Technology's Power to Narrow Our View

Technology is helping activists mobilize for their causes as never before. But is it too much of a good thing?

Todd Davidson / Illustration Works / Corbis

Commencement season is upon us, when students across the nation make familiar pledges to go forth and change the world. The explosion of social networks on the Internet--Facebook users have affiliated with more than 80,000 causes--has emboldened them to believe their generation will make change. But does new technology make it more or less likely that young people today will commit themselves to do something for others?

Let me start by confessing that I am a thirtysomething anachronism. I still read the hard copies of the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and I refuse to consider changing my habits....

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