My Internet: Rayne Fisher-Quann
The writer-TikTokker is leading the new blogging boom.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, by Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Rayne Fisher-Quann, who writes internet princess, a newsletter of “cultural criticism & its consequences” that Safy-Hallan Farah recently recommended here. Rayne has infiltrated a group called FBI.FACE BOOK ITALIANS, was once called a “nincompoop” on Craigslist, and is currently playing playing Wordle, Worldle, Heardle, Taylordle, and Quordle. —Nick
What's a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
What type of videos do you watch on YouTube?
I’ve never actually been super into YouTube! I have a couple videos that I love and just watch over and over again. I really love bestdressed’s videos, and I’ve just started getting into video essays. My favourite YouTube video of all time is this decade-old Club Penguin cover of “Love The Way You Lie.”
Do you use TikTok? What shows up on your For You page?
Yes! TikTok is kind of my main platform, so people ask me about my For You page a lot. I think they assume it’s going to be interesting or cool. In reality, I’ve curated it to be pretty much nothing but slime videos and babies.
What do you use Instagram for?
To post pictures of myself and admire girls who have better taste than me.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
Yes, many times. On TikTok, I’ll have videos that get a couple hundred thousand views a few times a week, although the virality markers are different on TikTok so I’m not sure if that even counts as truly viral anymore. Generally, I consider it to be a very negative experience. I made a video about Grimes about a year ago that got several million views and I’m genuinely still dealing with the fallout from it: last month a Grimes stan posted a YouTube video where they edited a dog peeing on my face.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
I was really excited when Rachel Sennott followed me because she was one of the girls I thought was sooo cool when I was first really getting to the Internet I inhabit now. I think the followers who I personally care the most about are like random tiny accounts who shitpost about their cum or whatever that I decided in my head were too cool to like my content. I always get really excited when I see them engaging with my stuff, which is maybe a unique kind of mental illness.
Who's someone more people should follow?
@sidearastclaire/@sideara. The coolest girl ever. Also, @squishiesophie on TikTok is a teenage girl who is extremely passionate about putty and she’s maybe my favourite content in the world right now.
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
Probably Doja Cat. Most celebrities try desperately and fail pathetically to do the kind of authentic charismatic bizarreposting that she does.
Where do you tend to get your news?
The Atlantic, Passage (a Canadian leftist publication), Twitter.
What's one positive trend you see in media right now? What's one negative trend?
I’m seeing a ton of girls my age and younger start making Substacks and blogs, which I think is the coolest thing ever. On the negative side, I really don’t like the way that a lot of culture journalism is turning into PR service for famous people. The Jeremy Strong New Yorker profile was the best piece of profile work we’ve gotten in a long time, and it was torn apart because both subjects and consumers of media aren’t used to reading work that’s anything more than ad copy. It’s a systemic problem, though—with the pressures of social media, cut budgets, layoffs, and the fact that music journalists are having to produce 3,000 words off of 15 minutes in a press junket, it’s hard to write the kind of profiles that were being produced 30 years ago.
What does "cancel culture" mean to you?
I wrote a lengthy piece on this recently that felt super definitive for me. I don’t think I could really explain it in any fewer words. Basically, I think it’s a great injustice that the right has monopolized conversations about “cancel culture” because this punitive culture of mob punishment actually predominantly affects marginalized people, not, like, CEOs. Black feminists and abolitionists have been writing about social disposability since decades before the term “cancel culture” even existed, and it’s those texts that accurately diagnose our problems and hold our solutions.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
Yes, a ton! I feel like we are in a total blogging boom revival right now, which is sooo good because I’ve always been bitter that I was seven in 2008 and missed the first one.
My friend Charlie’s substack, evil female. They are so smart—their essays always blow me away. They write what I wish I could write!
I also really love P.E. Moskowitz’s mental hellth. Every post genuinely opens me up to a perspective I've never considered before, and as someone for whom blasting my mental health issues on the internet is a part of daily life, it’s often a wakeup call.
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
I’m honestly almost embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t really listen to podcasts! I’ve tried to get into them a million times but I always would just rather be listening to music. If I’m listening to anything it’ll be my friend Eliza’s podcast Binchtopia or a Jamie Loftus project.
Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Around what age?
Yes, probably from middle school to the middle of high school (so, like, 2014 - 2018?). I kept streaks and cared about getting the yellow heart and all those terms that are completely meaningless now despite taking up like half the total space in my brain during the most formative years of my life.
When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
Substack sponsored a design rebrand for my publication, which was super cool of them, and I used Pinterest to find font and style inspiration for my graphic designer.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
Yes! The golden age of Tumblr was such a strange and special time on the Internet.
Are you in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What's the most useful or entertaining one?
I used to love Facebook groups. I’m in this group called FBI.FACE BOOK ITALIANS which I infiltrated even though I’m not Italian. I used to sometimes post the Irish flag in there and they’d always try to ban me.
Are you playing any games right now?
I have a whole daily lineup of Wordle games—right now I’m playing Wordle, Worldle, Heardle, Taylordle, and Quordle.
What's something you might want to do in the metaverse? What's something you wouldn't want to do?
I find the metaverse as boring and derivative as it is viscerally terrifying. I think I cried when I first saw Zuckerberg’s metaverse launch video—I found it very eerie and sad. But it’s also just like … what is actually so new or innovative about this? That it's fancier and more profitable now than it was when game designers dreamed it up in the ‘90s, or even before then? How inspiring, that we’ve found another way to be advertised to.
I hope I never do anything in the metaverse. I hope that my future children will be mortified because I’m crotchety and out of touch and won’t touch any of that stuff with a 10-foot pole. I am the most online person I know and it’s really cemented my belief that we all need to spend as much time in real life as possible! Maybe eventually it’ll become a necessity for me, and maybe I’ll accept it if I have to, but I hope not.
What purpose do you see in NFTs?
Figuring out who to avoid! Nine times out of ten, I think NFT owners—or at least people who post about being NFT owners—are artless freaks.
Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
Yes. I have a lot to say!
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?
Okay, honestly, something that’s sort of weird considering my painfully expansive digital footprint is that I don’t really have close online friends—I don’t really do those big Twitter mutual groupchats or anything. I never have the energy to keep up digital friendships. I have a group chat on Instagram with some of my close friends from university that’s called “i’d rather blow my dad” because it was like our shorthand for saying “fuck that, no way”, you know—like just the most disgusting, vulgar, hyperbolic way possible to say “I don’t want to do that.” I think it started because someone suggested going to some terrible frat party and I was like “gross, I’d rather blow my dad.”
And I don’t discourse in any group chat! Most of my friends are pretty offline, so we mostly just use group chats to plan when to hang out. I’m actually not really a big texter at all—I think I spend so much time online in every other context that I prefer IRL communication.
What's a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
I listened to a lot of Sidney Gish right after I graduated high school, and I’m just getting really into her again, especially her first album Ed Buys Houses. I’ve been in a really regressive music era lately—a lot of stuff I liked when I was really young. I used to listen to nothing but punk music and now it’s all Taylor Swift.
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?
I have a premium Spotify subscription. I’m a music journalist as my day job, so it’s a necessity. I got Red (Taylor’s Version) on vinyl in December, and I buy CDs all the time—on my most recent trip I got Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All, Willie Dixon’s I Am The Blues, and The Real Folk Blues by John Lee Hooker.
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
I’m Canadian, so HBO is on a service called Crave here, and if I were to keep anything it would probably be Crave. My dirty little secret is that I love Aaron Sorkin shows.
What's your favorite non-social media app?
Craigslist. I love browsing Craigslist, sometimes to fantasize about apartments in cities with a cheaper cost of living and sometimes for human interest. I used to really like doing bits on Craigslist. In 2020 I posted a personal ad asking if anyone would film my fake engagement in a Red Robin on Valentine’s Day and I got a ton of responses. Someone called me a “nincompoop.” That was a great Valentine’s Day: I faked an engagement in a Red Robin and the whole restaurant clapped, went to a theatre to see the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, changed my mind, and dropped out of university.
What's the most basic internet thing that you love?
Dog videos. Twin babies who wear matching outfits. Women who vlog about organizing their middle-America mansions. Watching people soft-launch their boyfriends on Instagram.
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
My favourite is Poshmark because everything on there is super cheap, but ever since my Substack started making me a little bit of extra money I’ve been dipping my toe into Depop (which I’ve always thought of as rich-girl shit). I recently bought a handmade plaid babydoll dress from a really cool local designer on there.
Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
What's the last thing that brought you joy online?
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