It's easy and reflexive to view our online presence as fake, to see the internet as a space we enter when we aren't living our real, offline lives. Yet so much of who we are and what we do now happens online, making it hard to know which parts of our lives are real.
IRL, Chris Stedman's personal and searing exploration of authenticity in the digital age, shines a light on how age-old notions of realnesswho we are and where we fit in the worldcan be freshly understood in our increasingly online lives. Stedman offers a different way of seeing the supposed split between our online and offline selves: the internet and social media are new tools for understanding and expressing ourselves, and the not-always-graceful ways we use these tools can reveal new insights into far older human behaviors and desires.
IRL invites readers to consider how we use the internet to fulfill the essential human need to feel reala need many of us once met in institutions, but now seek to do on our own, onlineas well as the ways we edit or curate ourselves for digital audiences. The digital search for meaning and belonging presents challenges, Stedman suggests, but also myriad opportunities to become more fully human. In the end, he makes a bold case for embracing realness in all of its uncertainty, online and off, even when it feels risky.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Amateurs 1
Chapter 2 Anxietweets 11
Chapter 3 In the Stars 25
Chapter 4 Mapping the Territory 75
Chapter 5 Drafting Distance 117
Chapter 6 Inked 163
Chapter 7 The Roles We Play 205
Chapter 8 Uncertaintweets 249
Outro: The Velveteen Habit 299