I wonder, though, about the idea that “pretending like online life wasn’t real life” is somehow that original sin of Internet culture. At the very least it seems to me that the claim can be variously understood. The sort of pretending the author had in mind probably involves the mistaken belief that online words and deeds do not have offline consequences. We could, however, also take the claim to mean something like this: the original sin of internet culture was the mistaken belief that our online experience could somehow transcend our offline faults, flaws, and frailties. Or, to put it otherwise, the original sin of Internet culture was its peculiar brand of gnostic utopianism: the belief that digital media could usher us into a period of quasi-mystic and disembodied harmony and unity.
Michael Sacasas on the sins of the past.