The Internet has ruined the the freshman year roommate experience, and the wireless world's path of destruction doesn't end there, writes Dalton Conley for Bloomberg. He reminisces about his lonely, wonderful, confusing journey through Europe as an 18-year-old—the kind of experience today's uber-connected kids can't quite have. Sure, they still hike the Appalachian Trail, or bike through California, but the point is to "disconnect, cut the umbilical cord, get lost and end up with stories to tell your kids someday," writes Conley.
But smartphones and the wireless Internet mean we can go anywhere now without ever losing contact, "and I’m afraid that with no solitude, we will become less, not more, connected to our friends and families," he warns. The "tradition of 'finding ourselves' by leaving the social network" is one that's tightly woven into America's history, and that solitude is necessary for developing our private selves. "Until we have (and can protect) that private self, we can’t be intimate with another," writes Conley.