I think I mentioned a couple of time that I burned out in February and March — I got exhausted and sick and, around the time of Super Tuesday and the coronavirus really making itself felt, I reached a peak of frustration with… well, the internet in general. By which I mean, really, social media and news reporting, which are my two primary uses for the internet beyond “having a job.” (That both are heavily related to my job is neither here nor there, except that it is, of course.)
I was, at that time, just done with seeing the same self-righteous and utterly inane arguments day after day after day, each one completely convinced of its own ideological purity and unwilling to imagine compromise as anything other than betrayal. There was a level of confidence that dipped into arrogance in, it felt like, every single statement everyone made, and I couldn’t take it. I wanted to walk away from the whole thing. The internet? I wanted to melodramatically declare, It’s not for me.
Cut to now, when the internet has become everyone’s lifeline in these surreal times.
I’m far from the first person to ask you to imagine the coronavirus if the internet didn’t exist; by the time you’re reading this, I don’t doubt that I’m far from the fiftieth. But this entire experience, with everyone closed in and reaching out virtually to interact with the world around them — be it through social media, using Google Earth to visit places in the world that aren’t their homes, or Netflix and Hulu or whatever for just the barest glimpse of human contact and the sound of other people’s voices — feels as if it it’s redefined the purpose of the internet once again, underscored it’s importance in so many lives.
I know that I’m one of those people. Not only has my need for up-to-the-minute news grown with everything that’s happened, but so has my need to hear other voices during everything. See others getting through this, or struggle with the things I am, or find humor where I can’t. The whole thing.
It’s an unexpected, selfish silver lining of everything, that my faith in the internet has been restored by watching it be the lifeline I always secretly believed it was. At this time, I’m taking every silver lining I can find.