Region and Poetry, Part 2 (with Internet)

In a previous post, I thought about how mobility affects our relationship to region/our capacity to call ourselves [insert region] poets.  Now, I am thinking about something that requires no mobility, yet it relates/connects us all: the Internet.

I am thinking of how, in some sense, the Internet has neutralized region: we can interact (well, have a form of interaction, anyway) with others no matter how far or close they are.  We think of there being Internet communities.

As a mentor of mine has asked me: what has this done to our sense of place?  The Internet can be used to read and search images and videos of a foreign city: what should we think of those who believe this is sufficient?  Of course this cannot replace actually being there, so what does this simulacra serve?  Is experiencing simulation enough for one to be able to say something about a place?  Does that YouTube video really allow you to comment on behavior at Such-n-Such city, etc.?

I am thinking also of those who ignore their sense of place by looking at device screens; what does it mean to prefer that stimuli, especially beyond mere pragmatic utility?  (I ask this neutrally.)

Don’t get me wrong: clearly I use the Internet and respect what capabilities we have thanks to it.  Devices can, of course, be used to enhance or augment knowledge of a region (help with navigation is certainly nice).

I also think: the Internet is a form of displacement.  It might be “everywhere,” but it is also “nowhere.”  It has no stable location, although it does have space.  Remarkable anomaly.

I will be studying abroad soon.  The Internet can give me some information on the region.  I can also read literature—fiction and poetry—of the region.  These things are wonderful augments, but I will not directly (as directly as the senses allow) know the place itself until I have been there.  Right?

How has the Internet affected your sense of region?