My Internet: Naomi Zeichner
The writer-radio host doesn't regret getting rid of her vinyl collection.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, written by Kate Lindsay and edited by Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Naomi Zeichner, a writer, strategist, and host of New York Naomi, a monthly radio show. She was previously a music executive at YouTube and the editor-in-chief of The FADER. Naomi listens to the one true good podcast, keeps a nail art collection on Instagram, and is in the market for Bush-era Abercrombie mini skirts. —Nick
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EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: This said it right on the nose and made me laugh, but isn't really funny.
EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Everything ;(
I DM with real friends and work friends. My boyfriend sends me lots of otter and wombat videos. I’m a super user of saved collections, and I compulsively bookmark posts to folders like: “photographers,” “designers,” “producers,” “creators,” “💅” (nail art), “🏡” (interiors), “♋” (cancer memes), and “jerk” (moods for my holiday-themed finsta).
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I like to survey all the approaches to freestyle and music performance videos beyond Tiny Desk and COLORS, like BZRP sessions, From The Block, Back Of The Class, and The Cave. I’m into Paige Wassel (below), a prop stylist and a rare case because she uses YouTube as her main platform but doesn’t seem like a traditional “YouTube creator.” She’s updating a house in Los Angeles and uploads once or twice weekly, and is up to 122k subscribers from a few thousand since I started watching. I watch new music videos and return to random videos of music that doesn’t exist elsewhere on streaming, like this upload of a Nikki Giovanni album cut.
EMBEDDED: Have you had posts go viral? What is that experience like?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I’ve had stories do 1M+ views. Photos I’ve directed have been widely re-used and tattooed as tributes. This tweet about work email despair where I quoted Lana Del Rey demolishing Kanye West got 3,900 likes and 700 retweets. It time capsuled a little moment and inspired no hate, which is the best case for going viral imho.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Honestly, I think almost all of my followers are really cool <3 Hua Hsu, a kind person and good writer who follows me, said it well in this post about winning (!!) a whole Pulitzer: “around 2000, I was reading flyboy in the buttermilk, and making a list of all his references, and I realized greg tate would quote his friends alongside some ‘great thinker’ and they'd end up getting equal purchase on my imagination…that's [my] book too: … let me tell you about my friends. they’re not famous but they’re the most beautiful, the smartest, the funniest, the bravest, the hottest people I’ve ever met. so are your friends—they're the best people, too.”
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: My neighbor Brittany Chanel Greene! She’s a writer/producer/ad sales Angel Reese by day, and publishes Baddie 5000 the newsletter on Sundays (or when she wants to). Her main accounts are usually private but her Substack is generously free. Waldo, the videographer who has 2,000 followers and made this music video that has 200 million views and is a good example of how labels can break through without huge budgets in a new industry. Also NewJeans’ creative director Min Hee Jin and photo geniuses Emily Keegin and Monica Zulema.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I appreciate how Bad Bunny has a distinct strategy across formats. He approaches TikTok in its language, and music videos in theirs, and visualizers in another, and Instagram on its terms, etc. This is what all brands want to do, but often struggle to plan for or execute in reality. And I believe it all requires effortful creative thinking, even if the results feel effortless. ROSALÍA’s photo dumps are also very good.
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite Substack or other independent newsletters?
, , Feed Me by , , Magasin, , and the aforementioned Baddie 5000.
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I got into journalism because I wanted to be on a team. I’m grateful for newsletters and the courage that goes into making them, and wish this moment wasn’t as lonely as it can be for writers. I like
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Who Weekly will always be the one true good podcast! I listen every Tuesday and Friday, usually in bed, when I’m waking up or as I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m so glad Jeff and Eric created an archive of The Blog Era. Recho Omondi’s fashion show The Cutting Room Floor is one of the only things I pay for online. These episodes with author Teri Agens and educator Liz Ricketts are in front of the paywall and good examples of what I like best about the show, which is that I actually learn things (that I might not otherwise find online) from it. I’ve enjoyed some single-story serial pods, like Exit Scam and Making Beyoncé. I’ve re-listened to this episode of On Being pretty much every Rosh Hashanah since 2007. During Covid, I would listen to Demography Unplugged, a pod “designed to help savvy investors and business leaders uncover hidden trends” which abruptly ended in 2021, to help quiet my brain and make me feel like I had a little bit of control in the world. I like Plain English on a plane, I have big respect for Futuro Studios, and I’m jealous of every doc pod Leon Neyfakh has made.
EMBEDDED: How has using LinkedIn benefitted you, if at all?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Personally, not really, but add me.
EMBEDDED: When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I recently attended a wedding that came with a Pinterest style guide dress code. I’ve played around on Shuffles, Pinterest’s collage app, which is fun.
EMBEDDED: Are you currently playing any games on your computer or phone?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: If you play the Tetris clone Wooden 100 on a plane without wi-fi, you can play ad free. Like many people, I find my Wordle group chat (hi Wordle League 😘) no less than life affirming.
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?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Miami Hot Spots is a group of girls from a mixed-gender friend group, named that because we’ve taken trips to Miami together. We all loved Doja Cat vaping at the Met and didn’t all agree on Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance. My C47 work group chat is talking about dogs (awesome) and ear wax removal (divisive).
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: A few signatures:
🏄♀️ = lfg
🎨 = gorgeous / respect for ur vision
🌞 = wishing u warmth
💌 = sent or sealed with love / i’ll follow up on email
🎀 = happily or flirtily tied up with a bow
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Sometimes! I like getting them, except when I’m not in a good position (no airpods handy, in a meeting) to listen or respond. I’m more likely to not adequately respond to a voice note than a regular text after the moment it arrives, so I feel anxious about being rude if I can’t respond right away.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: I’ve loved the broad universe of Regional Mexican music for a long time (like, it showed up in my 2009 college thesis art show), and I’m happy to witness Música Mexicana’s continued success and recent recognition. I’m especially fond of Yahritza, whose voice is like shaggy hair era Justin Bieber, and Grupo Frontera, who’ve been playing together for only a year but are now one of the objectively biggest bands in the world. I’m also really into Lay Bankz, Feid, and HiTech. I make my radio show every month so all of these things can belong together, because they feel connected to me.
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?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: Over time, I’ve paid for and used Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and TIDAL, who have a partnership with the app I use to DJ. I got rid of my vinyl collection when I moved to New York 13 years ago and haven’t yet felt regret. Most recently, I bought Physical Therapy and Jubilee music on Bandcamp.
EMBEDDED: If you could only keep one streaming service for TV and/or movies, which would it be, and why?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: HBO, for new White Lotus and infinite Sex and The City. I would miss Top Chef though.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
EMBEDDED: What’s the most basic internet thing that you love?
Google Translate and Free Invoice Generator.
EMBEDDED: Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What’s a recent thing you’ve bought or sold?
NAOMI ZEICHNER: On Depop, I’m in the market for Bush-era Abercrombie mini skirts.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?