get like 50K likes. All I want to see is random people I don’t know being hilarious with each other. I truly need Twitter to survive this brief fiasco before being snapped up by private equity. How long could it be? I’m going with Q2 2023.
EMBEDDED: Have you had posts go viral? What is that experience like?
CHOIRE SICHA: (Definitely still reeling.) One of the many ways in which I’m like Olivia Rodrigo is that I’ve spent my life in great agonized conflict on the “look at me” / “don’t look at me” scale. Unlike Olivia Rodrigo, I’ve fortunately only ever approached extremely local virality, and only brushed up against candidacy for main character status a couple times over the decades. You can feel it when it starts to happen and Lord is it a bad feeling, it’s like ocean swimming on the wrong day and you’re like, Oh fuck this is it, I’m going out for good. Why is that a high anyone wants to chase? Except for that there is money out there in the big bad sea. I also love money is the problem.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
CHOIRE SICHA: When I look at people’s profiles on a social media platform, I have to cover up that part of the screen with my hand, in case it says they follow me. It freaks me out to be aware that someone might perceive me. I hope to never know!
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite Substack or other independent newsletters?
CHOIRE SICHA: I bet 50 percent of everyone here says the same thing, but the one newsletter I get the most out of is Garbage Day. He just loves the internet and how perverted we all are and I always learn something.
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite media company newsletters?
CHOIRE SICHA: I keep images blocked in my email so that newsletter operators (and publicists, et al) can’t track my opens. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction!
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
CHOIRE SICHA: Some of us are unable to listen to people talk to them. There’s probably a name for this! I cannot listen to audiobooks, people reading stories, or podcasts, I can’t hear or retain a single word of it. (If anyone has a medical treatment for this let me know, unless it’s Adderall, the devil’s pill.)
EMBEDDED: Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Do you miss it?
CHOIRE SICHA: I’m in a pretty active Snap group where mostly everyone is a 22-year-old straight man, it’s hilarious, and the fact that you cannot turn off notifications THAT SOMEONE IS TYPING in a group on Snap without turning off ALL notifications is just ONE example of that company’s completely unhinged product choices. But yeah I’m on Snap every day and honestly I could not tell you how to save an image in a group chat even though I have recently had a literal Snap employee walk me through it. Completely baffling and charming!
EMBEDDED: When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
CHOIRE SICHA: Pinterest is the only platform that I actively hate and root against, I’m sorry, I know everyone loves it. Pinterest has been part of the horrible end of any chance of Google being a decent repository and retriever of knowledge. The great wasteland that is Google search results is one of most shocking signs of how sick our online culture is. Its amazing and eager bias towards scammers, paid results, and recency is such a disaster for our future. Google is making me stupider every day and Pinterest’s huge ownership of search results without any useful data or respect for ownership is a big part of that.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Discord, Slack, or Facebook? What’s the most useful or entertaining one?
CHOIRE SICHA: I’m in a shockingly large number of groups on all of these, because if I don’t have constant signal input from multiple sources at all hours of the day I feel like I’m dying (invite me to yours!). But we all know the truth, that there is no greater unit of online community more awesome and powerful than a local mom’s Facebook group. (My local mom’s Facebook group is so powerful, like a sleeping volcano, that it has 2.0 in the name, because the original local group exploded and took out half the county.) No platform can challenge Facebook for this kind of hot mess.
EMBEDDED: Are you playing any games right now?
CHOIRE SICHA: Shut up, please, but I play Fortnite every day, and it rules, and I don’t care what you say, and my weird alternate-reality life dream is to work at Epic Games. Like once a month I look at the Epic Games job listings and realize I am not qualified to do any of the things there. If anyone at Epic ever reads this somehow, I am a very good facilitator of creative teams of different disciplines and I have never missed a deadline in my life! I hope my bosses do not read this, I like my job.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite messaging app?
CHOIRE SICHA: I went back to Apple solely for the texts not long ago. It happened right when they announced that they were getting edited texts, because I’d just sent one of my straight married dad friends an accidentally dirty autocorrect message. I typed “You’re going to get soaked” and I didn’t see that it autocorrected to “You’re going to get sucked.” This set gay-straight relations back a decade and I wanted to die.
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?
CHOIRE SICHA: NO NARCING ON THE GROUP CHATS. GROUP CHATS ARE SACRED NO MATTER HOW OFTEN KATIE NOTOPOULOS TRIES TO DOX OR RUIN THEM.
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
CHOIRE SICHA: What is more chummy and charming than an emphatic voice memo? It’s as special as a letter in the mail, it’s better than a Christmas present. It’s the opposite of a voicemail somehow too even though it is the same thing? How is it possible! I just love voice memos and I gotta double-down on them in 2023. I realize this completely contradicts my complaints about being unable to listen to people but voice memos are different! I want to make something on TikTok or Instagram that has this same kind of good feeling, like getting a sweet and funny private note from a friend, but I can’t crack it yet.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
CHOIRE SICHA: Hey, can people help recommend me songs for my angry running and working out playlist? I just made it collaborative, let’s see what happens, PLEASE HELP, NOT HINDER. I try to spend a couple hours in the gym most days right now and I am nearly out of angry things to listen to. Yes I know Marilyn Manson is on here and he is a truly horrible bad person but THIS IS THE RUNNING AND LIFTING PLAYLIST, PEOPLE, it’s going to be full of bad men. We’re aiming for like 145 BPM but as low as 120 and as high as 170 … just, it has to be good, okay?
Thanks Choire! Subscribe to his Substack.
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