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Imagine a net without so much porn,

Where conspiracy theories came clearly marked as ‘fiction’

And Wikipedia was always only accurate and checked.

Imagine you could chat there, not just to Juan Sanchez from Rio about your electric sheep,

But to Betty Jones from down your road, about the life she’s lived.

Imagine an internet that came in a warm room, out of the rain but not as dull as going home,

Not quite as quiet as the silence of an empty house, nor ever quite as cold.

Imagine the papers without paywalls, without a form to fill in so they’ll spam you to deletion-death,

A net of news served fresh without it costing half your electronic soul, with talk about it after.

Imagine social networks that were social, where lols were earned and lovely-loud and went from face to face, Where groups were liked by turning up and maybe bringing cake.

And best of all, imagine the internet where not just friends and friends of friends could talk to you,

But Shakespeare, Dickens, Freud and Greer could walk you through the world.

Imagine how amazing that could be,

Then look. Look at that dark unexplained now death-quiet place, where pensioners tut past,

Where kids shrug past and glue themselves to narrow-windowed phones.

See all our big society claims to honour, silenced, closed, cut down when needed most.

The internet like this used to exist, in every warm, book-smelling library in the land.

But the cold is creeping in, and the signal going out.


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