Shen's Corner

a luv letter 2 da internet

Shen Gao
Sep 1
3 min

recently, i’ve been thinking a lot about how having access to the wider spectrum of the internet at a relatively early point in my life has shaped the way i live!! laugh!! love!! 

after a great deal of deliberation, i’ve come to the earth-shattering conclusion that without the internet, i would not be the same person i am today. 

it’s 2010. baby by justin bieber has just been released, lady gaga’s mtv awards dress is met with meat-eoric media coverage, and i’m introduced to the internet for the first time - furiously typing away in our school's computer lab to appease a singing british goat on

this is a bit of a tragic confession, but i think i unknowingly (and UNWILLINGLY) prompted a tech bro metamorphosis of sorts pretty early on in my life. rather than playing outside, my friends and i opted to spend our lunch time clicking away on poptropica and club penguin. it was magical. we could be and do whatever we wanted!!

eventually, as we all do, i stumbled across youtube.

venturing into these unknown waters, my initial impression wasn’t fantastic (unless you can objectively call listening to annoying orange on loop a fun experience!!) 

but on this fateful day, my mind had been blown yet again!! look at all these people making all these cool things!!!! and yet. in a way. they were just like me fr….

it's funny to think that what started off as binary code (or something) eventually transformed into this vast, endless cornucopia of rabbit holes for us to explore.

you know that saying, "you are what you eat??" at present, i feel like i'm a byproduct of the countless bits of online content i have gobbled up at ungodly hours. the way i see myself and the world around me has been slowly but surely formed by little fragments of content i’ve consumed along the way!! (also, too many baby carrots and a literal pound of spinach that i had to eat before it expired today.)

despite some of the more.. unhinged.. parts of the internet that i've come across, i think that ultimately, i hold this kind of optimism for the way things can be. and while i was never able to bear first-hand witness to the “golden age” of the internet, i think that we're now slowly seeing a re-emergence of similar values and beliefs. 

there seems to be a growing number of people that simply want to create for the sake of creating - sharing things like voicemails, open conversations, video diaries. putting out more personal work that, above all else, puts their creative needs first!!(a heroic effort in a time where algorithms largely dictate what is produced and seen!)

this is the type of content that resonates with me deeply. it echoes the early era of the internet i hold so much nostalgia for - one where i’d write about my uneventful days on a blog that only my best friend knew about - or edit dumb little webcam videos on windows movie maker!! as silly as all of this sounds, it really gave me a sense of purpose and comfort in just.. being.

browsing the internet today, i feel this sort of feral impulse stirring in me, urging me to create -  to leave a mark somehow, among all the noise and chaos. to recreate a bit of the magic i experienced when i sat down in front of a computer for the first time!! seeing more and more people shaping their own spaces on the internet and sharing things that genuinely bring them joy has made me realize that we all have the power to do the same. to just make things. and have fun while doing so!!!

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