The tyranny of geography
Sam Gerstenzang

“The internet promised to free us from this tyranny.”

But it’s done the opposite. Cities have become even more important, more central to ideas to culture, to knowledge. As we move our formative paradigms from industrial (gears, cogs) to networks, a new reality takes shape. My city is not my next door neighbor’s city. The shops, offices, friends, even routes I travel are not hers. In a diverse city, those neighbors are surprisingly my best chance of finding people to expand my world. Layered networks create opportunities and synergies and resilience.

The internet, in order to have relevance, has ordered itself on likeness, and reinforces that recursively. The pages I visit, the friends I make, all teach the internet where to guide me, flattening and dulling the vibrancy of the world.

I was a Facebook junkie for a long time — I haven’t been on there since the election, and don’t miss it. I can sit on my front porch in Pittsburgh and have a much richer experience. Thank god for the tyranny of geography!

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