In 1979, when I was nine, I joined the Internet. My parents believed I was learning to program; actually I was playing an adventure game. At school, I was an awkward child; online I was a wise warrior genius. Only as a teenager did I worry that computers were making me a nervous wallflower. To become a normal teen, I quit. I resolved to study literature. Eventually I got a Ph.D. in English from Harvard. [3:00 Saturday, Woodstock Inn Wilder Room]
But I missed computers. As a beginning journalist, I was drawn to social media, YouTube, and digital music. The New York Times gave me a weekly column about the Internet; for four years I refined the thesis that became Magic and Loss. These days I write for WIRED, Politico, and FastCompany, where I write a column about digital politics. Last, I advise companies about how to be humane stewards of our digital world.