The Atlantic

Were College Students Better Off Before Social Media?

Ten questions for campus observers about the costs of the world that Silicon Valley built
Source: Reed Saxon / AP

Fifteen years ago, when I graduated from Pomona College, there were landlines in the dorm rooms, a paper directory with everyone’s number, and a thriving culture of friendly prank calls. Almost no one used laptops in class, in part because there was no wifi. The launch of Facebook was a couple years off. And if a Google search for a peer’s name yielded anything I was unaware of it—though I published scores of news and opinion articles for student publications across four years, the only ones that potential employers ever saw

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