Podcast Playlist

Is the Internet a net negative?

Do the web’s harms outweigh its benefits? We investigate.

Do the web’s harms outweigh its benefits? We investigate.

(Elena Hudgins Lyle/PicMonkey)

This week we're sharing one of our favourite episodes from January 2022.

The Internet is a mess of contradictions. Scrolling through your feed helps you unwind…but it's  bad for your mental health. Maybe you've found community online…something many others have found through hateful ideologies and cults. 

It all begs the question: is the net a net negative? Do the harms outweigh the benefits?

All of this week's podcasts help us attempt to answer this question. For some laughs, you'll hear about the "Rick Roll" from Rick himself (no idea what we're talking about? We'll explain). Plus the story of how TikTok helped one woman manage her eating disorder during the pandemic. And on the darker side of things…we'll explore how Facebook's algorithms can lead people down the rabbit hole to cults, and how violent misogynists are radicalized online.   

Which side will win: good or bad? Or will we choose to celebrate and critique all at once? Find out…

Podcasts featured this week:

(Courtesy of podcasts)

ICYMI: "Rachelle and Madison are joined by Buzzfeed's Scaachi Koul to discuss…the cesspool that is YouTube fandom, how precisely Bo Burnham articulates the problems of constant internet consumption, and whether it's ever possible to log off."

Endless Thread: "Did the Rick Roll originate with a piece of code on the message board 4Chan, or with a prank call to a local sports show in Michigan? And why does the Rick Roll have such staying power? Is it codified in the DNA of the song itself? We explore the meme's origin, the history of the song, 'Never Gonna Give You Up,' and its impact on both internet users during COVID-19 and on the performer himself."

Boys Like Me: "Alek [Minassian] frequented incel sites for years, lurking in forums that celebrated or even encouraged the kind of attack he'd go on to commit. What draws young men into this toxic world? [Host] Ellen [Chloe Bateman] connects with a prominent incel who takes her down the rabbit hole."

Reply All: Producer Anna Foley explores how a TikTok account has helped her and many others manage eating disorders during the pandemic, at a time when disordered eating has increased significantly.

99% Invisible: "Geocities was an online collection of metropolises, each with their own neighborhoods built around shared interests. The city metaphor helped make a whole new group of users understand the world wide web for the first time. At its peak, it was the third most popular destination on the Internet, but it quickly fell out of fashion as the web became more commodified and professional. Before it shuttered, a few digital archivists scooped up as much data as possible before all that early Internet experimentation could be deleted."

Maintenance Phase: "Special guest Mike Rothschild tells [hosts Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon] how the road to wellness can be an on-ramp to a conspiracy theory."

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