And The Heart Says Whatever

I have a conflicted history with the internet.

 I’m currently without it at home, but I also used to book off Saturdays so I could spend the morning online. In a sense, the internet and all of its spoils used to control my life. That being said, I’d never heard of Emily Gould until her book arrived in the office.

Emily Gould is a former editor of Gawker.com. She gained notoriety for defending Gawker’s paparazzi ethics during a Larry King Live segment and for penning a New York Times Magazine cover feature discussing the public nature of her professional and romantic experiences while working for the site.

At the age of 27, she’s already betrayed friends, family and lovers.  She’s been much beloved, as well as viciously reviled, and her writing is almost impossible to ignore. Emily’s new book, And The Heart Says Whatever is an incredibly honest and interesting read about our current culture and the increasing conflicts of a life lived online.

As people, we are imperfect, we make mistakes, and in many cases those mistakes are what make us unique. What’s different now, as opposed to five years ago, is that all of those mistakes are displayed online (willingly or otherwise). Our interests, pastimes, and thoughts, are offered up and displayed for dissection by the eyes of our peers, coworkers, and employers.

Like many of us, Emily is still learning how to negotiate the boundaries of online professionalism. Jonathan Franzen says that Emily “makes sense of much that is puzzling about our cultural movement”, and I have to agree. Things like love, work, and sex circulate differently in this Web 2.0 age, but Emily breaks it all down honestly.

In the end, Emily doesn’t really apologize for the things she’s said or done, and I almost like her better for it.