Book Review – How to Be Yourself on the Internet by Samantha Clarke

I’d like to lead off by stating this is not a sponsored post or anything of the sort. I actually went and bought this book with my own money, so take that all for what it’s worth.

Most of you who read this blog are already familiar with Samantha from The Jill of all Trades. If you’re not aware of her work, click on the link in the previous sentence and take a look at her blog. I’ll wait. It’ll help give this review some context.

Back? Awesome.

When I read that Samantha had published a book, I was quite excited. She’s one of my favorite bloggers to read, as well as one of the more prolific commentors on this blog((As of 2/5/2014, she accounts for approximately 15% of the comments on this site. No exaggeration.)). Some of my favorite posts of hers delve into the more humorous side of her mind, be they discussing religion, introspection, sex, or feminism. Without looking much into the book, I was hoping for a humor-filled book, similar to what Allie Brosh did after her time at Hyperbole and a Half.

How to Be Yourself on the Internet is not a humorous read. Sure, Samantha’s natural humor does come out in bits, but that’s not the point to the book. The premise behind How to Be Yourself on the Internet is to act as a quick reference guide((And I do mean quick…it’s only 24 pages long.)) to creating the foundations for your personal brand on the internet. Samantha discusses topics such as the importance of deciding your internet ethics, the difference between criticism and trolling, and why it’s important to have a life outside of the internet (among other things) within the pages.

I see How to Be Yourself on the Internet being particularly useful for two groups of people. The first group is bloggers, particularly those who are blogging for the first time or who are looking to re-launch themselves into the larger internet landscape. The advice within the pages of How to Be Yourself on the Internet is a great reference guide for building your brand and helping you to choose how to interact with readers. The second group that this book could be of significant benefit to are younger teens — ideally those who are just being introduced to social media and internet communities — as a way to help them learn very basic etiquette rules. Sure, the book features a curse word or two, but if you’re worried about your little snowflake reading a naughty word in a book, you really don’t want them on the internet.

How to Be Yourself on the Internet is available directly on Samantha’s blog at this page. It’s a pay-what-you-want ebook, which means you could pick it up for free if you so desire, or pay whatever price you deem as fair. It’s a short, but valuable read on a topic that goes a bit overlooked online. The book’s definitely worth picking up, even with a modest donation.

  1. Thank you for the lovely review, Tim! I’m sorry you were expecting a humor book–that didn’t even cross my mind as an impression people would get, but it definitely makes sense and I sincerely hope you’re the only person who had that idea. 🙁

    I do plan on writing a humor book soon too, though, if that helps. 😀

    As for teenagers–I’d love to influence teenagers, it’s their parents who might not be on board. Like when 6 year olds point at me and yell “Mommy, look, LOOK!!! She has BLUE HAIR!” at the mall and the moms frown and say “yeah, she does. Here, you want your snack now?”

    1. Don’t feel bad about the humor book assumption. If nothing else, the fact that it wasn’t a humor book gave me the opportunity to highlight some of the humor posts you’ve written.

      Your point about parents and how they react to people with non-natural hair colors makes me a bit ragey on a related-but-not-related topic. I may have to write a post about how public schools limit who can and cannot teach at schools based off of hair color and having tattoos.

      1. Post related: I totally meant to get this book this weekend. I’m slacking as blogger. I’m on the way, Jill…seriously.

        Comment related: I think if we allowed more freedom in high schools, people wouldn’t loose their minds once they get the freedom of college/adulthood. I’m kind of hoping I get a little nerdy freak when I have kids. They end up being the coolest people. So much more depth.

        1. Speaking as a kid who was super nerdy in high school (well sort of…I did newspaper/yearbook, marching band, jazz band, and academic challenge…but I also lettered in three sports), we do turn out pretty awesome.

  2. Not that I doubted the book would be awesome, but this post makes me want to get it even more.

    If she prints a paperback version, I’ll buy that too. I want to have an entire bookshelf just dedicated to 20SB awesome writers (hint hint, nudge nudge everyone).

    I’m excited to read and review this myself.

    1. I can certainly promise you that I’m working towards trying to get a book to put on your shelf. You need not worry.

      I’d like to think I did her book justice. As I said, it’s a very short work, but I think there’s a lot of good information in its pages.

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