What is the Internet, Anyway?

It was hard to define in 1994 when it was still in it’s primary stage and function of facilitating conversation between different Universities.

Global perception was changed by the invention of the telegraph; an unfathomable concept in a still localized globe, but the process of integration of it into everyday society was slow, and layman’s understanding of it was process long.

Therefore, when faced with the internet, which is still a quite modern phenomenon, it is understandable that the above video of 1994, and indeed many people now, struggle with the concept of its definition. On top of that, consider the rate of the internet’s growth over the past 2 decades since its creation.

I am studying Communication and Media Studies at University and the concept of what the Internet ‘truly is’ still bewilders me, however Lawerance Lessig explains it quite well:

“The Internet is that medium through which your e-mail is delivered and web pages get published. It’s what you use to order books on Amazon or to check the times for local movies at Fandango. Google is on the Internet, as are Microsoft ‘help pages’.”

I have never considered the internet as a ‘medium’ before. I grew up with it. It advanced as my skills and abilities to utilise it did. To me the Internet is simply – there.

I am still bewildered by its size, reach and velocity; it has grown so far beyond just university communication. Consider the video below; the internet in 60 seconds.

 It is amazing to contrast its function now to the video above from 1994, and yet in many ways my reaction is still so similar to those in 1994 – “What is the Internet anyway?”


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