Sunday, 4 December 2016

Life Online & Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon


Another day, another memoir. Emma Gannon is one of my favourite writers, her blog being quite possibly my favourite blog, and her podcast sits firmly in my Top 5 podcasts, ever. What I'm trying to get at, is that this book was an instant-buy. But like any well written memoir, you don't need to know anything about Emma or the subject matter, to get on this Ctlr Alt Delete bandwagon. Though if you're reading this post, chances are you already know a thing or two about the internet.

"There are even people in the world who say the word 'hashtag' out loud. It's scary out there" ... 

As the title suggests, the book is essentially broken up into personal essays where Emma discusses her experiences online from childhood to adulthood. It begins at what I'd consider was the birth of social media so; MySpace, Bebo, MSN and Facebook were all happening. Now considering that at this point, none of us knew how to use the aforementioned "in moderation", coupled with the fact that (if you're a 90's kid) we, and Emma were using it at a rather interesting age developmentally; makes for some laugh out loud, awkward and sometimes upsetting anecdotes. Emma talks about having low self esteem as a teenager and how the online world only made this worse; pining it down to "the fault of centuries of people telling women that they need to be pretty little objects and looking a certain way is the fastest, most fail safe way to achieve success" -  quite emotional to read because it rang so true.

You may not have had MySpace or Bebo, I didn't, but the themes are pretty universal. I think now, if you're a user of the internet, it's shaping or moulding you in one way or another. I personally couldn't say I grew up online, I wasn't really interested in social media until I turned 17. Fast forward to 3 years later and I think I read a blog post/watch Youtube/waste hours scrolling through Twitter and Facebook nearly everyday.

In general, I'm a big cheerleader of the internet. I love that people get behind each other on Twitter through hashtags and twitter chats, that you can create and share, that you always know what's going on in the world, that you can catch up with people (even if that's through stalking them on Facebook), I love that saying hashtag online is a thing now, I love memes ...

But there's also the obsession with comparing yourself to other people's social media accounts, cyber bullying, relying on the internet to maintain relationships instead of actually making an effort. So I've recently decided to scale back from the internet a coupe of days a week. Rely less on my phone to keep me company on the loo or in boring situations and you know, actually develop some life skills.

Without setting out to be, this book is really uplifting and insightful. I found a life lesson at the end of each chapter and as I said, hilarious and relatable anecdotes throughout.  Ctrl Alt Delete is a real gem and Emma's voice is like noone else's out there.

5/5
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