Extremely Online

The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet


Acclaimed Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz presents a groundbreaking social history of the internet, revealing how online influence and the creators who amass it have reshaped our world, online and off—“terrific,” as the New York Times calls it, “Lorenz…is a knowledgeable, opinionated guide to the ways internet fame has become fame, full stop.”

For over a decade, Taylor Lorenz has been the authority on internet culture, documenting its far-reaching effects on all corners of our lives. Her reporting is serious yet entertaining and illuminates deep truths about ourselves and the lives we create online. In her debut book, Extremely Online, she reveals how online influence came to upend the world, demolishing traditional barriers and creating whole new sectors of the economy. Lorenz shows this phenomenon to be one of the most disruptive changes in modern capitalism.

By tracing how the internet has changed what we want and how we go about getting it, Lorenz unearths how social platforms’ power users radically altered our expectations of content, connection, purchasing, and power. In this “deeply reported, behind-the-scenes chronicle of how everyday people built careers and empires from their sheer talent and algorithmic luck” (Sarah Frier, author of No Filter), Lorenz documents how moms who started blogging were among the first to monetize their personal brands online, how bored teens who began posting selfie videos reinvented fame as we know it, and how young creators on TikTok are leveraging opportunities to opt out of the traditional career pipeline. It’s the real social history of the internet.

Emerging seemingly out of nowhere, these shifts in how we use the internet seem easy to dismiss as fads. However, these social and economic transformations have resulted in a digital dynamic so unappreciated and insurgent that it ultimately created new approaches to work, entertainment, fame, and ambition in the 21st century.

Extremely Online aims to tell a sociological story, not a psychological one, and in its breadth it demonstrates a new cultural logic emerging out of 21st-century media chaos” (The New York Times). Lorenz reveals the inside, untold story of what we have done to the internet, and what it has done to us.

About the author(s)

Taylor Lorenz is a technology columnist for The Washington Post’s business section covering online culture. Previously, she was a technology reporter for The New York Times business section, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Her writing has appeared in New York magazine, Rolling StoneOutside magazine, Fast Company, and more. She often appears on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and the BBC. She was a 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a former affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Lorenz was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of leaders in Media and Entertainment in 2020. Adweek included her in their Young Influentials Who Are Shaping Media, Marketing and Tech listing, stating that Lorenz “contextualizes the internet as we live it.” In 2022, Town & Country magazine named her to their New Creative Vanguards list of a rising generation of creatives, calling her “The Bob Woodward of the TikTok generation.” She lives in Los Angeles, and you can follow her @TaylorLorenz on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.


"Terrific . . . Extremely Online aims to tell a sociological story, not a psychological one, and in its breadth it demonstrates a new cultural logic emerging out of 21st-century media chaos."

"An enlightening history of the pioneers of influencers."

"Each story Lorenz spotlights is carefully chosen to highlight the power that users have historically held in shaping social media trends and culture."

"If you want to understand what is happening on the internet, you start by reading Taylor Lorenz."

"Taylor Lorenz is telling the real history of the internet." —The Face (LINK)"More than just a history lesson, Lorenz’s well-researched book does a better job of connecting the dots than almost anything else I’ve read on the subject of social media’s meteoric growth, and the unexpected rise of the influencer."

”Readers will learn valuable lessons about…what goes viral and are sure to be blown away when they see the dollar amounts moving through the industry. This socioeconomics docudrama is both fun and terrifying, just like the internet.”

“This astute debut from Lorenz, a Washington Post technology columnist, traces the tumultuous history of social media from the early 2000s to the present…. Lorenz accomplishes the difficult feat of wrangling a cogent narrative out of the unruliness of social media, while offering smart insight into how platforms affect their users.… It’s a powerful assessment of how logging on has changed the world.”


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