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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'Net gain or loss?

Day 2 of the Indy's Noughties essays - today Johann Hari talks about the internet and information technology revolution of the past decade.

On the first day of the Noughties, I sent my first email. I sent it from a different world – one in which spam was something my nan ate from a can, blackberries were a fruit you picked from a tree, and where if you told somebody you wanted to poke them, they'd punch you in the face. On the day I joined the club, there were 200 million people with email accounts. Today, there are 3.2 billion. It seemed to me that day to be a fad. Today, it seems like a second skin, spreading out over all my friends, all my colleagues, and all the world. The internet has transformed the way we think about ourselves – the groups we belong to, the information we know, the people we date, and even our sexual fantasies. The story of this decade is the story – in all its strange sinews – of the World Wide Web.

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