Former blog queen Emily Gould suggests the rest of us delete, unfollow, cancel, and block ourselves from the Web. This is notable chiefly because Gould's last big appearance in print was an excessively detailed confessional of her online misadventures for the New York Times Magazine. The social media age is complicated, she complains in a writeup of Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody for MIT's Tech Review. Someone stop us before we blog again!Gould, a former Gawker editor who institutionalized oversharing as an element of blog style, now plays the penitent. As a writer, she revealed details of her love life in the course of contributing to a gossip site, one that eventually used her exit as more gossip for the mill. Today, though, Gould can't resist the temptation to revisit her past:
Like an expatriate who reads every new novel that's set in her homeland, I read books about the Internet to remember the time I spent working and living there.
Gould argues that dependency on services like Twitter and Facebook to define ourselves gives us "inauthentic" relationships — representations of human connection, not the connection itself. But I stopped reading when she invoked theorist Walter Benjamin's 1936 essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility." Benjamin's worries are still legitimate — his Teutonically hard-to-follow essay prophesized the TV-driven wars of the last two decades. But why is Emily Gould invoking Marxist theory to warn us of the dangers of Twitter and Tumblr? Because, like Shirky, she has a book she wants you to buy.