Book Club: Emma Gannon 'Ctrl Alt Delete'

by - Thursday, August 10, 2017


When I think back to a time where blogging had first really blown up, one of the first names I think of is Emma Gannon. Having followed her blog 'Girl Lost In The City' for an age, she was a writer I delighted in following the success of - creative, motivated and honest, she was proof that blogging wasn't just about owning an expensive camera and hobnobbing round events. For Emma, words really mattered, and as someone who was used to describing myself as a 'journalist' rather than a 'blogger'*, she made me feel as if there was a space in this community for people whose first love was wordplay. Due to her chatty nature, watching her grow and flourish became like watching a friend succeed - I'd never met this person, and yet I was so, so chuffed to watch them reach their goals.

One such goal was writing a book. 'Ctrl Alt Delete' is nearly a year old now, but having finally gotten my act together and picked up a copy, it's everything you could want from Emma's blogging voice and more. Tracking her experiences of growing up online, I'm in total agreement with her that our generation were SO lucky to know an adolescence that existed before instagram. Changing your MSN display name to impress a boy, trusting people with your innermost thoughts before you'd even figured out what they properly were - it's all here in brave and wincing detail, boldly expressing it's own flaws with the same confidence that made HBO's Girls so loveable.

It's not all cringey moments though- if the first half sparks concerns about how teens of the present and future are handling growing up in this all-access world, the latter half of the book is dedicated to the internet as an adult, and the joy that social media can bring - the friends, the conversations, the fact that there is space for everyone. There's a really powerful moment in chapter eleven about trolling where Emma admit that's writers make mistakes and it's okay to change your mind on something - something we so easily forget when we call people out for a poorly-phrased tweet or contradictory quote from their past. 

In the best possible way, Ctrl Alt Delete doesn't feel like something only Emma could have written - it's topic is something that most late 80s/ early 90s born bloggers know well and may have even written a post about. But Emma's not just every other blogger. The power here is in her humorous expression, her passion for her subject and her willingness to laugh at her past. For all of these reasons and more, 'Ctrl Alt Delete' is the logical extension of all the things that are great about the internet - the opportunities to carve out your own space and tell your story, safe in the knowledge that somebody out there will probably see something of themselves in your anecdotes.

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