REVIEW: iJustine’s An Analog Memoir

Youtuber, online personality and all-around tech-geek Justine Ezarik  released her inaugural book Wednesday and has, for the first time, revealed the realities of living a life online.

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Justine Ezarik, better known by her online username iJustine, initially launched to fame with a Revver and Youtube video where she filmed herself opening a 300-page AT&T phone bill after buying the first ever iPhone.

Now with a collective audience of 2,253,292 Youtube subscribers on her main channel (she has two more), 1.8 Million Twitter followers and the history of becoming the world’s first popular ‘Lifecaster’, iJustine has released her memoirs which tell the backstory to her launch to internet popularity and window into the tech world.

Unlike other Youtubers and online personalities such as Joey Graceffa, Shane Dawson and Connor Franta who have all recently released memoirs of their own, iJustine’s book looks at – and critiques – what lies at the heart of the internet celebrity boom, namely the technology itself.

A self-declared tech-geek from when she was in the womb, iJustine’s writing presents a realistic image of Youtube, Twitter and everything born from the Internet that supplements the somewhat light-hearted self-tales of other online writers.

While she does present the ‘anything can happen if you work hard towards your dream’ sentiment that Graceffa, Dawson and Franta have published, her memoirs are straightforward in the sense that she believes it isn’t easy to make it big on the World Wide Web.

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Additionally, iJustine’s book goes a way to make its readers understand that with great popularity on the Internet comes great responsibility and great risk.

To this extent, iJustine includes anecdotes where online fans had created a storm for both her friends and herself.

These include the time where her close friend and former coworker Justin Kan – the creator of Justin.Tv (now named Twitch.Tv) was at the centre of a police house raid while live streaming to online viewers. Additionally, there was the time where Justine herself was forced out of her house in the middle of the night, arms raised, to a wall of armed police and SWAT men who had believed she had been murdered by her then boyfriend.

Prank calls seem to be a heck of a thing to endure when you’re big on the web.

These memoirs hit a lot closer to home for subscribers of Youtubers around the world in the sense that they speak of areas not really discussed by books that have come before.

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With concepts such as talent managers, different technologies, the concept of going ‘viral’, social media and the financial struggle of working for yourself, An Analog Memoir deconstructs iJustine’s path from the 1990s where the Internet was new and shiny, through the Apple Inc. boom, into the Lifecaster trend and towards the future where immediacy is key, brevity is cool and the Internet’s ability to connect people from anywhere in the world is the next big thing.

Admittedly, iJustine’s memoirs do miss out a lot about her connections with other Youtubers currently in the same position as her, but supplements itself with stories of her other connections in the tech world, underlined by the message that her rise to fame was never actually about her – it was about the power of the Web and the way it brings people together.

In a recent TV interview, iJustine presented the idea that, while people think being a Youtuber simply means setting up a camera, decent lighting and recording a short video for the Internet, it’s actually quite harder than that.

In describing personal stories of friendships damaged, sleeping on nothing but an old mattress on the floor and struggling to find a sustainable income, iJustine’s book presents the realities of doing what she loves, while also showing that it is possible to make it big if you try hard enough and network like mad.

In retrospect, An Analog Memoir was a read worthwhile in the sense that it allowed me personally to emphasise with the world behind the camera.

While becoming a Youtuber and online personality seems glitzy and glamorous, iJustine’s words show that it only becomes that once you’ve passed the grittiness, difficulty and struggles that come with keeping up with day-to-day trends and the ever-changing world of technology.

 

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