My Internet: Chris Black
The How Long Gone co-host can't muster up an iota of interest in TikTok.
Every Friday, we quiz a very cool “very online” person to get their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Chris Black, the founder of Done To Death Projects, an agency based in New York City and Los Angeles, and the co-host of the podcast How Long Gone with Jason Stewart. Chris longs for the days of appointment TV on basic cable, is willing to pay for newsletters with editors, and likes to write “LMAO” under bad outfits on UpscaleHype. —Nick
What's a recent meme or other post that cracked you up?
I often talk about how memes are the only thing that genuinely make me laugh anymore. We are all so focused on our little worlds that general observations about society don’t harness the same humor that they once did. We all seem to want things to be niche and hyper specific based on our tastes.
I think Nolita Dirtbag is great for hyper niche NYC streetwear adjacent stuff. I also follow dc36k. A recent meme he posted about Online Ceramics made me chuckle. The list is long: Catatonicyouths for insane music memes, America At Brand Memes for Los Angeles specific stuff, and of course, Patiasfantasyworld. But there are countless every day. It’s social media’s redeeming quality.
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
Unfortunately, yes. Mostly interiors or art with a white frame. I wish I could walk it back, but it’s been too long. So I just own it and take my lumps.
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
Old late-night TV musical performances. Son Volt doing “Windfall” at Austin City Limits in 1996, The Stone Roses doing “Waterfall” on The Other Side Of Midnight in 1991, etc. I have a giant list to save them all and revisit my favorites. The other major category for me is chiropractor videos. It’s a dark world, but I get immense pleasure from taking in a couple of hours of adjustments. I should probably talk to a professional about it.
Do you use TikTok? If so, how would you describe what shows up on your For You Page?
I recognize that it is probably the most critical emerging category on social media, but I just can't muster up an iota of interest. I see clips here and there on Instagram or in a group chat, but I don’t engage past that. I have been warned that the algorithm is too robust and will be sucked in quickly.
Do you ever tweet? Why?
Multiple times a day, rain, sleet, or snow every day. It’s the platform that I feel is the most fun. It’s not as aesthetically driven as Instagram, and if you follow the right people, it can be a great mix of information and humor, which are the only two things I am trying to get online.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
Of course! It’s terrible, and you just have to mute the conversation and keep it moving. The dopamine hit that comes with thousands of likes is not worth the distraction. Also, it usually turns negative at a certain point.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
John Mayer, my guitar hero, follows me on Twitter.
Who's someone more people should follow?
Tiwa Select for interiors, 5tshirts for incredible vintage t-shirts, Climax Books for obscure titles of all sorts, Karyn Lyons for beautiful paintings, rg_bunny1 for anything and everything, Steven Phillips-Horst for laughs, Kaitlin Phillips for the best takes on culture and NYC, and Page Six for the poetic headlines.
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
Phoebe Bridgers is a pro. Her understanding of social media and how to use it is masterful and part of why she is so successful.
Do you ever comment on or reply to posts? Which platforms? Why?
I like to write “LMAO” under bad outfits on UpscaleHype. I can’t help myself.
Where do you tend to get your news?
The New York Times, Financial Times, WSJ, New York magazine, HITS Daily Double, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Mail (U.S. Version) for celebrity gossip.
What's your favorite non-social media app?
I use Resy a lot for dinner reservations. It works well and doesn’t have the same lousy design stink as OpenTable.
What are you willing to pay for online?
Legacy media paywalls, newsletters with editors, and friends projects I want to support.
Are you a fan of any NFT art or artists? Do you have strong feelings about blockchain tech or cryptocurrencies?
It’s abysmal. I know it’s not about the art, but the art is hard to look at. Call me old, but paying thousands of dollars for a digital drawing of a cartoon wearing streetwear is profoundly lame. I am sure people will get laughably wealthy off of it and more power to them, but I could not be less interested.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
I do my best to avoid podcasts since we make three a week. However, I like to listen to The Joe Budden Podcast, which has zero point or structure. I also like The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast. His opening monologs are very well done and I value his opinion on pop culture.
Do you have an opinion on Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse?
Irrelevant. The Clubhouse boom felt like a pandemic fever dream that lasted six months. But, of course, they have so much money in the bank that they will continue to limp along, but it’s not part of the conversation.
When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
When scouring the internet for fashion reference images, Pinterest is an often overlooked source. But real heads will tell you, there's gold in them thar hills.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
I use Tumblr every day. It’s still the cleanest and most simple app for ref image collection and storage. Most people use Instagram for this purpose now, but I like to keep them separated.
Are you regularly in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What are they about?
I use Slack and Discord for work, but nothing else. I lived through the original chatroom era on AOL, I don’t need to relive it as an adult. But, I think Facebook is important. Most of my friends deleted it, but I look at it fairly often. I compare it to people watching in an airport, it’s a true look at America.
How excited—or apprehensive—are you about the metaverse?
I would say I am more dismissive than apprehensive. It’s obviously happening, but I won’t participate. Buying digital clothes from Balenciaga for an avatar? Dork shit.
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?
I am in a four person group chat that we call “Don’t Yuck My Yums” and all we do is debate. Clothes, music, movies, people, it’s all up for spirited discussion. We just finished discussing how much jail time Ghislaine Maxwell is going to get.
What's your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
✅✅✅—often presented as three in a row. A simple sign of encouragement!
What's a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve streamed a lot lately?
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
I would rather have classic hard-wired cable television or Youtube TV. The onslaught of streaming services competing for our attention is insane. Most of these shows, limited series, and movies are garbage but we race to consume them so we can have something to talk about on social media, or even worse, when we hang out with our friends. I long for the days of appointment TV on basic cable. Binging has been normalized, but it’s not how these things should be viewed.
What's the most basic thing that you love online?
Oh No They Didn’t. A very old school UGC gossip site that is hosted on LiveJournal. I have been looking at it for years and it never gets stale.
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
I use eBay pretty often. I just got a copy of the French fashion magazine Jalouse from July 2009 for reference. I buy a lot of vintage band t-shirts on Instagram. I recently got an original Texas is the Reason shirt in navy blue as well as a ‘90s-era KCRW t-shirt in white.
What's one thing you recommend for maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet?
LOL, I am not the guy to ask. I am pretty logged on and don’t see the need for a “digital detox,” but I am sure that will catch up with me one day. For now, I click and surf.
What's one wish you have for the internet in 2022?
Less performative posting, cutesy millennial infographics, and earnestness.
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