Can We Please Take a Break from Blaming the Internet?

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Perhaps it’s the lamentative tone these types of op-eds always seem to take when they mourn “how things used to be” that raises a reader’s guard, making them quicker to criticize rather than consider.

At a particular point in his essay, Gabler theorizes that “brief, unsupported opinions or brief descriptions of your own prosaic activities,” such as on Twitter, are “a form of distraction or anti-thinking.”

Sound familiar?

Here, I’d argue that discourse on any level, however un-elevated or non-academic, is infinitely more valuable than no discourse at all. It recalls an idiom fully worth repeating here: “Simple ideas are typically the best.”

And simple ideas, I think, are the easiest to overlook, and never really seemed birthed from the minds of our brightest thinkers; rather, they’re sentiments already held by the crowd, developed on an innate level of human empathy. (Take a look, for instance, at how Norway reacted to recent terrorist attacks, or how Britons are taking up brooms to fight the riots. How’d they do it? The internet.)

(MORE: How Big Is the Internet? (Spoiler: Not As Big As It’ll Be in 2015))

I think staunch new media defender Zeynep Tufekci said it best here in response to Gabler’s column: “What isolates people is TV, suburbanization, long-commutes, increasing working hours, mandatory two-income families… Not social media.”

Of course, her idea was said in a tweet that was re-shared 100+ times.

So for the sake of the discourse itself, I feel as though we should take a break for a bit from blaming the internet for all the things wrong with our culture. They’re questions fully worth considering, but for the time being they’re all blurred together as tired rehashings, causing very valid points to get lost.

But that’s enough from me. More and most importantly: What do you think?

Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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