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Sean Parker: The internet isn't the place to beat Trump

Commentary: The former Napster and Facebook luminary admits the web isn't our salvation.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Global Citizen: Movement Makers

A sudden maturity?

Theo Wargo

Once, they thought they were making the world a better place by making everything digital.

Now, the Lords of Tech are beginning to realize that the web isn't the be all, end all and change all. 

Take Napster founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker. Speaking at a Global Citizen event in New York on Tuesday, he offered a grim reappraisal of the web's power.

As the Guardian reports, Parker suggested the internet isn't actually the place to defeat US President Donald Trump.

"If you've made a few billion dollars from your startup you are entitled to be a bit arrogant, but it turns out maybe you are better at getting 14-year-old girls to put on things than you are at fomenting revolution," he said.

How odd that monetary fortune entitles one to be arrogant. I thought these people were just born that way.

It's an interesting arrival at perspective, though. Perhaps these Napsters and youngsters were good at entertaining their own kind, but not so good at, say, global political upheaval. Could it really be that the web is actually an inadequate means of engendering true political change? 

"As much as I thought the internet could be our salvation, I eventually came to the conclusion that we have to solve our own problems, and it took the election of Donald Trump to wake everyone up," said Parker.

Again, a fascinating construction of thought. It's as if the internet only solves its own problems, while the opposite of being on the internet is the way to solve human problems.  

Parker intimated that it's all well enough to organize online. But to actually, you know, get something done, you have get off your computer and phone and get out into the world.

Parker didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

He has, however, become more politically active. His Brigade app tries to encourage people to become more politically aware and to pressure their congresspeople. 

I worry. 

Hasn't the web made it feel too easy to "connect" with others virtually and actually made it a little harder to connect with others in real life? Some studies over the last few years have suggested that the web tends to make people less sociable, rather than more.

Perhaps those who grew up on the web and helped it grow into an apparently powerful force now need to reassess what sort of connections they need to turn the world their way. Before it's too late, that is.

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