Thank goodness for the internet. 2020 has been a challenging year: divisive politics, election misinformation, deeply troubling acts of racial injustice, and a global pandemic that kept us from loved ones. Through it all the internet has helped us stay connected and informed.
We asked people around the world how the internet has kept them sane, hopeful, and connected this year.
Want to contribute? Share your love letter to the internet with us using the hashtag #DearInternet on Twitter or Instagram, or submit using this form. We’ll update this page regularly with our favorites.
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Stories from around the world
Thank you for friends, family, fun, work, food, movies, birthdays, memorials, health care, art, classes and everything in 2020.
We've all seen the internet at its worst. But at its best, the internet is a place of connection & we want to celebrate that by highlighting a few people making the most out of it to do some good.
Thank you for allowing me to work from home. It has been the greatest gift. I love saving fossil fuel from commuting, being able to monitor my home, and having new avenues to interact with family and friends. I am grateful for the increased level of security we get from enhanced technology. I am grateful for the almost instant transmission of emails and messages you provide. I am also grateful for the internet providers who increased my speeds so I could successfully work from home, without raising my rate. I am also grateful to the browsers which enlarge my world. Thank you, again.
For many trans and gender-fabulous folks, the internet offered the possibility of connection, the first glimmer of community, and a vision of a future that could involve joy.
During the lockdown I felt exhausted: too many hours of work, sitting and looking at the screen, working with my pupils and their families... It was really a challenge, but it also allowed us to share our worries and fears..
You offered me a break through Zoom to meditate and relax. And what is most important: you allowed me to be connected to my family and friends.
This year has been challenging in so many ways, but the internet has given me a way to not only socialize but help me stay connected to those closest to me during the moments I missed the most. My father turned 80 this year and lives across the country in Florida, without the internet I would have missed in sharing the day with him.
I talk about the web as a common good: a garden of gardens for all of us. It’s up to us to sow seeds of hope and progress in the corners where darkness and dismay fester.
Internet, what would I do without you. With a single hashtag like #BlackTechTwitter I'm connected to a universe of folks across the industry who face the same unique challenges I do. Suddenly I'm not alone.
Dear Internet, Being a foreign student far away from my country, I thank you very much for making me feel so close to my loved ones and never ever feel alone.
My beloved sister died. I look at her picture on the desktop and play Nick Cave, Ghosteen. I have bereavement counselling via Zoom. In great loss there has been great comfort. Thank you internet.
Three words: Weekly. Gamer. Nights. I never expected a regular cadence of play-time with friends over board games or traditional video games or a round or two of Quiplash. Lengthy, RPG-style board games that we could never complete in-person suddenly felt finishable when we took the experience online. Playing a video game on one screen while we chopped it up over video chat let us stay close while being physically far. Nothing will ever replace in-person interaction, but weekly game time is a close runner-up.
The first 10 years of my life, we lived without a phone or tv, and the internet was only a dream. We would need to visit someone to communicate or shop for goods, which required traveling some distance. So now with iPhones and the internet, it's like living in a different world. You can visit with anyone, right now... Yes, the internet has changed our lives, unless you have lived without it, you cannot realize how wonderful it is.
I'm thankful for the internet which connects our whole world. I'm thankful for the services that helped me study during these trying times. I'm thankful for responsible social media platforms that allowed me to voice my opinion and connect with my friends. I'm thankful for groups such as yourself in trying to make the internet a free and fair place. I'm thankful for the internet which helped me make new friends all over the world. Thank you, internet.
The Internet is a great thing. When I felt lonely, when I worked in a faraway country, I called my friends and parents to see their smiling faces. I bought, via the Internet, flowers and sent them to my friends and parents. I didn't feel stuck on a lonely hill somewhere in the world.
Thank you for making it easy to keep in contact with friends, for being able to shop on-line and so keep partially isolated or when the shops have been closed, for keeping me in contact with the world and helping me feel less isolated, for the course I can follow to learn French, for the news I can read locally, nationally and from other countries.
Thank you for helping me connect with people who share my passions and hobbies who live so far away, or are so much older or younger than me, that I'd otherwise never have met. Also, for helping me learn and read in a year where my library has been closed and I've lost my job and cut back on buying books.
Dear Internet, You've been around longer than I have. As someone born in the mid 2000s, I have known of and about you my whole life. In all honesty, if you didn't exist, my existence would be equivalent to that of a vegetable. I would never have been able to 'meet' my extended family during COVID, and I would not have been able to create so many of the amazing memories I have without you. Most of my good friends and family have met me through you, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Dear Internet, You kept us fed, through online deliveries; you kept us educated, through online schooling; you kept us working, through email and MSTeams; and you made possible lengthy, heart-warming and very fun reunions with friends and family across two continents through Zoom. All of which kept us home, which made our communities safer.
I am extremely thankful for Reddit, and all the redditors who shared pictures of their cats, dogs, lizards, babies, grandmothers, sunsets, and memes. Who shared their successes big and small, shared what made them happy - they kept me sane when the world, or at least America, was going crazy.
I am a teacher. I have been able to connect with my students, answer questions, and even have the occasional Zoom lesson (with thanks to Zoom for the special teacher's versions). When they have had to isolate, it has cost them - but at least it has not cost their education.
I'm grateful to the internet for enabling my musician friends to perform virtually. Every day I see and listen to distant friends, hear their music and exchange love with them. It also allows them to earn at least a little income at a time when their customary venues are unable to host them.
I'm grateful that this year, no matter the up and downs, I'm still working as a software engineer trying to help the community. My team built a COVID-19 prescreening tool and it makes me happy it is helping. Never would I have thought my skills would help the community, and not just profit a bad CEO.
Dear internet, Thank you for allowing me to see and hear my dying father and grandmother in the hospital before they left us in June.
I am 88 and the internet has enabled me to be independent during lockdown. I order my shopping online, so I am never short of food or essentials.
I am thankful I can continue my life. I still do everything I was doing but just online now such as AA, another recovery meeting and yoga. I'm thankful for all the news outlets no matter their stance and biases. I'm thankful I have access to knowledge I otherwise wouldn't have. Thankful for all the people that make the internet super awesome.
Spent more time than ever writing and answering emails this year, even business emails have been getting "more personal". I like it. Zoom meetings were new to me and a revelation. They've also been a godsend in enabling us to see the children from time to time and for me to see and chat with several groups I am involved with. I even "attended" a large two-day conference on Zoom which was a great success and I recommend it over the real thing! Thank you! And finally, internet shopping. Our needs are few but with so many shops closed it was good to get the odd essential delivered to our door. Well done the suppliers we used, your delivery seemed even quicker than normal!
I am grateful for online education, my personal choice has been Udemy. It has given me the opportunity to learn something that might further my career. I am also grateful for Zoom because I have been able to join an online pilates class. I have also used it to chat with family and people in a book club. I also participate in streaming video exercise classes. Then of course there is online shopping, really good. I can read in depth news stories at any time. I can download books, listen to podcasts. For me, the most precious thing is keeping in touch with family who are so far away, mostly via WhatsApp.
My book club is forgoing our annual holiday dinner, and doing a cooking class together with an instructor in Spain instead. I’m grateful we get to keep this tradition alive in a new form.
This was a wonderful year for technology. Zoom has made it possible to continue church attendance. Thank you Zoom.
I am one of 12 siblings and we are very, very close. But COVID-19 has kept us physically apart. I am so grateful to have the ability to connect all of us at one time via Zoom or FaceTime. To see my dear sisters’ and brothers’ faces is priceless. We have stayed connected on a daily basis because of the internet.
Dear Internet, thank you so much for allowing me to connect with my parents back in Brazil. Thanks to you, they can see their granddaughter growing and we can all be connected through our hearts even though we are so far away physically!
I'm thankful for all of the incredibly intense dog people who cannot stop posting pictures of their dogs. Those who post insanely over the top things about dogs in the comment section and those who will perpetually share memes and GIFs of soft, comforting pups like they are being paid to do so. It stops me scrolling and makes me smile.
You Kept the world running. You saved our jobs. You helped us build you and make you better, and make ourselves better. You connected a disconnected world and made 2020 livable ❤️As a developer, I can't thank you folks enough for all of this. And the fact that it's open and free - A testimony of humanity.
Dear Internet, I am so grateful to be alive during a time when we have you, and especially in this current pandemic, when meeting people in person is so difficult and we are missing friends near and far. You allow us to zoom chat to stay in touch, as well as through Facebook.
Dear Internet, In 1992, you sped my e-mails from NZ to mum in the US when letters took aeons to arrive. I printed them for grandma; tech made her nervous. In 2020, you help my daughter see her grandma. My daughter hugs the phone, and imagines the feel of her touch.
Dear Internet, I’m so thankful for streaming services and for allowing kids to study from home. And for all those convenient ways of saving time (like not going out to pay for services, getting groceries and stuff) and just allowing us to communicate with our families and friends.
Dear Internet, thanks - for letting me see my Mom and Dad thousands of miles and just a second away - for helping me teach people all over the world - for helping me and my family stay safe and sane in these hard times - for being a bridge between so many wonderful people.
I had a surprise birthday party on Zoom. It started with one daughter, then two, then all three of my girls were there. Then spouses and grandchildren and friends joined too. I still get misty-eyed just thinking about it.
I am so thankful for the Internet this year, as it means I can continue my education, fact-check misinformation and connect with like-minded people. This year has been very hard and stressful, and I don’t know what I would have done without the Internet. Knowing there are others out there that are in the same situation as me, having the same thoughts and struggles as I am, makes me feel a little less alone — and that feeling is priceless.
You make it possible for me to participate in many events I could not attend in person, even without the current COVID-19 challenges. Tonight I was able to attend (virtually) my nephew’s wedding in another state. He works internationally and his bride’s family is overseas.
You, internet, allowed his work friends from many places to attend the wedding. His wife’s family and friends could not travel to the US, but you allowed them to watch the ceremony and see his immediate family and extended family virtually.
I am very glad you exist!
Thank you, Internet.
This year has been very frustrating due to the fact that my wife and I were unable to visit my kids and grandkids. I have two grandsons in Florida and a new grandson in Virginia. Thanks to video chat, I can see them and watch them grow up. I missed my newest grandson’s birth, but have been able to watch him grow. I would have never had this experience if it weren’t for video chat.
As a musician in a band (The Jive Aces) that usually does 300+ shows a year, it was strange not being on the road. But the internet allowed us to do daily, one-hour livestreams since just before the first lockdown. We’re now at over 250 consecutive shows! It’s not only kept us in touch with our existing fanbase, but also gotten us a lot of new fans all over the world.
I expected my first week of social distancing to feel, well, distant. But I’ve been more connected than ever. My inboxes are full of invitations to digital events — Zoom art classes, Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions. Strangers and subject-matter experts are sharing relevant and timely information about the virus on social media, and organizing ways to help struggling people and small businesses. On my feeds, trolls are few and far between, and misinformation is quickly being fact-checked.
I was 12 the first time I logged onto whatever was called the internet then. There were no websites to speak of, not really. No ecommerce, no banner ads, no data tracking, no spyware. iPhones hadn’t been invented yet; we called apps “programs”; and I had an EGA monitor on my PC (a whole 16 colors of range). But the first time I telnetted into a chatroom about raves, made new friends in Australia, or downloaded files to load into a music tracker, I felt the same elation that I feel now. This force, propelled by people, connected by copper and light, letting us make new connections. Connections we need now more than ever.
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