I first gained access to the internet on the cusp of adulthood, a few months before I graduated high school in 1994. In the years that followed, it steadily gained presence in my daily life, and in tandem with higher education and venturing timidly into “the real world”, the internet helped expand my universe far beyond its humble origins.
Today, I live in a major metropolitan hub, have personal and professional relationships on almost every continent, and have a wide variety of interests spanning social, cultural, and political affairs the world over. Obviously, the internet is central to my ability to keep up with it all (to the extent that I can), and the argument could be made that there wouldn’t be as much to keep up with if there was no internet, that my universe would be smaller and simpler.
On those days when the inbox is overflowing, a smaller and simpler universe certainly sounds appealing, and there are plenty of resources like Cabin Porn designed to stoke fantasies of leaving it all behind. But as much as I enjoy the occasional quiet respite from the rapid-fire buzz of digital urbanism, for now, I only want my universe to grow larger.