Log Off: Why Posting and Politics (Almost) Never Mix

Katherine Cross is a Ph.D. candidate studying online harassment and social media. Her urgent and irreverent treatise, Log Off: Why Posting and Politics (Almost) Never Mix, makes a convincing case that fellow users of open platforms like X and Bluesky ought to reassess their relationships with the technology. "There is an essentially Roach Motel quality to these platforms," Cross writes, highlighting one of her foundational concerns: that the algorithmic structures gamifying human attention-seeking tend to bog down political activism that is conducted predominantly on these apps. Rarely, she argues, do those movements achieve meaningful momentum beyond the "walled gardens" of social platforms.

Cross, however, is no scold. She writes with a self-deprecating affability that arises from a personal fondness for "shitposting" and for the girlfriends she's met on social media. Log Off, at times, reads as a digest of online dramas that have bubbled up in queer and activist communities over the years, but through analyzing these beefs, Cross hopes to discover "how we, especially among the political left, and its constituent movements like feminism, came to believe that the revolution had to be live-tweeted." Her point is not that social media is bad, but rather that it's not an effective replacement for in-person community building, something fundamental to political change.

With iconoclastic flair and personable anecdotes, Cross is an incisive guide through the jungle of social media. Readers blissfully ignorant of what a Twitter "main character" is likely have little need for this book, but the extremely online may appreciate Log Off as an antidote to becoming terminally so. --Dave Wheeler, senior editor, Shelf Awareness

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