Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon

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Book review: Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon

When you got home from school, would you always sign into MSN and spend the rest of the evening speaking to people you've spent the whole day with? Would you set your personal message to show what music you were listening to and then only listen to 'cool' songs to make you look edgy? Did you log in and out again when you saw your crush come online so they would definitely know you were online too? Did you 'accidentally' send them the 'wrong' message in order to get a conversation going? I can safely imagine that most of us did these things, us 'millennials', the ones who grew up with the internet. MSN has since died a sad death and it's all about the Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, and the million other ways we can speak to each other, non-stop. If talking about the internet and reminiscing about your embarrassing teenage years are two of your favourite things to do, this is the book for you.

Emma Gannon blogs at 'Girl Lost in the City' and grew up with the internet having been born on the same day as the big www. She writes about her life as a blogger and as a freelance writer, her experiences with the internet and the wider world, and generally the things that my generation enjoys reading about. The raw stuff, the real stuff, the stuff that happens to us that we've pretty much been conditioned not to talk to each other about. Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online is a more concentrated, focused version of her blog, taking us through her life so far and the internet milestones she has faced, including (as mentioned before) MSN, text sex, catfishing, online dating, trolling, bulling, and careers. I am incredibly grateful that this book exists as I feel it validates the amount of time I spend musing about the internet and thinking about how much it has affected my life (in good ways and bad).

Emma's opinions are balanced. She's not 100% pro-internet-all-the-time and she's not 100% anti-tell-everyone-everything-about-your-life. She shines as an example of someone who is 'doing internet' right, after giving us many examples of when she has done the internet 'wrong'. I didn't feel when reading this that it was supposed to be a slap-on-the-wrist morality tale for millennials to learn that they're doing something wrong, but a confession that now the internet is such a force in our lives, naturally things are going to go wrong for us. There are also so many things that can go right. Emma speaks about how the internet has helped her to get a wonderful career and supportive friends who she never would have met if it wasn't for Twitter. I can admit myself that I have friends who I only know online and I cherish them as much as my 'in real life' friends. (There's a lot of inverted commas going on in this paragraph, I am aware.)

If this book sounds interesting to you, pick up a copy. If you're nearly there but not quite convinced, listen to a few episodes of her accompanying podcast. It's quick, fun, and a good kick up the backside when you're having an unproductive day.

Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online was published in 7th July by Ebury Press and is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook now!

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