A rising tide lifts all boats

I remember the moment when I closed my browser window in frustration.

I was a freshman in college, and had recently signed up for a Facebook account. This was when Facebook was still gaining traction—it was 2005—and the whole concept of an online community was new to me. Social networking promised a way to keep in touch with high school friends and to network on campus, but the messages I was seeing on my screen seemed more like crass one-upsmanship than anything else. Maybe it was naiveté, but I’d expected more “Hey, I haven’t talked to you in a long time; what’s up?”-type communication, and less . . . well, garbage. Was I joining a dysfunctional community? I wondered if social networking was something I wanted to be a part of at all.

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