In the past couple of decades dystopian urban critics and sci-fi writers have been painting a picture of a society in which public space was becoming privatized—especially in LA—while the computer was drawing people into isolated virtual worlds. Then came rolling protests, bringing thousands into streets and public squares from Tunisia and Moscow to downtown Los Angeles. What happened? Marty Kaplan is a former political speechwriter who witnessed the political upheaval of the 1960s. Now he directs the Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, studying the impact of entertainment on society. He explains that while social networking connected people, retaking physical space was essential.