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My Internet: Folu Akinkuotu
The Unsnackable writer must remember to forget when famous people follow her.
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 Folu Akinkuotu, a home cook and baker who writes Unsnackable, a newsletter about obscure snacks and other foods from around the world (previously recommended here by Connie Wang and Josh Gondelman). Folu practices "the golden ratio" on Instagram, listens to chillwave to enter a proto-girlboss state, and will pay to support cool creators she doesn’t have the emotional bandwidth to pursue parasocial relationships with. —Nick
PS: Tomorrow’s paid post is about the lost art of making content on the internet for your friends—not your followers.
What's a recent meme or other post that cracked you up?
This is incredibly weird and dumb, but I spent at least 25 minutes laughing at this video of a wig dryer. Not because it isn't innovative or useful (it is so useful!) but because I love a sight gag.
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
The golden ratio (1/3 selfies and 2/3 food&lifestyle). My preferred food styling vibe is "luxurious void"
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
I'm always watching video reviews of international snacks in other languages to guess how people feel about them from body language and the intonation of words I cannot understand. I've stopped watching actual makeup tutorials but still watch tons of videos of dark-skinned black women swatching makeup products I want to buy. Online product photography is always a lie and I cannot loiter in a Sephora or Ulta right now.
Do you use TikTok? If so, how would you describe what shows up on your For You Page?
Parents pampering pets after telling their teenage or adult children that they did not want a pet, black women, horny and hilarious Olympians, chef himbos (in a non-gendered sense, just hot people making food content)
When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
My vanity knows no bounds. I was name-searching myself.
Do you ever tweet? Why?
I logged into Twitter when I made my first account in 2007 and have been trapped ever since. I tweet because I like to pretend my banal thoughts are worthwhile and to have a place to post pictures of food that takes less forethought than Instagram.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
I've had multiple tweets go viral in different corners of the internet, easily managed with the mute button, but this tweet is the one I will never escape because it transcended Twitter. It found its way to every single millennial content aggregator on Instagram, then to mom internet. Three years later, I'm still getting tagged in posts that get 20k likes on Instagram. I don't hate the tweet itself, but the reminder of how hard it has been to take a fully disconnected vacation the last few years is rough.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
The only thing that allows me to continue using the internet is promptly forgetting when a famous person or someone I admire follows me.
Who's someone more people should follow?
Hanna is one of the foremost Adam Driver thirst accounts on Twitter. She is also so smart and funny. I'm always learning from the variety of perspectives and resources she shares from her account.
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
Issa Rae balances personality and privacy in a very aspirational way.
Where do you tend to get your news?
I mourn Google Reader every day, but I still use an RSS feed for news (Feedly) combined with Twitter.
What's your favorite non-social media app?
The only way I read anything is with the gentle nagging of digital lending from the library on the Libby/Overdrive apps. Reading instead of scrolling keeps my brain from turning into a soft-set panna cotta.
What are you willing to pay for online?
Things that keep me organized, things that make me laugh, and to support people I think are very cool and would pursue a parasocial relationship with if I had the emotional bandwidth.
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
I use Spotify to listen to Criticism Is Dead and Who? Weekly. I tend to save a backlog of episodes for when I'm traveling or deep-cleaning my apartment. I'm not doing enough of either right now so that backlog is pretty deep.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
No one tells you that starting a newsletter invokes the law of attraction to more emails and it makes your inbox feel unsafe. Still, I love newsletters despite struggling to stay on top of my backlog. I love how Arabelle [Sicardi] weaves together beauty, accessibility, climate, and commerce together in You've Got Lipstick on Your Chin and how Alicia [Kennedy] has shifted my understanding of food from a zero-sum game to a series of interconnected systems where brave people are working to make changes. Non-alcoholic beverages are the focus and not an afterthought in Good Drinks. Deep dive Gossip Girl character studies from Suds. Kyrell [Grant’s] eye makes Blessed Images a welcome respite, and Ayesha [Siddiqi] is so insightful and empathetic, no wonder her newsletter is both a salve and a call to action. There are so many, I could sit here and list them all day.
Do you have an opinion on Clubhouse or its clones, like Twitter Spaces?
There is a lot of skill and talent required to moderate/plan successful events using these platforms. It's a fucking shame that the people who are good at it are not getting compensated. But it is... not for me
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
Both, but in different ways. Tumblr because of the ease and intimacy of the early days of friendships that I still cherish today, the lack of pretense in selfie culture, and the act of cataloging inspiration. I love TikTok but I miss the brevity of Vine.
Do you consider yourself part of any specific online communities?
I claim tenuous membership in alt-cakestagram because I don't bake that much anymore but other than that??? I don't know! Less "community" and more "chaotically interconnected online & IRL relationships"
Are you a gamer? What are you playing right now?
I grew up without video games because my parents thought they'd ruin my life so I'm an adult without the motor skills to play most games but I have a switch with Animal Crossing and GRIS and an iPhone download and delete history with a staggering amount of unremarkable games.
What's your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
I was once the 💸 emoji for Halloween. It will always hold a place in my heart because I am expensive and flighty.
What's the most specific or niche music playlist that you like?
I was in college at the height of chillwave and it has a magical power to push me into the proto-girlboss state where I turn off my brain and get things done and the only new music playlist that can reproduce those conditions is my friend Alex's Hyperpop-Focus playlist
Who topped your Spotify Wrapped last year?
The last movie I saw before the lockdown was Portrait of a Lady On Fire. I was alone, I made some sort of yuzu earl grey hot toddy in my zojirushi to bring along, I got there a little late and sat closer to the screen than I have since I was in middle school. It was immersive and wonderful. I held onto that sensation when I was missing films and other parts of life by listening to this song on repeat. A close second on the list was the Succession theme song. I hyper-fixated on it because [composer Nicholas] Britell is a genius.
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
YouTube TV, because no streaming UI will ever be able to replace the experience of flipping through channels and discovering The Holiday is playing on a Tuesday night in July or getting pulled into a weirdly edited syndication rerun of a show you've already seen.
What's the most basic thing that you love online?
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
I browse more than I buy, but I just bought a gorgeous Issey Miyake spread collared dress from The RealReal.
What's one thing you recommend for maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet?
React in the group chat, not on the timeline.
What's the worst thing about the internet in 2021? How about the best thing?
Worst Things- The obvious prank/hoax to outrage cycle, celebrities constantly announcing that they do not bathe. Best Thing? This Russian Makeup Artist with a pet meerkat named John.
Read the previous My Internet posts with Kyle Chayka, Ryan Broderick, Patricia Hernandez, Ben Smith, Rachel Charlene Lewis, Kimberly Nicole Foster, Miles Klee, Connie Wang, Cat Zhang, Josh Gondelman, Andrea González-Ramírez, Rumaan Alam, Hua Hsu, and Alicia Kennedy.