I’ve just paid for my ticket on New Jersey Transit using the app MyTix, saving me from the tense rush at the ticket machines outside the station. I join the throng of people waiting on the platform and–by sheer luck–the train stops in front of me. I manage to find a seat, grateful to be so fortunate, because little else has changed. Commuters still fight for parking spaces and seats just as we did when I first started working in the city seven years ago, and we’re still wondering if things could be a little bit better. Couldn’t there be more trains? Couldn’t the train open its doors in the same spot every time? How about a queuing system like they have in Taipei to make things more orderly, and more fair? Don’t get me wrong, I love the app, but it didn’t change the basic misery of riding a train during rush hour on an overcrowded commuter line.

Has the internet made our lives better? Your inclination might be to say yes—you may have recently reconnected with a long lost friend on Facebook, paid a bill online, or, like me, avoided some inconvenience through a new app. But what about the fundamental structures that affect your well being, such as improving your work-life balance, bettering your child’s school, or choosing a more effective elected representative? Would you still say yes?

In Micah Sifry’s new book, The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet), the answer is a resounding no.

Read the full review at AlterNet.

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