My Internet: Gita Jackson
The Motherboard writer already spends all their time in the metaverse.
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 Gita Jackson, a staff writer at Motherboard, where they recently wrote about people making Amazon delivery drivers dance on security cameras for TikToks. Gita engineered their YouTube algorithm to get at least one 30-second-or-less cat video recommended every day, has a favorite Sims YouTuber who also faves all their Bernie Sanders tweets, and says Final Fantasy XIV is the metaverse but with better parties. —Nick
What's a recent meme or other post that cracked you up?
If you know, you know:
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
A long time ago I decided that if my Twitter was public, then my Instagram would be private. I do have a public one now that I update mostly for the sake of keeping the account active, so there’s no particular aesthetic there. But when I go back to the deepest history of my original, private account, it’s all just indie sleaze. Lots of blurry photos of drunk people at basement shows, vague captions, light leaks and lens flares.
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
At this point it’s almost entirely streamer highlights. I love Hasan Piker, but I am usually working when he’s live, so my partner and I watch the highlights over breakfast on the weekends. My other favorite YouTuber is LilSimsie, a Sims YouTuber who also streams and puts her highlights on her YouTube channel. She is just so kind and empathetic, as well as having a truly inspiring design sense when it comes to making Sims houses (and she also faves all my Bernie Sanders related tweets).
Do you ever tweet? Why?
I keep asking myself this question and basically it’s just because I have ADHD. Sometimes you get a thought stuck in your brain and it needs somewhere to go—that’s a tweet.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
It keeps happening to me on Twitter, perhaps most famously when I said that I thought Hermione Granger was annoying, and it’s a truly unpleasant experience. At this point, I mute anything that gets over a certain number of retweets. By that time no one is actually going to be talking about what I said, but what they think I said.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
On Twitter, my friend Max Neely-Cohen.
Who's someone more people should follow?
On Twitter, my friend Max Neely-Cohen.
Are you a fan of any NFT art or artists? Do you have strong feelings about blockchain tech or cryptocurrencies?
I play a lot of video games, and that community has done a really good job at explaining the issues with NFTs. In particular, some gaming YouTubers have made what I think are really great videos breaking the inherent problems.
There is a certain kind of gamer pedantry that allows people like me, who are already fascinated by digital systems and digital economies and how they work, that makes it easy to break all this down. The systems that people describe as what NFTs have the potential to be already exist, and if you played an MMO or traded Steam trading cards, you’d know that.
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
I love, love, LOVE the podcast Homestuck Made This World that my friends Michael Lutz and Cameron Kunzelman produce for their little podcast network Ranged Touch. Similar to their other podcast where they read every Stephen King work in publication order, this is a broad look at the entire history of Homestuck, including its complex relationship to its fandom. If you’ve never heard of or read Homestuck, this is the only way I think you can really understand what it was like to read the comic as it was updating. They also make a serious—and compelling—case that Homestuck is the model for relationships between fandom and creators that are now being utilized by major corporations like Disney.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
Six seconds is a perfect amount of time for physical comedy, and not enough time to discourse. A perfect format, which of course means it had to die a senseless death.
Are you playing any games right now? Do you watch any gamers live stream on Twitch or another platform?
All I have been doing recently is playing Crusader Kings III and Final Fantasy XIV, both of which are incredibly engrossing games that take up literally all of my time. They both have the quality of, what if a video game were also a deeply personalized television show that has hundreds of episodes, but expressed in radically different ways. My current mission in Crusader Kings III is to use the newly founded Empire of Ghana to take control over the northern African continent, but I have to take a break because I have a looming succession crisis on the horizon and I miss being a catgirl in Final Fantasy.
How excited—or apprehensive—are you about the metaverse?
The metaverse already exists and it’s called Second Life. I am truly not joking about that—everything about the metaverse already exists in games like Second Life or Final Fantasy XIV, and they have way better parties.
What's your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
🥴 , that’s the default emotion a lot of days truly.
What's a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve streamed a lot lately?
My dad got me a Sonos speaker for Christmas a few years ago, and I mainly use it as an alarm clock at this point. For the past month or so, the go-to album for my alarm was the Talking Heads live album Stop Making Sense. I had my entire morning routine timed down to the minute, song by song, and if I wasn’t out of bed by the time by the last track I’d be fucked for work. I have since switched to the new Utada Hikaru album—they/them excellence.
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
I play this game all the time in my head because I truly resent how streaming services have essentially re-created cable packages. Ironically, out of all the services I currently use, I’d probably keep HBO Max because, while it is frankly a terrible app that constantly crashes, it has different curated “channel” landing pages, including one for TCM and another for Adult Swim. It’s nice to be able to watch a curated selection of older movies every once in a while. Plus, HBO Max has Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
What's the most basic thing that you love online?
Cat videos. I have engineered my YouTube algorithm so that I get at least one new-to-me cat video that’s 30 seconds or less in my recommendations every day. I will watch any video of a cat, doing anything, at any time. Cats are just extremely cute, and they don’t even know what the internet is!
What's one thing you recommend for maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet?
Regularly talk to people who do not use the social media platforms you use. Regularly talk to people who aren’t online, at all! The amount of people who use the internet all day, every day is actually pretty small. The dramas that happen online are fleeting—most only last a day, if that. That isn’t to say that the internet isn’t real life, but that it’s just a part of real life. The world is so much more interesting than just what’s on your Twitter feed.
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