My Internet: Safy-Hallan Farah
The writer's For You page includes many women in their 'Fleabag' era.
Every Friday, we quiz a “very online” person to get their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Safy-Hallan Farah, who has written memorable and much-discussed stories about aesthetic vlogging, whether anything is cool anymore, and growing up in the neighborhood where George Floyd was killed. Safy is immersed in the Real Housewives universe, doesn’t really care for group chats, and thinks it would be cool to see what the internet would look like as a ghost town. —Nick
What's a recent meme or other post that cracked you up?
Not a meme but the most recent episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City made me laugh a lot. Specifically, Mary Cosby’s scenes.
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
Karine Alroude’s videos on old Hollywood actresses.
Do you use TikTok? If so, how would you describe what shows up on your For You Page?
Yes. My For You is mostly book content, pop culture analysis and stuff from young women who are like, “I’m in my Fleabag era.”
Do you ever tweet? Why?
Yes. I tweet because it’s a compulsion.
Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
Yes, many times. Each experience has been pleasant, except on two occasions when it got weird.
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
Naomi from the band MUNA, maybe? Bob Marley’s granddaughter? Audie Cornish? I don’t know. Eventually everyone follows everyone and the concept of “the coolest person who follows you” loses its novelty.
Who's someone more people should follow?
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
Karen Huger of The Real Housewives of Potomac!
Do you ever comment on or reply to posts? Which platforms? Why?
Yes. Twitter posts. Usually to add my two cents.
Where do you tend to get your news?
Twitter, Vox.com, The Atlantic, The LA Times, etc.
What's your favorite non-social media app?
What are you willing to pay for online?
Individual episodes of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
Do you have strong feelings about web3, blockchain tech, or cryptocurrencies?
The last time I felt really intellectually and philosophically flexible and open to new tech in my life was maybe 2006-2010, at the beginning of Youtube and the heyday of the blogosphere. In recent years, I’ve deliberately avoided things like the cryptocurrency boom because all of my ideas about the world and technology are already crystallized. With that said, I am reluctantly adapting now. I bought some crypto recently.
How excited—or apprehensive—are you about the metaverse?
By definition, an uncanny, self-referential video game simulacrum of the consumer world enabled by virtual-reality technology and pixelated cartoon self representations sounds like the past we’ve seen in science fiction or experienced in earlier iterations of VR, but everyone keeps saying it’s the future. All the tech offerings of so-called Web3 feel imitative: the tedium of the billionaire space race to Mars promising colonization in outer space; Substack, which seeks to unbundle traditional media publishing; Clubhouse, a digital space to hold glorified conference calls and its Twitter equivalent, Spaces; and, of course, N.F.T.s—a.k.a. non-fungible tokens—which are just digital files assigned double the illusory value of standard commodified art in the marketplace. I’m not that excited/I don’t care, but I’m paying attention.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
Do you use Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse? What for?
I occasionally use Twitter Spaces for Bravo’s Real Housewives discourse.
Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Around what age?
No. I feel like I missed that whole period. I was also a very late adapter to Instagram.
When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
I use Pinterest to pin trendy stuff. The last time was a few months ago.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
I never got into Vine, and I don’t miss Tumblr.
Do you consider yourself part of any specific online communities?
Maybe the extended “Hyperpop" community via specific artists? It doesn’t really feel as special to me right now, but at the height of the pandemic it was everything.
Are you regularly in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What are they about?
No, but I love listening to music on Discord with my friend Lilah who produces electronic music.
Are you playing any games right now?
I have had a life-long obsession with Tetris, but I’m not currently playing it. I feel like getting back into Meerca Chase.
Do you watch any gamers live stream on Twitch or another platform?
Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
Yes. I’ve been doing that since before I had an iPhone (I got an iPhone in 2016) via WhatsApp.
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?
I don’t really care for group chats.
What's your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
I use hearts a lot. I think they’re sweet.
What's a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve streamed a lot lately?
Shamir Bailey’s new stuff is really good.
Do you pay for a music streaming service, and if so, which one? When was the last time you bought a music download, vinyl record, or other physical format?
I collect records and CDs. I’ve spent a lot of money on that in the last year. I don’t ever buy digital music, and recently I ended my Spotify subscription.
If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
Netflix for Selling Sunset and Selling Tampa.
What's the most basic thing that you love online?
Is there any content you want that you can't seem to find anywhere online?
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
I use eBay. I recently bought one of my siblings a vintage Sailor Moon shirt on there. I also love to bid on old magazines from time to time.
Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
What's one thing you recommend for maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet?
Mute and block.
What's one wish you have for the internet in 2022?
For everyone to silo off into their little groups and stop using the wider internet to talk into the void. It would be cool to see what this place would look like as a ghost town.
Thanks Safy! Follow her on Twitter. ❤️
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