My Internet: Imani Gandy
The reproductive rights expert very much enjoys being popular on Twitter.
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 Imani Gandy, a Senior Editor of Law and Policy at Rewire News Group and co-host of the podcast Boom! Lawyered, who has been outspoken about Senate Bill 8, the new Texas law effectively banning abortion, and the ramifications of the Supreme Court allowing it to go into effect via the “shadow docket” earlier this week.
Imani likes getting responses to tweets at 3 am, regrets ending her reality TV moratorium, and believes Substack has become a breeding ground for people who think they don't need editors but really do. —Nick
PS: We’re taking Labor Day off. We’ll see our paid subscribers tomorrow, and everyone else on Wednesday!
What's a recent meme or other post that cracked you up?
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic?
Nope. I don't use instagram that much. I frequently forget it exists.
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
Mostly British panel shows and sometimes video game tips and strategies.
Do you ever tweet? Why?
All the time. I've built my brand on Twitter over the last ten years. I'm a pretty decent influencer (as much as I detest that word) and I just really enjoy sharing my knowledge of abortion law, photos of my dog, tales of adventures with my parents, and my Supernatural live tweets.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
It happens so frequently that I'm used to it, honestly. So it doesn't affect me one way or the other.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
Mark Ruffalo, Seth Rogen, Patton Oswalt, Audra McDonald, Paul F. Tompkins, Tawny Newsome, Questlove, Mandy Patinkin. There are quite a few.
Who's someone more people should follow?
Vinny Thomas. He's absolutely hilarious.
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
Do you ever comment on or reply to posts?
I reply on Twitter because that's my ecosystem and I have friends that I've made there. Sometimes I reply to posts I think are ignorant. I try not to be a "reply guy" because I think that's annoying.
Where do you tend to get your news?
What's your favorite non-social media app?
What are you willing to pay for online?
I like buying art and jewelry from people on twitter who have etsy shops. I like to support people's patreons if I like what they're creating.
Are you a fan of any NFT art or artists? Do you have strong feelings about blockchain tech or cryptocurrencies?
I don't even really know what NFT art is. I don't have strong feelings about cryptocurrency other than what I've read about it being really terrible for the environment.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
Mona Eltahawy's Feminist Giant is the only substack I pay for. I think substack has become a breeding ground for people who think they don't need editors, but they really do. And because of its pay scheme, people end up writing a lot of bullshit I don't care about.
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
I listen mostly to comedy podcasts. This Paranormal Life, How Did This Get Made, No Such Thing as a Fish, The Read, Comedy Bang Bang, My Dad Wrote a Porno. I usually listen at night when I'm falling asleep or when I'm walking my dog.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
I am nostalgic for Vine. There were a lot of really great Black creators and I feel like there wasn't as much appropriation as there is with TikTok.
Do you consider yourself part of any specific online communities?
Repro community, Black feminist community, gaming community to a lesser extent.
Are you regularly in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What are they about?
Not really. I definitely turn to Reddit when I'm looking for information about video game strategies, but I don't post. I belong to a Discord for Black Girl Gamers, but again I haven't posted in ages. I use Slack for work and sometimes to keep up with friends.
Are you playing any games right now? Do you watch any gamers live stream on Twitch or another platform?
I do play games avidly. Right now I'm super into Paladins. I sometimes watch streams, but not avidly.
How excited—or apprehensive—are you about the metaverse?
What the hell is the metaverse? lol
Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
No. What is the point? Either text me or call me. Actually don't call me. Just text me. Actually maybe don't text me either. Send a carrier pigeon.
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?
This Bridge Called My Slack is my favorite name, but we've been defunct for a while due to the pandemic.
What's your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
I use the laughing emoji a lot because as a Black woman with the handle AngryBlackLady, I want to make sure my tone doesn't come across as too severe.
What's a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve streamed a lot lately?
I've been listening to a lot of K-pop lately. Also my best friend is really trying to get me into country—it's sort of working. I really like Maren Morris now and I didn't before!
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
What's the most basic thing that you love online?
I love the Twitter following I've built. I like being popular on Twitter. I like being a voice people turn to. Maybe that makes me shallow. I hope not! But I enjoy being able to tweet something at 3 AM and have multiple responses. Tweeting when no one responds is like tweeting into the void. At least that's how I felt when I had few followers a decade ago.
Is there any content you want that you can't seem to find anywhere online?
A reasonably priced dress with pockets.
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
I use amazon and overstock. I bought an imac recently. I stopped using eBay after I got drunk once while I was living in LA and ended up buying tickets to see Les Miserables in Philadelphia where I hadn't lived in 15 years.
What's one thing you recommend for maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet?
Don't doom scroll. If you become the main character of the day for saying something insensitive, put down your device and do something else. If your first response is to get defensive, you just get dragged even more. Also don't pick unnecessary fights. (I'm still learning that one.) Finally, it's ok to ignore people. No one is entitled to your time on social media and you don't have to take shit from people.
What's the worst thing about the internet in 2021? How about the best thing?
Worst: COVID conspiracies. Nazis. Every jackass with a phone thinks they're a TikTok star. Best: Social media gives people living alone a social outlet during a time of severe isolation.
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