The triumphalist narrative of the Web is the reassuring story that people want to hear and that technologists want to tell. But the heroic story is not the whole story.
In virtual worlds and computer games, people are flattened into personae.
On social networks, people are reduced to their profiles.
On our mobile devices, we often talk to each other on the move and with little disposable time - so little, in fact, that we communicate in a new language of abbreviation in which letters stand for words and emoticons for feelings.
We don’t ask the open ended “How are you?”. Instead, we ask the more limited “Where are you?” and “What is up?”. These are good questions for getting someone’s location and making a simple plan. They are not so good for opening a dialogue about complexity of feeling. We are increasingly connected to each other but oddly more alone.