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MLA Full: "Logging Off." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 2 December 2016,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2016)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2016, December 2). Logging Off [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2016)
Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Logging Off.", December 2, 2016, YouTube, 03:59,
In which Rosianna Halse Rojas ( fills in for Hank during his paternity leave to talk about logging off and the Internet as a work in progress.

Rosianna elsewhere:
snapchat: rosiannahr

Further reading:
- Invisibilia, Outside In:
- Zadie Smith in Lenny Letter:
- Offscreen magazine:

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Good morning, John and Hank, it's Friday.

My name is Rosianna, I'm John's producing partner, John and Hank's secret sister, a YouTuber over at, and an avid user of the internet.

That being said, today's video is about logging off. Not too long ago I hit my limit of the social internet. I scrambled my passwords, I deleted apps from my phone, I batched quickly away and promptly read more books in a week than I'd read in the previous two months.

I found that I was less anxious, less angry, and that I communicated far better with friends about how I was actually doing.

I'm not here to say though that the internet is bad. For one, I live thousands of kilometers away from most of my friends, though I love seeing updates from 'Nando's' or from the 'Central Line'.

For two, I don't think that the internet is intrinsically anything. It's a tool and system we use and I read a piece in 'Offscreen magazine' recently that kind of summed this up for me:

"We think the internet is inherently a certain way but it isn't. It is constantly changing, and we are the ones who are changing it. We can change it change it for the better, rather than having to change ourselves to adapt to the parts that are toxic for us"

The internet seems like it's made up of code and clouds, but really it's made up of people. Like so much, it comes back to community.

Prior to my mini internet break, part of my reluctance to step back is that I've defined myself through the internet. I've defended the internet to other people, I've defended the joy of meeting strangers, and the special thrill of making something with people that you will never meet. Whether that's something deeply useful, deeply silly, or something that falls in between the two tat may bring a smile but won't necessarily feed the world.

A friend of mine suggested to me that maybe the murkiness of the internet that led to me taking a break and is infused to all of these discussions of online discord is that it wasn't really designed to hold so many people.

Maybe when I used to log onto AOL, always after 6 pm and only if my sisters weren't on the phone, there were fewer people online and that's what made it fun. Through working out together and building it together, rather than entering an internet which felt as ready-made as 'IKEA' furniture. With experts, and pros, and rights, and wrongs, and yes, the occasional missing bolt.

I struggle to believe that though, I think we're still building the internet, there are still voices we aren't hearing, there is still more work to do.

It remind me of one of my favorite scenes from 'The West Wing', when a character called Jeff asks Josh to take out a dollar bill, turn it over, and look at the incomplete pyramid. He says "The seal is meant to be unfinished because this country is meant to be unfinished. We're meant to keep doing better"

Yes, it's idealistic, but I genuinely believe that. The internet is not an iron bunker buried deep deep deep underground. It's infrastructure. And as humans change, we learn more about what helps us and what helps other people. The internet will change and we will change it. We will have more and better ideas about what to do next, not what to do last.

Having said all of that with such confidence I think we are in a time of the internet where a lot of people claim to know the right answer. And the idea that the mess of humanity can be broken down into bullet point lists or alphas and betas is, to me, contradictory to everything that humans have demonstrated overtime.

Maybe we started by not knowing, and what was helpful to me in my time of stepping back from the internet was realizing how bloody long it had been since I had clicked 'log out' or 'log off'. Cine I had made an intentional and active decision about my online behavior rather than a passive one.

It clicked that when I open my computer I'm often on automatic. My 'Twitter' feed, my inbox, my calendar. I'm kind of in a nothing state, and in that nothing state I am Plasticine, and who am I handing that Plasticine to?

Just to get fully quotetastic here, in a Lenny Letter Zadie Smith wrote: "The feels have to possess a certain amount of vertical depth. It's like lowering a stone down into the well of yourself, and the further it goes, the deeper it resounds. A lot of the social platforms provoke feelings in me I simply don't enjoy. For a moment I am flattered, falsely puffed up, briefly amused, painfully hurt, or infuriated"

John, you recommended to me the brilliant podcast 'Invisibilia' and on that there was an episode about how in Rwanda a legislation had been passed to require equal representation in government. But that episodes was also about how that legislation didn't necessarily affect or improve gender inequality around the country.

Essentially (and I'll put the full episode in the description bar below because it's great) that shortcut didn't quite work. And it made me wonder if 'Twitter' was a shortcut that didn't quite work.

Whether we needed to do more long, hard work to get to some of the benefits or include some of the benefits that websites like 'Twitter' provide, hearing from all voices, community organizing. Because otherwise we may be having a bit of a tendency to feel stuck or feel like those are the ultimate solutions.

The long, hard work me/we doesn't pretend to rest easy and admire the pyramid and see it as complete.

The truth is I don't know, and I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

John, I'll se you on Tuesday.