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Love, Floppy Disks & Other Stuff the Internet Killed

Combining anecdotes from her own childhood with the voices of male and female rappers, anonymous posts on confessional apps like Yik Yak, Secret, Whisper, and demographic data regarding what’s wrong with millennials, Natalie Shields composes a portrait of a generation that feels a lot but doesn’t know what to do with these feelings.

Shields, born in Seattle in 1993, belongs to a generation of young adults who grew up in tandem with the Internet. Millennials—conditioned participants in virtual romance, fantasy computer game worlds, and robot companions—are supposed to be overstimulated, hypermediated, and unable to connect.

For them, is love—like the floppy disk—a symbol of something now defunct? Is love now a cipher—something that used to exist but has become pure abstraction? Or is it actually the opposite? Is the idea of love so omnipresent in millennials’ cultural discourse that they have monumentalized it? What is it about love that the Internet killed?

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Natalie Shields

Natalie Shields' second book, "Loving Football When It Doesn't Love You Back," is forthcoming in spring 2017. Her work has been published in the Daily Beast and purchased by Special Collections museums at Yale University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Washington. Born and raised in Seattle, she is a 2015 graduate of RISD, a member of the design collective Henry Blank, and a designer at Doubleday & Cartwright in New York.

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