Jenny is a 15-year-old from Canton, MI. She likes playing video games, eating in excess and oftentimes finds words therapeutic.
Ted is probably my favorite website at this moment. It’s filled with videos of “talks” by hundreds upon hundreds of incredibly brilliant minds. They’re all on fascinating subjects, anywhere from wireless electricity to how social networks predict epidemics to bacterial communication to what hallucination says about our minds… I can barely begin to describe the vast majority of subjects covered by this website. The best part is, the videos don’t feel like a lectures and it’s not boring in the slightest because the topics are so interesting and many of the videos are under ten minutes long. Ted’s slogan is “Ideas worth spreading”… I can only wholeheartedly agree.
Although there are a plethora of “video of the day” websites and blogs, something about Wimp’s simplicity appeals to me. Wimp is the most minimalist site you can get—links to about four or five interesting videos a day. Black text on a clean gray background. The beauty of Wimp, however, lies in the variety of videos posted. Some are charming, some are inspirational, some are innovative, some are informative, some are artistic… anything and everything can be posted there, and I’d say 97% of the videos are worth watching. Rarely ever does a video exceed ten minutes and usually they’re under five. They can leave you smiling or contemplative and cost almost nothing in time to watch.
In the true spirit of a top 10s list, I present to you a quick and fun site to click around that is about lists in 10s of awesome things. The lists range anywhere from “10 Amazing Water-Themed Digital Art” (one of my favorites!) to “10 Awesome Napkin Drawings” to “10 Awesome iPad Finger Paintings” to “10 Awesome Movie Infographics” in the art section alone. The site isn’t limited to just lists, though… there are short but still interesting articles to read. Sometimes they’ll just post a fascinating photo up for your enjoyment.
For those who believe that the Internet is for games, this is the perfect site to entertain you for a few minutes at a time (possibly more). It’s filled with flash games that can get strangely engaging. They have the ability to pull at your heartstrings (see The Company of Myself) and make you pull at your hair (see Obey the Game). Some seem more like works of arts then games themselves (see Coma). The point being, the games are hugely varied and all incredibly fun. The site is divided up into separate categories for different types of games (shooter, puzzle, strategy, multiplayer, etc.), and there are hundreds of gems to choose from. Kongregate is the preeminent minigame website.
Last.fm is basically a music site dedicated to helping users find new music. You add songs to your Library and favorite songs so the site gets a feel for what kind of music you like and recommends songs through the “Your Recommended” station you can click to, where they’ll play recommendations for you and you can favorite or ban then as you choose. Otherwise you can also pick a band you like and listen to their station and have similar bands recommended to you. Last.fm won over the more-popular Pandora simply because it has unlimited skips for songs you dislike and it offers more information on individual bands and a better community for sharing music. I have to say, last.fm’s ability to suggest songs and bands you’ll like is spot-on, and only gets more accurate with time. You can hop on and listen to a track or two whenever you have time.
This one is a bit of a given. I don’t think I know a single person with Internet who hasn’t heard of StumbleUpon, but that’s just because it’s so good at what it does. StumbleUpon suggests random websites, pictures, videos, and more to each user based on previous favorited suggestions and based on the subjects the user selects as his or her places of interest. It’s easy to get lost amid the tens of thousands of pages StumbleUpon has to offer, especially because it’s so easy to give something a thumbs up or down and click the “Stumble” button on the pop-up toolbar just one more time. Some of the recommendations are truly mind-blowing and it can get incredibly attuned to your specific likes and dislikes with enough time.
This website is an absolute must for anyone who reads for pleasure. Published books are all listed up on the website for anyone to rate, review, read or post comments on, add to their “To-Read” bookshelf or their “Have- Read” bookshelf or add as one of their favorites. You can share book recommendations with people with similar tastes and ask for help in finding new reads from others. The website itself has a charming design that makes me feel bookish just looking at it.
Blippy is an awesome website for anyone with friends who’re willing to sign up with you. You can link any e-commerce account you have to it so that everyone who’s following you to see what you’re buying and read the reviews you’ve written about products. Things like iTunes and Netflix can all be linked, or you can link your credit card so they’ll see what you’re buying (with adjustable privacy settings, obviously). You can also just do reviews of products you’ve bought if you don’t want to link anything to your account. It’s a fantastic way to see what people are buying and what they think of it and share your own opinions on products, and bizarrely fun to check up on every now and then.
Dump is a random funny picture generator website. It’s honestly just pages upon pages of pictures that can be humorous, inspirational, adorable, satirical, or more. I usually leaf through a few pages every day and get a good laugh out of them.
For any teenager seeking to expand their SAT vocabulary and donate to charity at the same time… well, until now you’re been sore of luck. Thankfully, the good people at freerice.com know and have responded to your needs. The site offers multiple choice questions about SAT vocabulary words with increasing difficulty as you get more and more answers correct. With each correct answer, ten grains of rice are donated. The beautiful thing is you see a constant tally of how much rice you’ve donated in a bowl, motivating you to continue further to fill the bowl, and then another bowl, and then another. This is a great website to stop by for just a few minutes to polish up on your vocabulary and know you’re making a difference somewhere in the world.