10 Short “How To” Guides For The Modern Internet Persona

How to be a Photographer

Post the Facebook status update, “What’s a good, relatively inexpensive camera for an amateur photographer? Budget’s ~$700.” Tweet your status update, then field both sets of replies. Go buy the recommended camera, download Photoshop, and take a shit ton of close up photographs of everything from faces to cigarette butts. Upload them to your laptop and make everything extremely high contrast with Photoshop. Start a Tumblr and Flickr and post all modified photographs on each. Change your Twitter bio to include “Photographer.”

How to be a Blogger

Start a Tumblr with a theme that allows your Tumblr to look like a magazine. Use the word “Daily” in the title and give the Tumblr a media-centric tagline; something like “NYC Nightlife, Fashion, and Attitude.” Focus, as told, on New York City, fashion, nightlife, personal health, food, or a distinct “Just a small town girl in a big city”/ “being a 20-something” vibe. When people ask you what you do, tell them you’re a blogger, but, no, you don’t get paid. You’re hoping to monetize soon. Change your Twitter bio to include “Blogger,” and of course, list your website as your blog.

How to be an Artist

Start an Etsy ‘store.’ Draw small robots, animals or ‘things’ on printer paper. Add minimal color using the markers you used in grade school. These drawings’ overarching theme should be one of ‘cuteness’ or ‘twee.’ Frame these drawings and list them on Etsy for $20 a piece. Facebook status update that you’ve “finally” started an Etsy page “so [you] can FINALLY start selling [your] art.” Add a vague, self-deprecating line which refers to your newly-taken-up artistry to your Twitter bio; something like “Maker of drawings.”

How to be a Filmmaker

Start a Kickstarter with a $15,000 goal. Ask your Facebook friends and Twitter followers to fund your $15,000 project for a documentary on Legos and its cultural affect it’s had on, well, you. The documentary should be suburban-themed. Start a Vimeo and post a photoreel of shots of Legos set to a Sufjan Stevens song and call it the trailer to your nostaligic post-90s documentary called LEGO (Don’t Let Me Go). Start a Tumblr. Post the trailer on your Tumblr, then link to the trailer on Tumblr via repeated Facebook status updates and tweets. Wait for the cash to roll in.

How to be a Poet

Start a Tumblr with a minimal theme. Refuse to use capitalization. Post poems on your Tumblr that you posted in Craigslist Missed Connections five minutes before. The title of this Tumblr post should be “just posted this on missed connections.” Over the course of a year, comment on other poetry Tumblrs and Blogspot blogs, Facebook friend each blog’s respective author, and find yourself immersed in a rampant, very public, almost 24-hour ego-building exercise in which you and all of your new friends consciously and continually refer to each other loudly as “poets” and “writers” in the hopes of other internet-people seeing your alternative affect and thinking that you and the crowd with which you roll is deep. Obviously, never refer to yourself as a poet, especially not in your Twitter bio.

How to be a Graphic Designer

Start a Tumblr. Buy the domain name of your full name. Download Photoshop and InDesign. Use Helvetica over some otherwise mundane photos you took at the park last week or old elementary school portraits. Post them to Facebook and your Tumblr. Save the best ones for your ‘Portfolio” and “CV,” which you’ve built on your website. Add “I’m into typefaces” to your Twitter bio.

How to be a Novelist

Write a 20,000 word, overly-emotional (or overly affected) thinly-veiled account of the past six months of your life. Self publish it on lulu.com. Message all your Facebook friends that you’ve just published your first book. The day that your books arrive from lulu.com, post a Facebook status update that you’re excited, that your books have just arrived! You never thought you’d have a book published! Mass invite your Facebook friends to your book release party, which you are hosting, at your apartment, at which, you’ll be reading.

How to be a Musician

Start a Bandcamp profile, MySpace page, Facebook Group, Twitter, and Blogspot blog. Link to them via your own personal Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. ‘Release’ an album that’s actually just a burned CD of tracks you recorded in your Dad’s den and mixed with CoolEdit. Proceed to promote it heavily on your band’s MySpace page, Facebook Group, Twitter, and blog. After six hours of burning CDs and copying/ cutting out the ‘album art,’ notify your ‘fans’ via each social network that “all [your] CD’s have arrived.” Take pictures of the CD cover and post them on all your social profiles. Mass invite your Facebook friends to the album release party, which you are hosting, at your apartment, at which, you’ll be playing. Add your band’s MySpace page to your Twitter bio.

How to be a Model

Start a Lookbook profile and a Tumblr. Get a Polaroid camera or the Hipstamatic iPhone app. Take pictures of yourself in forests and on beaches. Occasionally don your mom’s wedding dress for added nostalgia. Post all this on Tumblr. Use the Tumblr to also blog militantly about obscure, high-end brand names. Read ‘fashion blogs’ written by people who are themselves marginal in terms of fame/ influence. Reference Jezebel often. Unabashedly treat your suburban roots as fashionable and next-level. Add “Sometimes-model” and/or “Fashion blogger” to your Twitter bio.

How to Really, Really Need Other People’s Approval

Follow all How To’s contained in this article. TC mark

image – Deutsche Fotothek


More From Thought Catalog

  • guest

    skimmed the titles, loled at the last line

  • Brandon

    start a tumblr and go from there.

  • http://thetangential.com Becky Lang


  • http://twitter.com/TeenageWebmail Josh Mosh

    etsy post killed it. i bought your book of poems last week brandon, i enjoyed it, but what's the deal with no caps? do most of your poet friends ignore caps?

  • http://www.calvinmarkus.com criss angel

    you nailed the photographer one… so many of those people…. usually girls in my case… but bands are the most annoying

  • http://twitter.com/Erikhaspresence Erik Stinson

    just took a picture of myself reading thought catalog and posted it to timesquare. there will be free wine.

    • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump

      I want to see someone beef with Erik Stinson

      • Brandon

        i feel like beefing with stinson

        where he at..

  • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti


  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    Could be called “How to be a Don Quixote.” Seems depressing that being creative can be such a delusional indenvoure (totally misspelled). Seems 'liberal' art majors should switch to business majors and 'buy in,' or accept minial jobs (like copy clerks) or go for the grad school and teach, where you'd at least spend your days engulfed in your art of choice. Talking about literature all day would be pretty sweet! Always enjoy.

  • kzspygv

    I'm fine with any of this so long as one makes even a nominal amount of money off the work they so ardently advertise. That might sound like a shallow technicality, but it's true.

  • Catt

    Oh, this was perfect. The “I'm into typefaces” made me laugh way too loudly.

  • azi

    good list

  • lovecraft

    this is sadly, unbelievably true. i remember when art was an actual passion, not a means of earning 'cool points'

    • xtos
      • http://twitter.com/#!/willandbears Masha Sun

        dude. it never was. not since the advent of the 19th century, aka capitalism

      • ricky sccchitliyz


      • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump


  • JoeyMartin

    lego documentary

  • Kaitmauro

    I've done the novelist thing.. Shit haha.

  • OKAY

    how do i make tumbler

  • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

    You could sink the whole ship if you wrote “How to Be A Muu Muu House Writer.”

    • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

      “How to Be A Writer Most Known for Expressing Unsolicited Negative Opinions about A Group of Writers, Not Their Own Writing”

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        And surely the name Megan Boyle is never associated with Tao Lin's, and surely you'd have ever gotten published purely of your own merit otherwise. Surely. And surely I've ever referred to myself as a Writer. Who wants to be a writer? Writing is boring. Especially narrative navel gazing born of everyday hipsterdom.

        What's a writer?

        Why would I want to be one?

        Why am I still writing this comment?

      • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

        good one…

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        Now while I've got your attention, I just want you to know that the whole premise of your statement is based, as are all things you put into words, purely on your own experience. Not any objective standard or more broadly rational process of deduction. It's not that hard for anyone in my life, of course, to realize that I am “most known” as the tireless submitter to hundreds of magazines, repeat offender of red lights, or guy who smokes a million cigarettes.

        It is not that hard to imagine, while we're on the subject, that at least a few of the people “knowing” me in this respect might never have even heard of your husband or his “group of writers.” It might even be that there are a few editors in New York City who've never heard of him — despite his countless stunts.

        Thus I think your comment was a tad reductive, all things considered, but I'm willing to forgive that in exchange for your weed connect in Baltimore.

        Take care.

      • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

        “Now while I've got your attention, I just want you to know that the whole premise of your statement is based, as are all things you put into words, purely on your own experience. Not any objective standard or more broadly rational process of deduction. It's not that hard for anyone in my life, of course, to realize that I am “most known” as the tireless submitter to hundreds of magazines, repeat offender of red lights, or guy who smokes a million cigarettes.”

        i realized that after i commented and tried to delete it. commented on an impulse.

        do you want to hang out in baltimore sometime? i'm being serious. i don't smoke weed anymore but currently have a lot of xanax.

      • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

        really want to stress that i'm being serious, i think it would be interesting to meet.

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        I'm in. Moving into my place in Hampden this weekend. Pretty much going to be free any night of the week for the next few months. Give me a call at 202-316-3633 or write me paulhenrymadore@gmail.com whenever.

      • Missy

        How To Hook People Up – right here

      • GIRL

        I'm scared for Megan's safety.

      • Troll

        Thanks for the digits.

      • AaronWB

        And women wonder why men act like jerks to them… Here is my synopsis of this exchange:

        PHM: MuuMuu House is lame and Megan Boyle's recognition as a writer is based on her sleeping with Tao Lin.

        MB: You are such a jerk and a loser. I have worked hard to become a writer and I never thought I would be successful but my writing started to gain recognition before I ever met Tao Lin. In any case, I am proud to be associated with Tao Lin and MuuMuu House. You are obviously a frustrated writer but I would still never discourage you.

        PHM: Based on some sort of pseudo-logical flapdoodle, I want you to recognize that your comment is bullshit but I forgive you.

        MB: You're right, wanna hang out and do xanax sometime?

        PHM: Sure babe, here's my number. Give me a call when you are ready for me.

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        i want a divorce

      • AaronWB

        I love it that you guys actually take internet commenting seriously. This is perhaps one of the most charming things about the MuuMuu House gang, from an over-involved reader's perspective. There is something inherently shameful about being an internet commenter, but you guys make it feel rewarding. Makes me feel like I have some sort of weird ownership or involvement in your career/work.

        Seems like the opposite of the Pynchon/Salinger approach of avoiding all contact from fans except where necessary to lure Joyce Maynard into an exploitative sexual relationship (where am I going with this?).

        Makes me want to read everything you write AND have a definite opinion about it.

      • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

        wait, one thing has been bothering me a little, just want to clarify: i posted “everyone i've had sex with” on my blog in 2009 when it had about 4 unique visitors per day. i had never been published nor had realistic intentions to publish. i commented on tao's blog and he read mine and asked if i wrote stories/poems and i said yes and posted a story on my blog. tao didn't comment or instigate a publishing process for it, so it remained on my personal blog until i sent it to 3am magazine it became the first thing i've written that someone has published.

        a few months later tao asked if he could publish “everyone i've had sex with*” on muumuu house and i said “yes.” i started feeling like my desire to write was becoming more realistic and i felt good about that possibility, so i started writing more things.

        this september thought catalog asked to re-publish “everyone i've had sex with” and i said “yes.” i started sending things to thought catalog because they seemed receptive to my writing.

        a few days ago gizmodo re-published one of my thought catalog articles and it received ~25k hits. they did not solicit me before doing this, nor would i ever think to submit something to them.

        so i would argue that i was published of my own merit, in that i wrote something and without trying, (more than posting on a personal blog and commenting on a blog of someone whose writing i liked) it received attention which made me think it made sense for me to write more things. my blog was just an extension of a journal which served to function as “something to do to keep me occupied while depressed while also maybe 'testing' out a desire to write.” since i felt that the “test” passed, i focused on writing. had it not, i probably would have concentrated mostly on finishing my psychology degree instead of dropping out of college, which i did because i feel that success in writing now seems maybe realistic for me, if i work hard (anticipate disparaging remark from you).

        i've never said anywhere that my name isn't associated with tao lin's. if i hadn't seen “he runs a blog: reader-of-depressing-books.blo…” on the back of “bed” in 2007 i don't think i would be writing this right now. i'm happy one the people who i've found most inspiring liked something i wrote enough to publish it. i'm happy that one of the things i felt when i first read tao was less lonely. i'm happy that i've found something that makes me feel like i have more of a reason to exist (both writing and my relationship). so yes, i'm really happy my name is associated with tao lin's.

        i don't know if you've ever referred to yourself as a “Writer,” though i would argue that you want to be one because you referred to yourself as a “tireless submitter to hundreds of magazines” below. i regret my initial mean-spirited comment. i think it was in poor taste and i want to try to avoid saying snarky things that might discourage anyone, because i think writing something like that is self-serving but for no purpose. ultimately i'd like to ignore urges towards making others feel bad for doing things they like to do.

        *TO BE CLEAR: in your first, deleted comment you said “Even if that were the case, at least I didn't have to fuck anyone to get that recognition”–while i had never met nor fucked tao at the time, i guess it could be argued that i had to fuck people to write something called “everyone i've had sex with,” which is why i initially responded to your comment with “good one…” (i feel like that is/was a “good one”)

      • http://avantgardebagpipesolos.tumblr.com/ Omar De Col

        D! N! A!
        D! N! A!

      • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper


      • http://twitter.com/goutspleen victoria trott

        u a clever 'bol'/ 'boul'/'bull'

      • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper

        I think. I don't really understand. But y'know. Attention…

      • http://twitter.com/goutspleen victoria trott

        i accidentally it's only a word from philadelphia

        just felt pretty surprised and happy when i read that right after megan's comment

  • http://notatoaster.tumblr.com Mary

    “Fashion blogger” deserves its own post.

    Start tumblr (or blogspot), start lookbook, buy thrift store dresses and Jeffrey Campbell shoes, change bio to “fashion blogger” or “stylist”, have photographer boyfriend take pictures in nature/on a city street/in front of or inside random house, relentlessly and annoyingly pimp your blog on other fashion blogs and websites. Also make sure blog content is at least 1/3 anecdotes of all the “quirky” things you do in your spare time, like eat cupcakes in front of an old schoolhouse or look at ceramic owls in flea markets.

    I don't care if it's an easy target. It's a deserving one.

    • http://twitter.com/goutspleen victoria trott

      if ur lookin for somethin different……. norm-defying


      • http://twitter.com/goutspleen victoria trott


  • Holley


  • OH

    How To Be Unsupportive and Discourage Creativity: Write shit like this.

    • uhnonnymus

      Avid tumblr.

      • OH

        Fuck Tumblr.

      • OH

        What I'm trying to say is that this piece was created on backwards logic. Everyone starts somewhere. So what if you want to post a really great photo you took or share your art with friends through some kind of “social network” (be it Tumblr or not)? I just don't think we should sit here and make fun of young creatives who are just starting out in their artistic endeavors. They shouldn't have to worry about what people are going to say about them in their snarky social commentary. This piece promotes the idea that somehow TC blog postings are more legit than other people's art work. It's just not constructive. It kills the art community rather than fostering it.

      • Brandon

        feel pretty confident that creativity/ the art community is going to continue to thrive in the post-10-Short-“How-To”- Guides-For-The-Modern-Internet-Persona world

      • http://twitter.com/Erikhaspresence Erik Stinson

        'how brandon gorrell destroyed my creativity' a gawker article by erik stinson

      • OH

        I just think it would make more sense to write something constructive. Like, evaluate your work in this and this way before you post it on the Internet. Understand your audience and how it might be perceived… that kind of a thing. Something that promotes improved quality of work maybe. I don't know.

      • Trollin'Flirty

        I'm jealous of your crazy success!

      • TrollWhoa

        don't you get it, you're the reason people even start tumblr's. don't belittle your influence, you have friends, it's just they are all 'internet personas'.

      • ricky schitltiiz

        na bro, it doesn't kill the art community, if you think that the art community is tumblr/flickr/etc… you don't know what you're talking about… that shit is just teens with nothing to do with their lives

  • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle


    • TrollBro

      “How to Steal an Article's 'Thunder'” by Megan Boyle, your comments are more interesting than the post. Of course on was tl ; dr

    • TumblrTroll

      Does Tao tell you how pretty you are when you brush your teeth? Because he's lying…

  • champ

    never do anything creative ever, obviously

  • Jennifer

    this is the truth / da troof

  • Piquo

    From the “About” section of TC:

    “8. We’re generous. We’re positive. We’re friendly. We prefer to focus on the good than the bad. We’re more celebratory than critical.”

  • Reallydudeeeee

    this article made me tired.

  • Foreveralone77


    The plural of Lego is Lego.

    • http://topologyoftheimpossible.com M. Kitchell

      tell em why you mad son

blog comments powered by Disqus