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Is the Internet a place or a network?

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  • User profile image
    davewill

    Bless my wife, family, friends, and non-techies whom i have yet to meet ... but why has "the Internet" become a place?  It is a network.  Hello.

     

    "Oh I read it on the Internet" she says.  No you didn't.  You read it on blahblahblah.com.

     

    "I'll shop the Internet and see what prices they have".  arggggg

     

    It seems like the Internet has stripped our identities and shuffled us all into a big bucket of unrecognizable bits.

     

    I often wonder if the browser is the root cause.

     

    Feel free to weigh in on your experiences with "the Internet" as a place.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Switch to decaffeinate for a while? Smiley

  • User profile image
    DCMonkey

    Where's blahblahblah.com? On the Internet.

  • User profile image
    SlackmasterK

    The Internet has become a place due to humanity's tendency to anthropomorphize concepts to make them more relatable. It's only a place in the same way that a filestructure is (i.e. "where did I put that file?").

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    Pretty sure it qualifies as both a place and a network.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    It's a collection of tubes.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    blowdart said:

    It's a collection of tubes.

    "Series of tubes" actually Smiley

     

    Although going by what turns up on the Internet, I'm more inclined to believe the Big-truck analogy instead.

     

    My own personal pet-peeve is when people fail to capitalise the "I" in Internet. When you're refering to the Internet, then you capitalise it, which is pretty much every occurence in the newspapers and the like, despite that they continue to use the lesser 'i'.

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    W3bbo said:
    blowdart said:
    *snip*

    "Series of tubes" actually Smiley

     

    Although going by what turns up on the Internet, I'm more inclined to believe the Big-truck analogy instead.

     

    My own personal pet-peeve is when people fail to capitalise the "I" in Internet. When you're refering to the Internet, then you capitalise it, which is pretty much every occurence in the newspapers and the like, despite that they continue to use the lesser 'i'.

    I never understood what was the big deal about that line.  It's just a metaphor, why chastise the guy?  I'd probably say something similar if I was talking to a bunch of lawyers.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Something is on the Internet the same way I can live on a street. It doesn't mean I literally live in the middle of that street, it just means my house is reachable from that street.

     

    Similarly saying something is on the Internet just means it's reachable via the Internet. No big deal, it's just a figure of speech.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    It's a network. You don't buy things from the Internet, you buy them on the Internet.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    spivonious said:

    It's a network. You don't buy things from the Internet, you buy them on the Internet.

    You can also make purchases over the internet, now is that physical or virtual and does it matter?

     

    The person that is spamming before your post spammed "honest readers" on the internet or was that over the internet?

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    At least its not as bad as the people that ask "Did you remember to close down the internet?" when they mean closing IE.

    There really is no hope of ever explaining the difference between 'the web' and 'the internet' to most people, even those that otherwise seem reasonably clever have some fundamental misconceptions.

     

    Just a random example:

    "I have used Internet Explorer since the Internet first came out. I even remember the time when no-one had even heard of Internet Explorer (i.e. before the Internet was even available on PCs). The first version of IE that was released on standard PCs was IE 3.0 I believe (previous versions would only have been used in corporations); and I have used every version since then."

  • User profile image
    fknight

    CreamFilling512 said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*

    I never understood what was the big deal about that line.  It's just a metaphor, why chastise the guy?  I'd probably say something similar if I was talking to a bunch of lawyers.

    I'll bet a year's pay that a few techies actually explained the Internet to Senator Stevens using that exact tube analogy.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Of course the interwebs is a place!  It's where that clever man Mr Google lives!

     

    Herbie

     

  • User profile image
    David7738

    eddwo said:

    At least its not as bad as the people that ask "Did you remember to close down the internet?" when they mean closing IE.

    There really is no hope of ever explaining the difference between 'the web' and 'the internet' to most people, even those that otherwise seem reasonably clever have some fundamental misconceptions.

     

    Just a random example:

    "I have used Internet Explorer since the Internet first came out. I even remember the time when no-one had even heard of Internet Explorer (i.e. before the Internet was even available on PCs). The first version of IE that was released on standard PCs was IE 3.0 I believe (previous versions would only have been used in corporations); and I have used every version since then."

    people equate the www as the internet.... yet it is just one of the many many services available

     

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    When people watch a station on TV, they are as much watching TV as they are that station. Before the internet, when people with cable television wanted to know what the seven day weather forecast looked like, they would tune to the weather channel. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

     

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    davewill

    I can't give up the Mt. Dew MinH.

     

    CreamFilling512 seems to think it has become both a place and network.  I tend to partially agree.  It is in the process of becoming a "place".  If the sense of "place" continues to increase then the sense of identity (brands, names, etc.) will decrease at a nonlinear rate.

     

    The natural diversification of many places gives way to one super place.  In a world of one super place is chaos.  A small disruption in the "Internet" has large ripple effects.

     

    Sven seems to think "on the Internet" is similar to living "on street xyz".  And to some degree maybe.  Most people say they live "at" address yadda or they live "along" street yadda.  However, in big cities the "on" street is more common.  Maybe it is the sense of being 400 stories in the air looking down "on" street yadda that lends to this.  I'm not sure.  But it leads to similar reduction of identity.  No longer does a person live in {insert favorite townhouse building here}.  They live on a non-specific point - the street.  Would the owners of each townhouse in the building be inclined to make their building the best to in turn continue to attract good neighbors if all references to the building were "on street xyz".  The equivalent street analogy to the "Internet" would be one massive single "Street".

     

    Take big time retailers like Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Metro AG, and Tesco (http://retailindustry.about.com/od/famousretailers/a/retailercountry.htm), some of which I have never heard of.  If everyone who purchases something from walmart.com says they purchased it on the Internet then walmart won't be getting any new business from me.  However, if they say it was purchased on walmart.com then walmart might see a new purchaser.

     

    How about a non-business walmart example.  Three people put in volunteer time to create an information portal that gives other members of the community help with basic clothing supplies.  If the people being helped referred to the help as coming from the "Internet" then that certainly won't help those 3 help more people.

     

    Josh states a good example, the Weather Channel.  If 90% of the time folks referred to it generically would the Weather Channel have been rewarded for their work?  It is entirely likely that they could have died on the vine.

     

    To some degree the human brain generalizes on purpose.  It has to or we would be overwhelmed.  The use of "the Internet" is overly generalized.  I wonder if the browser is the root cause of this generalization.  It seems to me that to many try to use the browser for more than it should be.  The browser is the "car".  It gets you from where you are to where you want to be ... and it should stop there.  You don't drive your "car" around Wal-Mart.  Why drive around Wal-Mart in a browser?  Silverlight and things of that nature are exciting as they give the operator (business or otherwise) the chance to build something, easily usable, that the user can traverse in other than the "car" of a browser.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    davewill said:

    I can't give up the Mt. Dew MinH.

     

    CreamFilling512 seems to think it has become both a place and network.  I tend to partially agree.  It is in the process of becoming a "place".  If the sense of "place" continues to increase then the sense of identity (brands, names, etc.) will decrease at a nonlinear rate.

     

    The natural diversification of many places gives way to one super place.  In a world of one super place is chaos.  A small disruption in the "Internet" has large ripple effects.

     

    Sven seems to think "on the Internet" is similar to living "on street xyz".  And to some degree maybe.  Most people say they live "at" address yadda or they live "along" street yadda.  However, in big cities the "on" street is more common.  Maybe it is the sense of being 400 stories in the air looking down "on" street yadda that lends to this.  I'm not sure.  But it leads to similar reduction of identity.  No longer does a person live in {insert favorite townhouse building here}.  They live on a non-specific point - the street.  Would the owners of each townhouse in the building be inclined to make their building the best to in turn continue to attract good neighbors if all references to the building were "on street xyz".  The equivalent street analogy to the "Internet" would be one massive single "Street".

     

    Take big time retailers like Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Metro AG, and Tesco (http://retailindustry.about.com/od/famousretailers/a/retailercountry.htm), some of which I have never heard of.  If everyone who purchases something from walmart.com says they purchased it on the Internet then walmart won't be getting any new business from me.  However, if they say it was purchased on walmart.com then walmart might see a new purchaser.

     

    How about a non-business walmart example.  Three people put in volunteer time to create an information portal that gives other members of the community help with basic clothing supplies.  If the people being helped referred to the help as coming from the "Internet" then that certainly won't help those 3 help more people.

     

    Josh states a good example, the Weather Channel.  If 90% of the time folks referred to it generically would the Weather Channel have been rewarded for their work?  It is entirely likely that they could have died on the vine.

     

    To some degree the human brain generalizes on purpose.  It has to or we would be overwhelmed.  The use of "the Internet" is overly generalized.  I wonder if the browser is the root cause of this generalization.  It seems to me that to many try to use the browser for more than it should be.  The browser is the "car".  It gets you from where you are to where you want to be ... and it should stop there.  You don't drive your "car" around Wal-Mart.  Why drive around Wal-Mart in a browser?  Silverlight and things of that nature are exciting as they give the operator (business or otherwise) the chance to build something, easily usable, that the user can traverse in other than the "car" of a browser.

    When people say they heard something on the radio, don't they know that radio are types of waves! Instead, they should refer to the radio frequency at which they heard it from!

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