The Internet has become the world’s Sorting Hat: it identifies, and increasingly defines, the subculture(s) to which people belong. Does your Facebook feed feature Mother Jones or Fox News? The Guardian or The Telegraph? GamerGate vs Social Justice Warriors. Civil libertarians vs. terror-thumping authoritarians. r/parenting vs. r/childfree. Second Life vs. Digital Detox.
Such distinctions existed before the Internet, of course; but they’re far sharper, and far more numerous, today. To quote Balaji Srinivasan of Andreessen Horowitz:
An infinity of subcultures outside the mainstream now blossoms on the Internet — vegans, body modifiers, CrossFitters, Wiccans, DIYers, Pinners, and support groups of all forms. Millions of people are finding their true peers in the cloud.
I’ve argued before that: “There is no such thing as majority mainstream culture any more. We are all weirdos now — thanks to tech.” Instead, the Internet is fragmenting our society into…
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