Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The 2013 CincySarah Internet Awards

Apropos of nothing, my little guy was in a "mini-Nutcracker" this year.
Look at the cute. LOOK AT IT.

I promised, long, long ago, to promote a few of my new favorite online spots. And then, because of reasons and also Reasons, I didn't. I didn't forget, though. You really should be reading these things, too, and I'd be remiss in not mentioning them here at some point.

I present to you the CincySarah Certified Awesome Sites I Spent A lot of 2013 Looking At And Stuff (CSCASISALLAAS):

Favorite Escape: Camp Tramps

I mean, seriously. I'm ready to stow away; aren't you? Credit: Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman is hilarious, talented, irreverent, and basically all around great. She also spends a great deal of time cooped up in a cute little camper, traveling around America with her adorable husband Brad. Lucky for us, she tells us all about her adventures on her fantastic new photo travel site thingie, Camp Tramps. I love the photography, and I often find myself convulsed with laughter over the stories. Amy is really adept at making her readers feel like they have stowed away in her fifth wheel (is that a camper thing? it sounds like a camper thing), or at least wishing they had. Did I mention the camper has been christened "Breaking Brad?" 

Favorite Site for When I Want to Feel Extremely Emotional: Humans of New York

"One day you’ll feel eighteen, look sixty, and wonder what happened." Credit: HONY
Yeah, yeah, late to the party, yadda, yadda. That just means I got to binge on the amazing content here when word of this amazing collection of emotion-stirring imagery finally made its way to me through my fortress of Candy Crush Saga and obscure subReddits about home canning and ukulele playing. I felt ashamed for having wasted so much time that I could have been spending at HONY. 

Because... wow. 

This isn't about trick photography or some cheap, staged, click-baiting stunt. HONY is this unassuming guy named Brandon and his camera. It's simple. He goes around NYC and asks people about their story and then shares it with us. The lucky, so very lucky, us. When I go here, I feel like I'm part of the human race. I'm overwhelmed by the raw, beaten-down expression of people who are experiencing pain I'll probably be fortunate enough to never experience, and I'm bemused by the old guys with funny jokes, and inspired by the ancient couples who still remember this one tiny story about a moment in their shared life, 50 years ago... It's an example of using this medium for good. It also makes me want to do a Humans of Cincinnati feature, like yesterday.

Favorite "Primary Source" Online Resource: Letters of Note

A hilarious form letter from Steve Martin to a fan. Read more at: Letters of Note.

Lately, I crave real content. You can only read so many formulaic "news" articles focused more on driving traffic than delivering actual journalism before you're ready to write the whole thing off. I've been there a lot this year. I'm sick of feeling like I'm on the receiving end of a sales transaction with every click I make. This is only part of the reason I find Letters of Note, and its tagline, "Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience," such a refreshing break. 

It's just what it sounds like - real letters in their original form, lovingly scanned in for internet posterity. It's letters to and from famous people, historical figures, regular people - even the occasional pet is addressed. 

Wait. You do remember letters, right? They were those pages with the swirly letters, usually sent to you by a grandparent or distant cousin. In the case of the cousin, they were probably written under duress, thanking you for the gift you didn't know you sent, usually a shirt. No? All the more reason to get over there. Letters of Note is also reason enough to bring back the cursive writing, or at least, cursive reading, requirement to all public school systems.

How amazing is it to be able to read, on your tiny phone/computer/homing device, a beautiful, original letter from 16th century South Korea, written from a young, grieving widow to her dead husband? It's incredible and Letters of Note is another good example of using this medium for something important.


Thus concludes this round of CincySarah Internet Awards (CIA! Much easier to remember). I wanted to share these sites with you, and there are many more, but never enough, because I fully understand how disheartening it can feel out here. I'm guilty of wasting tons of precious time on stupid internet things, so don't feel judged about the fact that you may have just spent 45 minutes learning about the doge meme (it is delightful; I get it).

I just strongly encourage you to seek out the gems, too. There are still real people putting in honest hours to bring the world to your device, for the love of sharing the stories that make the world revolve, for the creative outlet, maybe because they feel they simply must.

Whatever the reason, I'm richer for their devotion.

What have you been reading in 2013?


Amy said...

I am looking at the cute. It is indescribably delicious.

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