Follow Friday

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is the podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, Eric Johnson talks to creative people about who they follow, and why. Past guests include Tom Scott (YouTube), Alie Ward (Ologies), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Alexandra Petri (The Washington Post), and Kara Swisher (The New York Times). On Follow Friday, you'll have fun, you'll learn more about your favorite creators, and you'll discover how to make the most of your time online by following the right folks. New to the show? Start here: Visit for full episode transcripts, links to people who have been recommended on the show, and more. For extended episodes and more, back us on Patreon starting at $1/month:


July 22, 2022 61 mins

Patrick Willems spent six years on YouTube trying to attract an audience for his short films, before he pivoted to video essays about everything from baseball movies to Francis Ford Coppola's filmography to Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again. Those essays got wildly popular and today, he has more than 350,000 subscribers.

However, he kept making shorts, embedded in his essays as narrative framing devices. In other words, he says, he &...

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"When you're a broadcaster, you don't have a conversation you can't use as content," jokes Roman Mars — well, mostly jokes. The host of 99% Invisible says he's trying to use the internet more thoughtfully than he used to, and that includes not needing to share everything with the world.

"The past year, it's been really the focus of my time, actually not having every thought be on social media and maki...

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When her college internship was canceled by the COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020, Annie Rauwerda had a lot of unexpected time on her hands. And instead of learning to bake bread or speak Esperanto, she began curating weird and amusing things she found on Wikipedia.

Two years later, Depths of Wikipedia has more than 1.5 million followers combined across Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. That success means walking a fine line: Annie wan...

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When Rusty Foster started the email newsletter Today in Tabs, in 2013, "tabs" was trendy media slang for the articles open in your browser that you were hate-reading. That meaning has faded into obscurity, but Today in Tabs is going strong, dishing up must-reads, great tweets, and a song every Monday-Thursday.

"I do the sort of thing that you do when you have a job where you don't have enough work to do, and you spen...

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Today we're playing four bonus follow recommendations that originally were exclusive to Follow Friday XL, our special podcast feed for supporters on Patreon. If you want to get five follow recommendations per week instead of the usual four, you can donate $1 or more at!

In today's episode:

  • The Stacks host Traci Thomas talks about someone super-talented who’s still under the radar, Whit McClure (@w...
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    There Are No Girls on The Internet is an award-winning podcast about people who have always been at the forefront of technology, but whose stories are often ignored or misrepresented. That's a big and sometimes contentious field, and TANGOTI host Bridget Todd says it's important to make space for everyone to work through difficult conversations about inclusion, rather than expecting everyone to "get it" right away.


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    A preview of next week's episode, featuring There Are No Girls on the Internet host Bridget Todd

    Please consider donating to the Texas Elementary School Shooting Victims Fund. 100 percent of the money raised will go to the survivors and the families of the victims from the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And here is a longer list of Uvalde fundraisers that have been vetted & verified by GoFundMe.

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    For more than five years, Lindsay Ellis produced video essays on YouTube, analyzing everything from the Transformers movies to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals to popular tropes in film and TV.

    And in 2020, after more than a decade of wanting to be an author, she published her first book — the bestselling sci-fi novel Axiom's End, which was informed by that same attentiveness to pop culture. After 9/11, she noticed, popular alien ...

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    Jesse Thorn has been podcasting since 2005, when he put his college radio show The Sound of Young America on the internet. He was a little early to the party: Six million Americans had listened to a podcast back then, versus 177 million today.

    But Jesse stuck with it, and then some. The Sound of Young America became the hit NPR series Bullseye, and he founded the comedy & culture podcast network Maximum Fun, which powers dozen...

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    Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé first became an internet meme before most people knew what memes were: At Nintendo's presentation at the gaming expo E3 2004, he turned heads by announcing, "My name is Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' games."

    "I received a message from my teenage son who told me, 'Dad, you're famous,...

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    On the internet, body shaming is alive and well, nutrition advice can be wildly inaccurate, and it's a lot easier to scroll through Instagram for hours than to get up and go for a run. But Danielle Friedman, who literally wrote the book on women's fitness, says there's one extremely good thing that social media has done for our bodies, which we shouldn't ignore.

    "Body acceptance activist Virgie Tovar told me that...

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    When her college friend Amber invited her to the beach five years ago, T.J. Raphael had no idea that saying "yes" would change the course of her career. On the beach, Amber told T.J. about discovering — thanks to an at-home DNA kit — that her biological father was not the man who helped raised her. Instead, her "bio-dad" was a formerly anonymous sperm donor, and Amber was not his only child finding out about him.


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    Charlie Harding says he "procrastinates" by watching YouTube videos about sound design. But it's not an aimless hobby, because Charlie is a musician and the co-host of Switched on Pop, Vulture's podcast about the making and meaning of popular music.

    "Reporting on music, I'm like, 'I need to understand every little thing about how the songs are made,'" he says. "I frequently will actually recr...

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    Justin Myers is a writer for British GQ and the author of three novels, most recently The Fake-Up. But he's probably best known for his blog The Guyliner, where since 2014 he has added his own commentary to a long-running dating column from the British newspaper The Guardian. Today on Follow Friday, Justin talks about four of his favorite people he follows online:

  • Someone who makes the internet a better place: Daytime Snaps, ...
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    Josh Fruhlinger is better known to the internet as the Comics Curmudgeon, and for something like 15 years, he's been riffing on the oddities of newspaper comics at If you want to know which Mary Worth character got into a fight with a cat, Josh is your guy.

    Today on Follow Friday, Josh talks about four of his favorite people he follows online:

  • Someone who's an expert in a very specific niche that he loves: Num...
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    (Full transcript)

    Traci Thomas is the host of The Stacks, a podcast about books and the people who read them. Today on Follow Friday, she talks about four of her favorite people she follows online:

  • Someone she has a crush on: Jason Reynolds, @jasonreynolds83 on Twitter
  • Someone she doesn't know in real life, but wants to be friends with: Shea Serrano (@sheaserrano on Twitter, @shea.serrano on Instagram) and Larami Serra...
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    When she's not tweeting about sumo oranges or her podcast Lecture Hall, Broti Gupta is a writer for The Simpsons. And the long gap between when a Simpsons script is written and when the animated episode makes it to the air means Gupta and her colleagues have to think carefully about what aspects of internet culture have the staying power to be referenced on the show.

    "It wouldn't reference Bean Dad, but we might have an...

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    (Full transcript of this podcast available here).

    When he's not writing about the media and running a PR agency, Ed Zitron is probably on Twitter, where he's curated a perfect experience for himself: He follows fascinating people who represent what he cares about, and aggressively mutes what he doesn't care for, including words like "doge," "stonk," and "Gamestop."

    "It's a melting pot of cr...

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    Hrishikesh Hirway is a prolific creator: A podcaster, a newsletter writer, a TED speaker, a composer, and more. And he's also a musician who has collaborated with everyone from Lakeith Stanfield to Yo-Yo Ma; his first EP since 2011, Rooms I Used to Call My Own, comes out March 30.

    Today on Follow Friday, Hrishikesh talks about four of his favorite people he follows online, including a collaborator who helped him get over writer&...

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    Full transcript here

    Alexis Gay is one of those rare cases you hear about: For seven years, she was a tech worker who wanted to do comedy; then, she posted a video on Twitter in April 2020 that took her from under 1,000 followers to more than 15,000. Several viral hits later, she's now pursuing comedy full-time and hosting the podcast Non-Technical, where she interviews people from the tech world about everything that's not ...

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