This review is for the audio version of this book. As a public service announcement, I recommend that you check in with your local library to see if they support OneClickdigital or other apps that let you download audiobooks to your smartphone via library membership. I have listened to a lot of hot bestsellers this way for free! Free!
Like many dorks, I first became aware of Felicia Day in this commercial:
(Not really, but it’s cool that Felicia Day was in popular commercials, which I didn’t know about until this book!) The web series The Guild was my introduction to Felicia Day, and I (almost) never looked back. While not an MMO gamer myself, I have played RPGs for most of my life I certainly associate with a lot of nerdy friends. Day’s world, anxiety, and humor on the show were relatable and honest. I happily followed her comic writing career, Geek & Sundry, and pretty much everything else post-Guild. However, a few years ago, I noticed that she seemed to be complaining a lot, and getting angry. I unfollowed her from several sites. After reading her book and learning what she was going through personally and with GamerGate, I regret my decision. I believe Day is a true creative visionary and leader, and I regret checking out on a fellow human being when kindness would have been a better response to tough times.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet covers Day’s career as an actor, DIY leader and celeb, and human being. For me, the book struck the rare appropriate balance between personal and public. Day vacillates between her private life and creative life in a way that enhances the reader’s appreciation and understanding of both. Her home school-hippie upbringing helped her invent her way to creative fulfillment and success; a path which many are following on. It was interesting to learn about how she grew up, and her time spent at the University of Texas (only a couple of buildings over from where I spent several years). As someone who more or less found his identity on the internet, I also appreciated her stories of finding community online when she couldn’t necessarily find it in person. While social media can be harmful, the internet can also be a literal lifesaver.
As previously mentioned, some of the most profound parts of the book, for me, were Day’s discussion of GamerGate. While I play video games, I didn’t really follow that whole story because it didn’t directly impact me. I’m not part of any relevant online communities and I only play solo games. Hearing about the physical danger that Day was in as a result of putting her head up shocked me, and I am sorry to hear how cruelly so many people are treated online. Not sure what I can do about it, but at least I am no longer ignorant of the situation. Maybe that is a pretty good place to start.
If you are a fan of Felicia Day’s work and are a creative person yourself, I think this is a must read.