What Do You Love Online?

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"To love is to return," says writer Robin Sloan. But what are the places we return to online? Help us build an album of sites to love.

Thus begins an elegant new essay from writer and media innovator Robin Sloan. "What," Sloan asks, "does it mean to love something on the internet today?"

Loving something is more than the act of "faving" or "liking" something, he says. These actions are fleeting. You "like" and "fave" but you may never see it again. But when you love something, you have an ongoing relationship with it, visiting it over and over, with your experience of it deepening each time. "To love," he writes, "is to return."

The trouble isn't that there aren't places online worth our love. The trouble is that the logic of our web habits is to find and promote whatever is current. Every day the question is, "What's new?" And there's a flood of it. Fresh, great stuff that didn't exist just 24 hours ago.

But we all have places we love, we return to, online -- don't we? We just don't have any particular reason to share them on any given day. I mean, I work with Alexis and Megan every day, but until Sloan's essay came out (the full version of which is available for iOS here) we had no reason to share our beloved places on the web. (For the curious, Alexis loves this archive of old photographs from Nebraska, Megan loves this Paul Ford essay about time online, and I love these ridiculously captioned Weight Watchers cards from 1974.) In our day to day, these places just never came up.  In the flood, we always share what we *just* saw, never what we've seen again and again. As Sloan puts it:

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Well we want to build that album. We want to hear about the places you love online -- that you go back to again and again. We don't mean a website that has new content every day, like TheAtlantic.com (though we do of course hope you love us and come back here every day) but a static piece of content or interactive that keeps drawing you back. Tell us about the places you love online -- what they are, how you found them, why you love them -- and we'll work the responses together and make that album Sloan imagines.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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