WaHT iS InTeRneT????

The Net’s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.

The Internet is connected
1. The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.
2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.
3. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms. Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.
4. We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.
5. From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.
6. The Net is of us, by us, and for us.
7. The Internet is ours.

The Internet is nothing and has no purpose
9. The Internet is no-thing at all. At its base the Internet is a set of agreements, which the geeky among us (long may their names be hallowed) call “protocols,” but which we might, in the temper of the day, call “commandments.”
10. The first among these is: Thy network shall move all packets closer to their destinations without favor or delay based on origin, source, content, or intent.
11. Thus does this First Commandment lay open the Internet to every idea, application, business, quest, vice, and whatever.
12. There has not been a tool with such a general purpose since language.
13. This means the Internet is not for anything special or in particular. Not for social networking, not for documents, not for advertising, not for business, not for education, not for porn, not for anything. It is specifically designed for everything.
14. Optimizing the Internet for one purpose de-optimizes it for all others.

The Net is not content
16. There is great content on the Internet. But holy mother of cheeses, the Internet is not made out of content.
17. A teenager’s first poem, the blissful release of a long-kept secret, a fine sketch drawn by a palsied hand, a blog post in a regime that hates the sound of its people’s voices — none of these people sat down to write content.
18. Did we use the word “content” without quotes? We feel so dirty.

The Net is not a medium
19. The Net is not a medium any more than a conversation is a medium.
20. On the Net, we are the medium. We are the ones who move messages. We do so every time we post or retweet, send a link in an email, or post it on a social network.
21. Unlike a medium, you and I leave our fingerprints, and sometimes bite marks, on the messages we pass. We tell people why we’re sending it. We argue with it. We add a joke. We chop off the part we don’t like. We make these messages our own.
22. Every time we move a message through the Net, it carries a little bit of ourselves with it.
23. We only move a message through this “medium” if it matters to us in one of the infinite ways that humans care about something.
24. Caring — mattering — is the motive force of the Internet.

The Web is culture
25. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee used the Net to create a gift he gave freely to us all: the World Wide Web. Thank you.
26. Tim created the Web by providing protocols (there’s that word again!) that say how to write a page that can link to any other page without needing anyone’s permission.
27. Boom. Within ten years we had billions of pages on the Web — a combined effort on the order of a World War, and yet so benign that the biggest complaint was the tag.
28. The Web is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense inter-connections.
29. That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that’s what the world is.
30. Unlike the real world, every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together.
31. Every link by a person with something to say is an act of generosity, an act of selflessness, bidding our readers leave our page to see how the world looks to someone else.
32. The Web remakes the world in our collective, emergent image.

Marketing still makes it harder to talk
52. We were right the first time: Markets are conversations.
53. A conversation isn’t your business tugging at our sleeve to shill a product we don’t want to hear about.
54. If we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.
55. We understand that these conversations are incredibly valuable to you. Too bad. They’re ours.
56. You’re welcome to join our conversation, but only if you tell us who you work for, and if you can speak for yourself and as yourself.
57. Every time you call us “consumers” we feel like cows looking up the word “meat.”
58. Quit fracking our lives to extract data that’s none of your business and that your machines misinterpret.
62. Personal is human. Personalized isn’t.

Apps are not Web pages
68. We all love our shiny apps, even when they’re sealed as tight as a Moon base. But put all the closed apps in the world together and you have a pile of apps.
69. Put all the Web pages together and you have a new world.
70. Web pages are about connecting. Apps are about control.
71. As we move from the Web to an app-based world, we lose the commons we were building together.
72. In the Kingdom of Apps, we are users, not makers.
73. Every new page makes the Web bigger. Every new link makes the Web richer.
74. Every new app gives us something else to do on the bus.

Facebook and Google are not the Web
77. Non-neutral applications built on top of the neutral Net are becoming as inescapable as the pull of a black hole.
78. If Facebook is your experience of the Net, then you’ve strapped on goggles from a company with a fiduciary responsibility to keep you from ever taking the goggles off.
79. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are all in the goggles business. The biggest truth their goggles obscure: These companies want to hold us the way black holes hold light.

What the Internet has done for us
95. The Internet is astounding. The Web is awesome. You are beautiful. Connect us all and we are more crazily amazing than Jennifer Lawrence. These are simple facts.
95. So let’s not minimize what the Net has done in the past twenty years:
96. There’s so much more music in the world.
97. We now make most of our culture for ourselves, with occasional forays to a movie theater for something blowy-uppy and a $9 nickel-bag of popcorn.
98. Politicians now have to explain their positions far beyond the one-page “position papers” they used to mimeograph.
99. Anything you don’t understand you can find an explanation for. And a discussion about. And an argument over. Is it not clear how awesome that is?
100. You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.
101. You want to listen in on a college-level course about something you’re interested in? Google your topic. Take your pick. For free.
102. Yeah, the Internet hasn’t solved all the world’s problems. That’s why the Almighty hath given us asses: that we might get off of them.