The internet is a place full of dark corners, deep rabbit holes, endless mazes, and wild threads. But with the chaos comes storytelling gold: These 12 podcasts use communities like Reddit, Yelp, Twitter, and Tumblr to launch into a different part of the digital world, with their hosts as your able tour guides. Buckle up. Things are going to get weird.
Dazed’s Logged On is a monthly series exploring all things internet culture, from memes, to emerging trends, to deep web conspiracy theories, and beyond. Host Günseli Yalcinkaya dives into the micro and nano cultures of sigma males, Deleuzian catboys, techno-spirituality, and psyops, and brings on experts to help make sense of what these words mean and how they’re changing the world. The first episode tackled the meaning of “mid” and features a great conversation about how the internet is flattening our culture.
There Are No Girls on the Internet
The internet can be a dark and twisted place, especially if you’re part of a marginalised community. Which is ironic, because it’s often those voices who shape internet culture. On There Are No Girls on the Internet, Bridget Todd chronicles our experiences online, and considers the ways marginalised voices have shaped the internet from the very beginning. Now that Elon Musk is running Twitter into the ground, we’re all left wondering, where do we show up next? What do we need to know about AI? Is it coming for our jobs? The new season of TANGOTI, dubbed “Present Future,” explores how women are mapping out a better, brighter tech future today, and what you need to know to be ready for it.
Rachelle Hampton and Candice Lim are everywhere online all the time, so you don’t have to be. On ICYMI, they pick up on the digital threads and trends that everyone is talking about — the ones that are shaping our culture — and explain why. If you’ve ever felt left out of the discourse, this is a way to wrap your brain around it. The hosts are completely knowledgeable about TikTok’s latest fashion trend, Twitter Blue, buying concert tickets online, West Elm Caleb, and whatever wild thing is happening in the digital zeitgeist. It drops twice a week. Keep up and you’ll be all set.
Most Endless Thread stories begin with something strange found on Reddit, and evolve from there into a story about people IRL. Using storytelling, interviews, and discussions, hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson find the people involved in the stories and bring their threads to life. The show is full of mysteries and personal experiences that will give you a glimpse into the lives of people around the world, both online and off.
On Darknet Diaries, Jack Rhysider uses real-life stories and interviews with experts, hackers, and cybercriminals to explore the world of cybersecurity, hacking, and online privacy. Each episode delves into a specific case, hack, or event, providing in-depth insights into the motivations, techniques, and consequences involved. Think data breaches, ransomware attacks, social engineering, espionage, and the underground world of hacking communities. The audio production is fantastic, and it’s ok if you don’t have a deep understanding of computers. Jack’s storytelling will keep you hooked.
Remember Tumblr? Longtime Tumblr user Lauren Shippen and longtime user-slash-Tumblr employee Cherokee McAnelly Do. On Dashboard Diaries, they talk trending topics, new ships, and forecast upcoming fandoms. It’s a funny, positive show from two people who have found goodness on the internet. If you love Tumblr, you’ve found a place to feel totally seen. But even if it’s a new world for you, you’ll have a great time mining one of the internet’s richest, most singular cultural veins.
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Digital Folklore is a fusion of audio drama and narrative documentary that explores how our online expressions and culture — from scary stories to cat memes — are modern-day folklore. Using a clever combination of immersive sound design, storytelling, voice acting, interviews, and scripted narrative, Digital Folklore analyses various expressions of internet culture through the lens of academic folklore. Hosts Perry and Mason play exaggerated versions of themselves as they take listeners on a journey into internet culture, and frequently end up in some pretty strange situations. The show creates a semi-fictional world and set of scenarios that serve as a wrapper for the real interviews they conduct with experts and the folkloric concepts and facts they bring to the mic.
Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet
Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet is a comedy podcast from siblings Alex and Christine Schiefer, who do dramatic readings of some of the funniest negative online reviews you’ve ever heard. The dramatic music played in the background while they’re reading them really sets the tone. Episodes are broken out into different businesses or tourist destinations. It’s endlessly entertaining and truly an escape.
Behind every internet block is a really funny story. That’s why comedians Stefan Heck and John Cullen created Blocked Party, where they invite their funny friends to share stories of strange internet misunderstandings and feuds with celebrities, brands, and family members. Stefan and John have sharp chemistry and fill their show with fun segments. (And the theme song for the “Blocked Tale” segment will be in your head for days.)
Narrated by Elle Fanning, One Click is the digital true-crime story that explores how a single click on the internet can change your life forever — in some cases, by helping you lose a lot of weight. Season one was about DNP, an explosive chemical left over from WWI-era munitions factories that is now being sold on the internet as a diet pill (with potentially lethal side effects). Together with journalist Jessica Wapnes, Fanning traces the history of DNP and asks, why (despite the perils) have so many turned to the drug, how the internet helped it blow up, and what this all says about the health of our information society. It’s tough, important listening.
The New York Times’ Rabbit Hole explores how the internet shapes people’s beliefs, behaviours, and identities, and has the power to increasingly isolate them within echo chambers of extreme ideologies. Via interviews, research, and storytelling, host Kevin Roose sets to prove how YouTube algorithms, social media influencers, and online communities are contributing to our polarization and radicalisation. Kevin introduces us to people who have been seriously impacted by online content and follows them down their rabbit holes to shed light on the internet’s profound effects on society, raising awareness about the dangers of unchecked online consumption.
If you were a fan of Reply All, you might have followed PJ Vogt to his next pursuit, Crypto Island, which explored the world of cryptocurrency and the weird human stories behind the blockchain. He’s now using that feed for a new show, Search Engine, where he’ll explore the kind of questions you usually can’t find online. (In a sneak peek episode, he talks about why monkeys at the zoo are sad.) So it’s kind of like an anti-internet podcast, but it’s coming to you from the king of internet culture discourse, so I think you’ll like it.
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