With online interactions at the center of daily life for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to remember that the internet was once a fringe space. But for Nabiha Syed, a Knight Fellow at the George Washington University Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP), it’s important to emphasize how meteorically the internet has risen to become a primary shaper of political, social and economic reality, and just how recently conversations about its impact have become mainstream.
“The internet drives how information about our reality is disseminated. We take for granted that we’ve watched all of this unfold in the last decade or so,” she said.
With that swift evolution in mind, Syed said, the future of the “digital public square” is wide open—and possibilities must exist for it to create a healthier democracy.