by Ezra Klein
In 2020, I read a book I’d been ignoring for 10 years, Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” It was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and much loved among people who seemed to hate the internet.
But in 2011, I loved the internet. I am of the generation old enough to remember a time before cyberspace but young enough to have grown up a digital native. And I adored my new land. The endless expanses of information, the people you met as avatars but cared for as humans, the sense that the mind’s reach could be limitless. My life, my career and my identity were digital constructs as much as they were physical ones. I pitied those who came before me, fettered by a physical world I was among the first to escape.
A decade passed, and my certitude faded. Online life got faster, quicker, harsher, louder. “A little bit of everything all of the time,” as the comedian Bo Burnham put it. Smartphones brought the internet everywhere, colonizing moments I never imagined I’d fill. Many times I’ve walked into a public bathroom and everyone is simultaneously using a urinal and staring at a screen. … (continue at The New York Times)