by Maggie LaMaack
Leah Garaas (@leahgaraas) is a self-described feminist Jill of all trades because, well, she is basically the Current’s Internet wizard(ress?). Leah works for Minnesota Public Radio as a digital producer where she packages The Current’s on-air content like in-studios and interviews into online features. She also manages @TheCurrent and takes photos of cool musicians and designs stuff and is funny on Twitter.
LOL/OMG: When and why did you join Twitter?
@leahgaraas: May of 2011. I signed up after I finished the last final of my sophomore year of college. I was a little late to the game, mostly because I was a chemistry major and my life was consumed by lab reports. My brain was thinking too analytically for any Twitter musings. This is probably why I’m horrible with sarcasm to this date, which usually surprises people when I tell them that I love Twitter.
What is the best thing and the worst thing about Twitter?
Twitter’s timeliness is what makes it my favorite social media platform (but that doesn’t mean I won’t reply to your 14-hour-old tweet). We’re really just all having a kiki with each other, one critique or complaint at a time. It’s a big ‘ole bond sesh, and as an introvert Twitter is great – it’s my preferred platform for hanging out. Twitter is also great in that it is more objective than, say, Facebook. Twitter users curate their own timeline based on who they follow, which is subjective in and of itself, but at least we are guaranteed a chronological, algorithm-free feed. (writer’s note: for now…)
I’d love to say that #blessed (I’m so over #blessed) or the unironic use of hashtags are the worst parts about Twitter, but they’re not. Far from it. This probably goes for all of the Internet, but Twitter is just another platform for dummies to gleefully express their ignorance. It’s especially bad when oppressors harmfully engage with the oppressed.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t know from following you on Twitter.
The arts component of my undergrad thesis (I graduated with a Bachelor of Individual Studies: Arts, Communication Studies & Sociology degree from the University of Minnesota) included creating an alternate Internet identity (primarily on Twitter – try to find it!) and a 40” x 30” grid print of 868 Chatroulette user screenshots. I am fascinated by the Internet.
You have 160 characters to write yourself a brand new bio. Go!
The glass isn’t half empty; it isn’t half full. There is liquid in the glass.
Give us your top three of each:
Local Twitter accounts:
1. @s424h — Okay, so she’s no longer considered “local,” but Sarah Harper keeps it real. Sometimes I feel like she’s in my brain. See, I don’t tweet everything that comes to mind, but for what I don’t tweet, Sarah does tweet. Sometimes she even tweets things that I think I would think if I would have thought it, if that makes any sense. I trust her judgement 100%.
2 @ampersandria — Ampy’s gotta lotta self love. I like that. It’s not uncommon for her to engage in actual conversations with herself via @ replies, which are totally hilarious. She calls herself out (I admire humility) and shells out personal compliments (the world needs more of that!). Unapologetically snapping selfies in thrift store mirrors really translates self-confidence well over the Internet.
3. @foyobli — Megan Weisenberger is a social media queen. She’s engaging and she’s thoughtful. I admire both her personal Twitter and the work she’s done as a social media community manager. She just gets it.
Non-local Twitter accounts:
1. @mariasherm — Maria tweets a lot about teenage girl music fandom. It’s mostly her job, but by reading her tweets you can tell she has a strong passion for giving teenage girls a voice. I fully endorse that. As Jessica Hopper once said, “There’s still very much this stereotype that teenage girls are not serious consumers of music, even though they are the number one purchasers of music. Teenage girls are the number one consumers of music, they are the number one drivers of taste, and yet they are still not considered serious music fans.”
2. @BebeZeva — Most of the time I’d say having a private Twitter account is like putting a lock on a garbage dumpster, but Bebe is an exception. She gained a following online after launching her fashion blog Fated to be Hated, but I follow Bebe for her insightful tweets critiquing culture and sociological theory.
3. @damnanda — Amanda is my pen pal that I met on Twitter via @UMO. I consider her to be my closest friend next to my boyfriend, Joe. The Internet is cool like that; it brings people together who wouldn’t have met otherwise. She could tweet the most obscure tweet and I’d know exactly what she was referring to or commenting on based solely on what I know of her personality and life via Twitter, Snapchat and letters.
Favorite things on the Internet this week:
1. The new Sleater-Kinney song (!!!) “Bury Our Friends” feat. Miranda July.
2. This Matthew Lynley written Buzzfeed article on how Vine, Instagram and Snapchat stars are quitting their day jobs to pursue their social media careers full time.
3. Andrea Swensson’s column “How I Overcame My Fear of Famous People.” Her column every week, really.
Any last words?
Twitter pro tip: When you @ reply someone on Twitter, keep their handle at the beginning of the tweet so people who follow you only see the reply if they also follow that user. We don’t want to see your congratulatory tweet to your cousin about their recent nuptials. And in case you were wondering, this is not a glorified subtweet because A) this is not twitter and B) that example is made up.
It doesn’t matter what you looks like on outside, it’s what’s on the Internet that matters.