NYT: Wikipedia’s ability to promote lostness is interesting, since getting lost — and happening upon things we didn’t think we’d find — is an experience critics fear the Internet has stolen from us.

Damon Darlin made a relatively early version of this argument in The New York Times in 2009 — “the digital age,” he wrote, “is stamping out serendipity.” He argued that the structure of services like Facebook, Twitter and iTunes made it hard for us to come upon something unexpected.

Wikipedia offers some of the serendipity Mr. Darlin calls for. And then there’s the kind of serendipity in which the experience of traveling from the information you were actually seeking to matters farther and farther afield, until it’s midnight and you’re learning about Monet (although this kind of browsing may proceed from the highbrow to the low more often than the other way around). Next time someone catches you reading about yetis for hours, you can say you’re just doing your part for humanity.