The Revealer

“Arguing that the distinction between ‘in real life’ and online life is a false binary, Stedman offers a beautifully written reflection on the powerful role digital media plays in our lives, the problems with social media, and the digital world’s rich possibilities . . . Astute, personal, and compelling.”

Presbyterian Outlook

“This book is for anyone concerned about the long-term impacts of social media use on community degradation, those who are on the fence about the formation of online communities, as well as those once burned by social media . . . Readers eager to dig into practical philosophy or who have had some of their most genuine and long-lasting connections formed online will respond most strongly to this book. It is best suited for a curious individual seeking to make the most of their internet and digital communities, particularly while coming of age.”

Dave Wheeler Shelf Awareness

“It takes curiosity, tenacity and a certain off-the-wall sense of humor to engage meaningfully in these online spaces, so there is no better guide for readers than Stedman, who is a viral Twitter personality, professor of religion and philosophy, and creator of the critically acclaimed podcast Unread . . .┬áStedman brings hope, compassion and understanding to the human side of the Internet, along with a wealth of research, including studies performed by social scientists, and analysis from prominent cultural critics focused on the field . . . For readers wondering how to balance life online and off, IRL provides amiable and invaluable insight.”

Kaya Oakes, America magazine

“Chris Stedman, who has spent years thinking and writing about online life and its impact on our ideas of self and interpersonal relationships, is the perfect guide to unpacking what identity means in the digital age . . . Stedman’s humorous, thoughtful guide to how we can rehumanize the online world is needed [now] more than ever.”

The Los Angeles Review of Books

“In IRL, Stedman makes a compelling argument for embracing our uncertainty about using the internet as a tool to better understand our online and offline lives . . . A balm of thoughtfulness for the digital age.”

Lambda Literary

“Jam-packed with metaphors and beautifully described vignettes . . . 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.”

Cameron Scheetz, AV Club

“Essential. Even without the pandemic, IRL would be a vital read, a thoughtful examination of our perpetually ‘logged on’ existence. . . Eye-opening and affirming, IRL should be required reading before the next time you hit send on a tweet.”

The Believer Magazine

“In Stedman’s latest work, the author turns his thoughtful yet thorough gaze upon the Internet as a means of constructing purpose and identity. A hybrid of memoir, criticism, and reportage. . .all held together by Stedman’s moments of bracing honesty. . .Vital.”