Who Is Your Favorite Online Writer?

My love affair with the Internet and its people.

Feb 29, 2012 at 4:35pm | Leave a comment

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The Internet and I got serious fast. Pretty much from the first day we met, we skipped the chit-chat and went straight to the weird sex and weekend-long dates where you end up having to put your contact lenses in a glass of water overnight.

Of course, growing up I dreamed about working at magazines, but by the time I graduated from journalism school, an aspiring writer could really go either way, and magazines never happened for me. Unlike some of our staffers, I've built my career on the Internet, and thus have no pretensions when it comes to print versus digital content.

I love Internet people! And Internet things! Both those who exist on the Internet and those who I suspect are actually made of Internet. The Internet is scrappy! Anybody can be succssful there, without having to know the right people or having a lot of money (seriously, magazine salaries for junior staffers are often such that you can't work there without a trust fund). All you need to make it on the Internet is a compelling voice or idea.

And the future of writing is clearly online. Which is why I don't get it when people (and publicists!) are snobby about Internet publications, because someday soon there will be no more magazines or Internet and we will all be accessing content with our mindwaves or whatever and who will be laughing through their robot vocal cords then?

So we can just accept the fact that Internet writers are just that: writers. And that some of them are damn good ones?

I wrote down just a few of the people who have inspired me with their online writing (OK, Debbie Stoller isn't really an online writer, but she gave me the first big breaks of my career). There are so many more. But I want to hear from you guys whose work you love to read online. Considering I helped select a lot of the xoJane writers, I obviously think they are the best on the Internet, so pick someone who doesn't write for us! Some editors' picks below:

Jessica Olien:


Colin Nissan. I read his McSweeney's piece entitled Diary of a Woman Trapped Inside a  Man's Body Trapped Inside a Beaver's Body every few moths just to revel in its brilliance. I like him so much that I annoy my friend by trying to read his stuff aloud off of my iphone when we're all drunk. Another seminal work by Nissan is "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers."

Lesley Kinzel:

I have many favorite online writers of equal talent and intelligence, but right now I'm going to throw a spotlight on Alyssa Rosenberg! She writes smart, funny, political and feminist analyses of popular culture for ThinkProgress and The Atlantic and I think she is the bees' knees. Everything she says gets me thinking, without fail.

Julie Schott:

Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss marries gorgeous photography and clean, unpretentious writing to bring readers a unique glimpse into the most covetable makeup bags and medicine cabinets in the industry, featuring a carefully curated mix of beauty and fashion tastemakers. I love how Emily's interviews aren't cluttered with questions and narrative. Instead, she just lets her subjects speak. No one does beauty coverage like Into the Gloss. Oh, and she's really pretty.

Daisy:

If not for Bill Simmons, I probably would have never said yes when I was first approached to write about the 49ers. I knew I wouldn't enjoy hardcore reporting, but I wondered if I could do something to what Bill Simmons does: write about sports from a personal angle. If you aren't familiar with Bill Simmons, he wrote for Page 2 on ESPN.com for years and is now the editor-in-chief of Grantland, the most entertaining sports site on the web. He's smart (god, so smart; how do people retain so many facts and stats in their brains?), a good writer, and so so funny. Probably the best sports writer out there. Even better? Half the time he doesn't write/talk about sports. Like this column where he decides to write about "Friends" instead of the NBA playoffs. Or this podcast where he breaks down the best moments from 90210.where he breaks down the best moments from 90210.

Julieanne:

I very much enjoy reading anything by Edith Zimmerman at the Hairpin and Choire Sicha at the Awl, as well as Molly Lambert and Max Silvestri at Grantland. I don't like gossip or reality television, but I never miss their coverage of gossip and reality television. It is magic to make something not only potable but delightful, and yes, I am 80.

Hannah:

I love Lisa Eldridge. She's incredibly talented and knowledgeable and I learn so much from watching her videos. She's also GORGEOUS and I'm jealous of her accent. She's just really inspiring to me, and probably to anyone who is passionate about beauty.

Sara Benincasa:

Richard Lawson makes me guffaw aloud. I want him to write everything on the Internet.

Madeline:

I love Ryan O'Connell of Thought Catalogue. He is as relevant as they come and is rarely wrong about anything (truly!). I love his relationship advice and New York-centric articles.

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