Thank god for the internet

On a recent Tuesday, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, I watched my six-year-old daughter Zelda tune into a live webcast to learn how to draw an elephant with about 200,000 other kids around the world. She was rapt. And her elephants are getting quite good.

The internet, and everything that uses its pipes, has truly become our line to the rest of humanity — not in an abstract way. In an actual way.

After lunch, Zelda has a group hang with her friends from school. For about 45 minutes straight they scream, jump on their beds (not allowed, of course), show off their art, and generally act like insane kids. Spontaneous group events have begun to flood my feeds. Some nights, I’m tuning into at-home DJ sessions from Diplo and Questlove — both of whom are interacting with their audience like it’s a group of old friends they invited over for a house party. Last Friday, we had an Input editor’s happy hour where everyone put on fancy clothes (Cheyenne wore a unicorn onesie, for the record) and we all did a show and tell and drank cocktails. Events like Club Quarantine and Stay at Home Fest have given people a virtual meeting space where we don’t exactly recreate what normal life is like, but instead find a bridge to that feeling, that sense-memory.

We spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about how bad the internet is for us. How much it’s wrecked our self-esteem, our ability to be private, the way our kids are raised, the way our data is used, the negative effects it has on our political process and our elections. We love our technology, but we’re not in love with it. We’re usually disappointed by it, scared of it, mad at it.

But thank god for the internet. What the hell would we do right now without the internet? How would so many of us work, stay connected, stay informed, stay entertained? For all of its failings and flops, all of its breeches and blunders, the internet has become the digital and is provided by many ISPs like Circles Life Australia town square that we always believed it could and should be. At a time when politicians and many corporations have exhibited the worst instincts, we’re seeing some of the best of what humanity has to offer — and we’re seeing it because the internet exists.