In IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives, Chris Stedman seeks to answer 'what it means to be digital and to reframe our frustrating, fascinating, and fraught digital lives as a new opportunity to ask persistently difficult questions about what it means to be human.' ... Stedman is at ease in the existential, both digitally and IRL (in real life) ... IRL is a fascinating contribution to this all-important conversation.
... there’s never been a better time for a book like IRL. It’s a book that deals with elemental urges in plain, direct language ... There are dozens of vivid metaphors in the course of this book ... At heart, IRL is a call to break this cycle through what may seem the oddest means imaginable: genuineness. 'It starts with letting ourselves be vulnerable and attached to the world around us instead of treating our digital lives as spaces where we can optimize and design ourselves out of discomfort.' Odds are we’re all going to be living online for the foreseeable future. Stedman’s hard-won wisdom on the subject is well worth heeding.
While IRL is jam-packed with metaphors and beautifully described vignettes of Stedman’s life, the most interesting and perhaps central narrative of the book is the author’s experience with scabies ... Stedman reminds us throughout IRL that these digital lives, though different, aren’t any less real than our offline ones so they must be managed with care.
With the pandemic having moved so many of our 'real life' activities online, here’s a relevant investigation into what it means to be 'real' in virtual space ... Stedman is vigilant about citing scholarly texts to support his arguments, but he ties academic theories to experiences by relating stories from his personal life ... A handy user's manual for leading an online life full of meaning and connection.