Ctrl Alt Delete - How I Grew Up Online By Emma Gannon #Review

Friday, 21 October 2016

When I first saw the buzz about this book I knew I had to get my hands on it and I am so pleased I did! Within the first two pages I knew I'd be hooked and agreeing with Emma on so many things...

" It's amazing to think that only eleven years was all about experimenting with emails, illegally downloading Backstreet Boys songs via Napster or Limewire and playing Snake on a Pay As You Go brick phone that could only churn out 120-character text messages. (a good skill to have honed years later when Twitter was invented) ...."

I think from this you can see why I loved it so much! It was so refreshing to read something written by someone who can remember a time when we (shock horror!) didn't have the internet...! 

"....even if MSN was the only medium available.........During these first few years online, I learned to social network way before it was a thing - and itall happened undercover. I was introduced to Bebo, MSN and Myspace, and consequently the embarrassing profiles, incriminating comments and chats (with their dubious statuses...) "

 A time before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories of today. 

I can tell that Emma was coming from a genuine place, really wanting to tell her story of how she grew up online and just how much the internet dominates our very existence (Hell, I'm writing on an online blog about a book that is about being on the internet...!). 

The thing I loved most about Emma's book was how she not only told embarrassing stories of herself as a teenager and trying to figure out just who the hell she should be online and off, but how she comes to it through grown up eyes, giving us more of an insight into the woman she's grown up to become; thanks, in part, to the internet.

In the last chapter of the book, Emma tells us about being in the audience of a panel event ('What Do We Tell Our Daughters?') at Sutton House in Homerton in early 2014:

" It was a lot to take in. The truth was, it all made me nervous because I wasn't on of those people who had a solid opinion on everything. In your twenties you are still meant to be be working things out..........due to the explosion of blogs, Twitter and forums, we all have the free tools to tell the world exactly what we think, when we want....."

I still feel I am trying to work things out and I am not entirely sure if I have an opinion on feminism or not so reading Emma's words made me feel a little better about all of this and feel that my opinion, whatever that may be, is important too and i shouldn't let anyone else get in the way of that or try to stop me from voicing it. That's one of the good things about having a blog, you can write exactly what you want "....Anyone can hit 'publish' on their own version of their story.." 

Reading Emma's book has, among other things, made me realise that as we live more and more of our lives online, it's important to surround yourself with people who share the same views as you do "....I realised that my Internet fetish is finding strong women with unique voices and asking them to be my friend..."  Then it becomes easier to become more of the person you want to be when you're not constantly fighting against the views of others! 

I think anyone would enjoy Emma's book as it is easy and fun to read and makes me laugh and remember fondly the old times of the internet, before it became the mass information overload it is today. 

There are so many pages of this book I want to fold down, mark in some way so I can remember them later. Emma's voice is a strong one and I am so pleased I managed to get my hands on her book. It is an autobiography, but one with a difference One for today. As well as Emma recalling (sometimes embarrassing) stories, she then talks about how it has shaped her today and how those formative years taught her to be brave and use the internet to her advantage. As Emma says at the end of her book, when she's talking about death: 

"....There is something wonderful about the idea that you are leaving little pieces of yourself for you loved ones to find in years to come, or for a random stranger to enjoy your writing or pictures a hundred years later. We all just want to be remembered, don't we? "

Emma's book is £12.99 and can be purchased online. 

Have you read it?? What do you think about how the Internet has evolved?? Can you remember a time before the Internet?? 

Love, Sarah

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