By Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner
Forthcoming, The MIT Press
Just as the natural world is besieged by the climate crisis, our digital world is besieged by the network crisis. Polarization is at a fever pitch. Polluted information floods social media. Even our best efforts to help clean up can backfire, sending new toxins spilling across the landscape. We need to start thinking differently if we have any hope of fixing the problem.
You Are Here adopts ecological metaphors and the stories they inspire to do exactly that. By looking down at the roots, around at our network’s vast tracts of cultivated land, and up at the storms raging overhead, we can better understand how deeply connected we are to our environment and to each other. Knowing where we stand in relation to so much else allows us to make more humane, more reflective, and more ethical choices online. Most important, it shows how our individual me is entwined within a much larger we--and how the fates of both are connected. We may not be able to change our environment overnight, but we can begin planting the seeds for a digital Green New Deal.