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My Internet: Patricia Hernandez
Kotaku's Editor in Chief feels a responsibility to respond to attacks on her team's work.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, from Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci. Sign up to get our weekday posts free. Upgrade to get our Saturday deep-dives into living better online. 🧩
Every Friday, we quiz an extremely cool “extremely online” person to get their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Patricia Hernandez, a longtime gaming journalist who recently started as Editor in Chief of Kotaku. Patricia wants to showcase more joy on her Instagram, quickly swipes past anything that seems vaguely straight on TikTok, and is attempting to productively engage with gamer rage in the comments. —Nick
What's a recent meme that you like?
Selyna Brillare has a tiktok audio clip, 'mi no piki,' that constantly gets stuck in my head now. It is both a riot and also a fuckin mood. Looking at the page for the clip, sure it's amusing to see all the ways people repurpose audio about not speaking English, but mostly I just love the way she SAYS it. Fuck, man, Spanish is beautiful. There's a lot of pressure for immigrants and first gen folks to get into the melting pot or whatever, so I grew up sometimes feeling embarrassed about the accents in my family. Now I'm obsessed with them + take pride every time I watch folks like Bad Bunny achieve success while refusing to assimilate.
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
It's more like an attitude. Being a vaguely public figure is hard, and I often get people coming after my looks or weight. Combine that with complex feelings about aging as it relates to my body and health, and evolving gender expression as a queer person, and, well, I've spent a long time on the internet afraid to show too much of myself. I started making an effort to display more confidence, especially with pictures of myself, a couple of years ago, but it's felt much easier now that I have shorter hair and don't feel constrained by the expectations of femininity. I want my Instagram to reflect not only that I'm hot as hell, but to also show some of my day-to-day joys. Other than that, I do edit pictures, though mostly color corrections and sharpening.
And I'm trying to include myself in there more, not just for reclamation attempts but also because once I read something about how men often take pictures that are often empty of actual human beings and it's haunted me ever since. My pronouns are she/her, for the record (and at the moment), but now I live in fear of having a feed that looks like I'm documenting the rapture.
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
Nowadays, it's a ton of keyboard stuff. I watch folks explain why they picked different parts for their builds, and what they did to achieve certain typing sounds. There's this whole concept about how 'endgame' is impossible—that you can never build a keyboard that will fully satisfy you. Probably it's true, but still, I use the videos to try and guide what I buy or try next.
What I'm saying is, I spend a lot of time watching people try to explain the differences between various clacking sounds, trying my damndest to pick out what they're describing, knowing full well that even if I've tuned my ear right, and even if I get the exact same component, it won't be the same for me. Factors like case materials and even what kind of table you're setting the keyboard on will change what the final thing will sound like. Nevermind that the microphones picking up the audio in the first place may not properly reflect the keyboard. And, even if it does, you cannot truly grasp the feel of a keyboard through a video.
I am starting to accept that likely, this general impossibility surrounding the hobby is exactly what makes it enticing in the first place. I spent an entire month trying to find the perfect knob for a keyboard. Now I own like twenty knobs. Love this for me.
Do you use TikTok? If so, how would you describe what shows up on your For You Page?
Lotta gay shit. Lotta animals, though not just cats and dogs—I get stuff where people explain what it's like to keep exotic animals for pets. There's one woman I follow who shows different tiny underwater ecosystems she puts together, and while I have zero interest in the fish it's really cool to watch someone basically build a tiny world. There's also a bunch of history stuff; I'm constantly ashamed and amazed at how much I've learned about my own damn country from places like TikTok. Finally, I love watching anyone who will teach me their craft, the more specific the better. TikTok is well on its way to convincing me I should give it all up and become a carpenter, or perhaps a cat rescuer. Otherwise, the second that anything on my feed seems vaguely straight, I swipe past it. Begone!!
Do you use Pinterest? If so, what's the board you're most proud of?
Never used personally, and up until recently, I didn't even know what the feed even looks like. I'm becoming more acquainted with it though, because my girlfriend keeps boards for nearly everything. She even has one for the attire her friends might wear to our future wedding. I guess this is cheating because it's not me, though I sometimes ask her to show me certain boards.
Are there any influencers who you would be sad to see stop posting?
@luulubuu's Twitter brings me joy every day, though I'm not sure she considers herself an influencer. If videogamedunky ever quits, I'll probably feel a thing. Summoning Salt, maybe. This is hard to answer because many of my immediate answers, like the guy who routinely posts his oatmeal creations on TikTok, I don't necessarily follow closely nor do I consider myself in the respective fandom. And ultimately, I'd probably be happy for anyone who is actually able to stop posting. Free yourself!!
Do you ever tweet? Why?
I ask myself this question every day. I tweet 'cause I've got a following there, and a variety of friends or acquaintances who I keep up with via the platform. It's a good place to share my work, find sources, and get a sense of the chatter around trending topics. Mostly though I probably just tweet because it's a habit at this point.
Which platform do you put the most effort into posting on?
Twitter. It's funny, cause not only do I end up deleting like 80% of my tweets out of embarrassment for myself, it's generally not a pleasant place. I get good scoops there, but also stuff that puts me on tilt. And there's not a day that goes by that I don't have to mute someone for being a jerk or being annoying.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
If we're talking famous people, I have no clue. Otherwise my answer is anyone who knows me or talks to me IRL, because if you continue to tolerate me even after my seventh post about my newest keyboard knob, I will consider you a saint.
Who's someone you know you should unfollow but can't seem to?
lmao what is this trying to incriminate me?? probably other specific journalists. i will not elaborate!
Is there a podcast you're currently obsessed with?
I don't really listen to podcasts, because I'm unable to parse the words while doing anything else. The second I try and multitask, I can't listen anymore, and it's hard to set time aside just to listen to audio. Not my thing. But if I do, it's generally food and cooking podcasts.
Do you have an opinion about Clubhouse?
It seems to be a worse version of both Discord and LinkedIn.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters?
Not many, to be honest. The most recent follow was Naughty List, which covers erotic video games.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
Sometimes I accidentally say Vine when I mean TikTok despite the fact it's been years. There was a time when the thing to do was to get friends together and watch giant compilations. Now I look back on a lot of the humor with some discomfort—there's just a lot of crass stuff, a lot of weird racial stuff. I still see it on TikTok, tbh. White people love to watch minorities play up their otherness. As for Tumblr, naw.
Who's a digital creator more people should know about?
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence?
Britney Spears. It's not that I consider the posts high tier, it just makes me happy to know she's out there attempting to find happiness despite everything. Every post reminds me that I'm rooting for her.
Are you regularly in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What are they about?
I constantly lurk a variety of gaming-related Reddits, and I follow an absurd number of Animal Crossing groups on Facebook (but I hardly use that anymore.) I've started dipping my toes into the mechanical keyboard community on Reddit, but haven't gone all the way in because my wallet has suffered enough.
Do you consider yourself part of any specific online communities?
Gaming, I guess? Less as a player, though obviously I do play them, but more as a reporter, though.
What games are you playing right now?
Mario + Rabbids on the Switch, more specifically the Donkey Kong DLC. They just announced a sequel so it seemed like a good time to finish, cause I did love the base game, there's just ... so many games. RIP
Do you have a go-to emoji? What does it mean to you?
Right now my phone says my most-used emoji of late is the skull and crossbones. Probably, though, I use the crying laughing one the most, despite apparently now being cringeworthy. Both of these are versatile, from 'oh no' to 'that sucks' to 'i'm dead' to 'oh fuck' and 'you got me' and 'i am embarrassing'
Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
Not usually, though I adore receiving them. It's more intimate.
Do any of your group chats have names? What's the best one?
not a single goddamn one, somehow
What's the most basic thing about you online?
posting about keyboards makes me feel like i'm a hermit showing you my trinkets except nobody really cares. it's probably the most earnest stuff i post, aside from maybe some food/cooking stuff. also, i've been posting a lot more relationship stuff of late, because it feels pretty damn good to be so in love that i don't care what it looks like.
What's the most specific or niche music playlist that you like?
Don't use playlists for the most part! I do like making them for other people, though. Apple Music has picked up on the fact that I really like stuff that sits at the intersection of pop, hip-hop, R&B, and reggeaton, though apparently much of this is classified as 'urbano latino' (lol ok)
Who topped your Spotify Wrapped last year?
bad bunny, more specifically ‘la santa.’ YHLQMDLG was on repeat a lot in 2020, both in everyday listening but also workout playlists. a lot of times, the difference between a great workout and an okay one is the playlist. and bad bunny gets me revved up!
Are you signed up for any "alternative" movie/TV or music streaming services, like Mubi or Deezer?
Do you have any "guilty pleasures" online or in terms of what you stream?
Do you ever comment on or reply to posts? Which platforms? What inspires you to do that when you do?
I'm trying to do it more. Personally, I don't love calling attention to myself. But as I get older it's becoming apparent just how much that's hurt my career. Like yeah, I'm doing pretty well for myself, but it's definitely in spite of not playing the promotional game, the branding game. A lot of shit I've accomplished isn't visible. That's a fast-track for resentment. No good! But also, now as EIC it feels like a duty to sing praises for my team, to stick up for them, and to try my best to make sure their talents get recognized. I may not like it for myself, but hell if I'll let the work of my people not get recognized. It also feels crucial, because people have strong feelings about Kotaku.
There's a ton of mischaracterization of the work out there, and a lot of blatant bad faith readings and attacks by people who know how to harness gamer rage. I want to engage with it more out of the faint hope that, while some out there have made it their entire digital identity to try and destroy a video game site, others can indeed be reasoned with. I fail more often than I succeed. But the alternative is too bleak. I want to believe that if people understood what we're about and made fewer assumptions, they can dig what we do—or at least, know that we care. Mostly, though, by commenting my aim is to get readers to consider us as people, not as Gaming Website Kotaku.
So I do respond on the site, especially if there's confusion about something, and on Twitter occasionally, but mostly toward readers. I sparsely respond to posts made by other people, unless they're friends, and even then.
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
The last thing I bought on ebay was a used projector. The last things I bought in general are a ton of clothes, especially short-sleeve button-ups that are comfortable during the summer. I just cleaned out my closet, leaving only what I like to wear and what actually fits me, so I'm kinda rebuilding my wardrobe. It was just fourth of july, so there were a ton of sales that I took advantage of.
What's one thing you do online only because you have to for work, and one thing you do strictly for fun?
browsing certain gaming reddits for work. working out, though less 'for fun' and more for my emotional well-being. but as someone who basically writes about all manner of leisure activities, sports and fitness are the single thing that i can't really perform in front of an audience for $
Is there any content you want that you can't seem to find anywhere online?
anything i answer here will betray future kotaku coverage plans, probably.
What's the worst thing about the internet in 2021? How about the best thing?
how often the left eats the left. giving a shit is a burden onto its own, nevermind constantly having to live to impossibly high standards. the best thing is that, despite everything, you and i are still here.
Read the previous My Internet posts with 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.