The Internet can be a scary place. It has brought me almost everything good in my life, but it also breaks my heart on an almost daily basis. There is a lot of hatred out there and, if you have ever found yourself lost in the comment section of basically any article about women every, it can be easy to feel like the big, bad world is really an awful place. But, the thing is, you can choose your Internet. You can follow the trolls and read the comments and let it get you down Or you can find the good people that make the Internet, and the world, a better place. There are, thankfully, far more of them than the trolls and gremlins would have you believe. Here's a few of my favourites to get you started:
Sarah Von Bargen
I have been following Sarah's wonderful blog, Yes and Yes, for years. It is a lovely place of positivity and sensible advice and a little bit of silliness in just the right quantities. Want to know more about being a solo lady traveller? Sarah's got you. Want to read uplifting and inspiring true life stories? Sarah's got you. Want to see pictures of cats dressed as literary figures? Sarah's got you. She's also really wonderful at amplifying and shouting about her awesome Internet friends (like Alexandra Franzen, who has the kind of grace and wisdom that I hope to one day acquire) so her blog and social channels are a really great place to start if you want to make yourself a better Internet.
I only discovered Megan and her awesome Instagram recently, thanks to Laura's awesome Don't Salt My Game podcast (go and listen!) but I'm already hooked. The clue is in the name, and Megan is all about spreading the body positive message so if you're feeling a little down then this is a great place to go to get a little bit of pizzazz back. Megan fights diet culture, shares joyful selfies and has awesome purple hair. Is there anything more you need to know?
Laura Jane Williams
You may have come across Laura's wonderful blog Superlatively Rude or her new book Becoming but if not, I really urge you to check them out. She is maybe the most honest person on the Internet, and tells her own story in such a raw and open way; her writing is a little bit addictive and her unashamed sharing of her own 'flaws' and mistakes will definitely make you feel better about your own struggles. She also has a great podcast with some lovely guests, all with the message that none of us is fucking up the way we think we are. As a bonus, she shares the best links in the morning as commute reads, which I am always saving for later - so if you're after some good reading material then definitely check out Laura's Twitter account.
Elliot describes himself as 'a queer biracial trans man who writes books & lifts weights & loves humans of all genders' and I don't think I need to give any further introduction. His books are brilliant and well worth checking out if you like dark, twisted, queer fiction (which I very much do), but it's really Elliot's Twitter feed that I want to point you in the direction of - because it's one of my favourites. He's tweeting about his transition using the hashtag #WakeUpElliot which goes from touching, to informative, to funny to surprising to inspiring. Interspersed with tweets about writing, conversations with his boyfriend and rants about LGBTQ+ issues, his Twitter is definitely something that everyone needs in their life.
Humour with substance, and some excellent gif work. The Guyliner is an anonymous writer who pens excellent Guardian Blind Date takedowns and a great advice column for the Gay Times. His observations about pop culture, celebrity ridiculousness and just daily life always make me laugh.
Ashley C. Ford
I am a total Ashley C. Ford fan girl. I will read everything she has ever written and listen to every podcast she appears on because I just love her signature mix of thoughtfulness, gentleness, compassion and humour. She's also great at sharing brilliant articles and other cool people so she's another brilliant person to start following if you want to improve your Internet. All the good stuff here, I promise.
If you like fierce and stylish women, which I know you do, then you will love Arched Eyebrow - the fatshion blog and accompanying Twitter and Instagram of Bethany Rutter. Her outfits are always on point, her rants are unapologetic and she is truly a champion of other awesome fat women. Her Internet presence is powerful and colourful and exactly what we need more of in the world.
I find Mallory Ortberg's brand of humour so unbelievably funny - she is a highlight of my Twitter feed and my Internet in general. It's hard to put my finger on but it's feminist, slightly bizarre, quick-witted and just damn hilarious. The perfect mix of 'high' culture and 'low' culture. Basically, if you like The Hairpin or The Toast (duh) then you need to be following Mallory. Plus, her Dear Prudence advice column is pretty excellent, too.
Doug the Pug
Okay, who doesn't want to see a pug dressed in a funny outfit? No one, that's who. Doug the Pug is guaranteed to bring smiles to your day. #puglife
Amanda is the managing editor of my favourite book-ish site, Book Riot, which is dedicated to diversity in the book world - so you can imagine why following her would be rad. She shares excellent book recommendations, isn't afraid to call out bullshit she sees in the book world (and the regular world) as well as book news, cool articles and generally fun, funny things. Oh, and she has a parenting newsletter called Madame Ovary, which I am so there for. She's just a delight, basically.