When I was about ten years old, we got the Internet at home.
I was the only one who was really into it, so I had the run of the household computer.
I promptly built a one-page site devoted to my childhood love of horses. Pink ponies danced across a pale blue background, while a counter notched up visits from, well, I’m not sure. Maybe my parents? And approximately 17 others.
Over time, I forgot about horses. Through my teens, I joined music chat rooms, then wrote angsty poetry which I published anonymously. In my 20s, the Internet became a place where I started a business, and stayed in touch with my parents while living overseas.
This is why I love the Internet (despite its faults).
It allows us to connect — with strangers who have similar interests, with family, with friends, with ourselves, even — and that has never been more necessary than right now.
Change in the form of a pandemic has been thrust upon us.
Many of us spend our days at home now, working if we’re lucky, and stepping outside only for essentials such as groceries, exercise, jigsaw puzzles, and sunshine.
If you’re anything like I am, it has never been so apparent what a quick drink with friends or a coffee with your co-workers can do for the soul. It energises us in a way that’s hard to replace.
But when I think of some of the forward-thinking companies we love here at Spaceship — Apple, Slack, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook — I see companies that help us stay connected.
Thanks to Apple, I was able to FaceTime my dog for her birthday a few days ago.
Thanks to Slack, I can mine my co-workers for ideas about what to write or help drum up new projects or attend a virtual happy hour in the evening and decompress.
Thanks to Spotify, new music still exists! Can you imagine if a pandemic hit before the Internet, and the world of music just came to a grinding halt?
Thanks to Facebook, I can see pictures of my friends who got stuck in New Zealand and ended up having to temporarily rent a place there. I will be able to see photos of my friend's baby when it’s born next month, whether via Instagram or WhatsApp (both Facebook-owned).
Thanks to Twitter, we can interact with scientists and doctors, and perhaps feel slightly at ease in a world where breaking news can make you feel as though everything is literally breaking.
We’re only just getting started on this road, and I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of the moment or underestimate the costs and burdens — whether financial, emotional, mental, physical or otherwise — that we will all likely feel at some point. On the contrary.
My point is only that I am grateful that we can make use of these connections, and the forward-thinking technology we have at hand, to fare a little better in this wild new world.
I’m happy to know something as small as a “like” button or a newsletter or a meme could help brighten what might otherwise be a dark moment for someone.
The web still has its flaws, but at its core, it was built for connection and this moment.
The Spaceship Universe Portfolio invests in Apple, Facebook, Slack Technologies, Spotify and Twitter and at the time of writing.
The Spaceship Index Portfolio invests in Apple and Facebook at the time of writing.