The future looked pretty bleak though, and it was a cautionary tale for those people who might end up like Sandy. Don't get too attached to the Internet, they told us, or you'll lose yourself down a rabbit hole of online dating (DANGER, WILL ROBINSON) and endless cheesy pepperoni. You may even forget how to communicate with the guy who brings the pizza, and then he won't get a tip. And then he might murder you. (Different film. Probably.)
But then there's this.
Last week a friend of mine was having a bit of a hard time. Some other friends got together, had a quick whip-round, and bought her a present to cheer her up. She was touched and delighted. All these friends were geographically spread across three countries at the time, and most of them had never even met her, or each other, and still haven't.
Elsewhere, a woman who has helped many parents over the past several years by providing invaluable support and information had a family crisis. There was an outpouring of love and prayers and good vibes for her situation, as a whole passel of people who have been helped by what she has done saw a chance to give back, if only with thoughts and words, a fraction of the good she has done for us.
Once upon a time there was a girl whose not-so-secret desire was to be a real writer. She still hasn't quite got around to writing that book, but thanks to the Internet, she got to write regularly and get encouraging feedback from an array of friends and strangers, and it meant oh so much to her. Because the Internet means she is a real writer.
People on the Internet make a difference for others, without necessarily leaving their houses. They build communities, they make friends, they have real relationships and provide true, unjudgemental empathy. They also have fun dates and meet nice people and, hey, order pizza without going outside, and that works pretty well.
The Internet is not such a scary place, is what I'm trying to say. It's growing up and turning out not so badly, I think.
* I purposely did not look up the movie (on the Internet; oh, the delicious irony) to find out more about what actually happened, lest I touch the delicate bloom of my ignorance and discover that I was completely wrong and my whole carefully constructed (ahem) argument falls apart at the seams. If necessary, you may understand that this is my imagining, from this later point, of what The Net was about. I'm positive it was Sandra B, though. That much I know.