My Internet: Molly Soda
The artist wants less scrolling and more surfing.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, from Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci.
Every Friday, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Molly Soda, a Brooklyn-based artist who makes videos, installations, and web-based interactive works about performing the self, memory, aspiration, and consumer culture. She uses a variety of social media platforms to host her work, allowing it to evolve and interact with the platforms themselves.
Molly searches for vintage bloomers and radish paintings on Etsy, replaces the names of her good friends with single emojis encapsulating their vibes in her contacts, and does karaoke duets on an app. —Nick
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
MOLLY SODA: The Family Feud Instagram account…
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
MOLLY SODA: I spend a lot of time on and make a lot of work around YouTube so: vlogs/lifestyle content, beauty, thrift store hauls, houseplant youtube, Internet analysis/video essays, home tours and interior design content, cleaning videos, and finally, people singing covers alone in their rooms.
EMBEDDED: Do you use TikTok? What shows up on your For You page?
MOLLY SODA: I use TikTok sporadically. If I’m on TikTok it’s because I want to play on my phone before bed and am willing to maybe lose track of time for a while. My For You page is a lot of get ready with me and routine videos, beauty hacks/tips, cooking videos, and these really bizarre smart home videos where everything in the house is highly optimized but somehow seems unnecessary and feels kind of cheap.
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EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
MOLLY SODA: For attention.
EMBEDDED: Do you tweet? Why?
MOLLY SODA: I have two twitters. My main (public) twitter is usually for self-promotion and the occasional thought that feels neutral or funny enough to tweet out to the world. My private twitter has 9 followers and it’s where I do most of my dumping. I use it as a diary because the urge to post when I’m going through it is always going to be there for me and it helps satisfy that urge just on a smaller scale.
EMBEDDED: Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
MOLLY SODA: My friend Sara Sutterlin has a Substack called Realism Confidence where she writes about class and culture. Sara is one of the smartest, funniest and most insightful people I know and I love how candid she is in her writing. Her recent post about navigating modern day intimacy and its fragmentation under capitalism is a great read.
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
MOLLY SODA: I used to listen to podcasts more often when I was going to work in an office/commuting. I find that usually I listen to podcasts when I’m trying to tune out the world/disengage and I listen to music when I’m feeling a bit more stable/connected to my surroundings. My standby, tried and true, will never get tired of podcast is Who? Weekly. I also love JPEG2000 by Vivian Fu and Noah Kalina, particularly this episode on p4p and the formation of online identity/self.
And, if I want to feel super comforted and like I am hanging out with friends I listen to It’s a Beautiful Day in the Gulch.
EMBEDDED: When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
MOLLY SODA: I used to use Pinterest all of the time for moodboarding/brainstorming art pieces I wanted to make. I don’t really use it anymore as I switched over to are.na which allows me to link more than just images and just feels more user friendly and suited to my needs as an artist.
EMBEDDED: Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
MOLLY SODA: I’ll always be a little bit nostalgic for Tumblr since it’s the first platform I really found community on. I still use my Tumblr from time to time.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What’s the most useful or entertaining one?
MOLLY SODA: Reddit and Discord are my private/lurking time online so I won’t divulge too much. I do like to browse my hometown’s reddit from time to time.
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?
MOLLY SODA: I’m in a group chat called “The Cats Are In Love.” I think the name came from a picture of a bottle of wine that had two cats on it… perhaps they are in love.
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
MOLLY SODA: The green heart. It means nothing to me other than I like the color green and it’s fun to sprinkle in. I also use a lot of the smiley emojis that I think are somewhat dated and maybe not cool anymore like the crying laughing one. If you’re a good friend of mine your name in my phone is usually a single emoji that encapsulates your vibe. Surprisingly, I haven’t forgotten who anyone is. It’s fun to scroll through my text threads and see that I’ve been talking to like the ska man emoji and the candle emoji.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
MOLLY SODA: I’ve been listening to a lot more music lately. I feel like I went years without really listening to music. Right now, I’m just getting back into bands I used to really love and obsessively poring over their entire discography to see if I missed anything. Recently I did that with Weezer, now I’m doing it with Ween.
Here’s a playlist where I dump music I stumble upon on YouTube (mostly dance music).
EMBEDDED: Do you pay for a music streaming service, and if so, which one? When was the last time you bought a music download or vinyl record, CD, or tape?
MOLLY SODA: I don’t have Spotify anymore but I recently got a YouTube premium which is worth it for me since I use YouTube for many things. My algorithm is kind of crazy though now that I listen to music there. I also use Bandcamp for streaming/buying music but like… I can’t listen to The Killers on Bandcamp so it has its limitations. Here’s my collection on Bandcamp.
EMBEDDED: If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
MOLLY SODA: I want to say I’d keep the Criterion Channel but I think HBO Max is closer to the amount of trash vs. art that I require.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
MOLLY SODA: Smule. I feel like this is still technically social media but since no one I know is on it it doesn’t really feel like it. It’s a karaoke app where you can do songs alone (if you pay) or do duets with people. I don’t pay for a premium account so I just am constantly joining in on duets. Singing is an instant mood lifter for me. Smule has a weird energy to it, but it also feels really supportive and earnest which is hard to find online.
EMBEDDED: Is there any content you want that you can’t seem to find anywhere online?
MOLLY SODA: I want less apps and more websites. Less scrolling and more surfing. The Internet is structured in such a way that feels really narrow. We’re bouncing around the same few platforms but what am I not seeing? What else is there? I want the feeling of organically finding something cool online that isn’t being served to me via an algorithm. More personal websites!!!! More websites for the sake of just making something weird or cool!!!!! And more ways to find them!!!!!!!
Essay: From Me to My, by Olia Lialina
EMBEDDED: Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What’s a recent thing you’ve bought or sold?
MOLLY SODA: I would say Etsy is my most used platform for shopping if I’m looking for gifts, home decor or vintage clothing. My recent searches on Etsy are: murano glass, vintage bloomers, radish painting and vintage magnets. I recently bought a lot of vintage butterfly magnets off of Etsy.
EMBEDDED: Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
MOLLY SODA: I pretty much love anything Real Life Magazine puts out. Here are some of my favorite articles:
I also love this piece about aesthetic vlogging by Safy-Hallan Farah.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?
MOLLY SODA: Probably getting an exciting email about ~*my art career*~
Thanks Molly! Visit her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, are.na, Bandcamp, and Smule.
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