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August 16, 2004

It's just internet now?

WiReD has posted an announcement concerning the word "internet."

As of today, WiReD magazine is no longer capitalizing the words internet, web and net. Their reasoning is that the internet is simply another medium for information distribution, and is thus undeserving of capitalization. They concede that the internet did change the world, but no more so than television or the printing press did in their day. Thus, by deliberately lowercasing the words internet, web and net, they claim to be putting the significance of the net back into perspective.

There's been a lot of debate over changes of seemingly little significance over the last few years. It happened most recently when the accepted use of "e-mail" was changed to "email." Now, the de-capitalization movement seems poised to stir up an even larger debate. Joseph Turow lit the fuse a couple of years ago in an article by the International Herald Tribune, but today's WiReD annoucement appears to have finally detonated the bomb. A quick scan of the internet shows that the technorati are up in arms over this announcement. The Slashdot message boards are on fire. Wikipedia and the Chicago Style Manual are also being bombarded.

Where do I stand? A quick glance at my entry ought to tell you right away: I'm for the lowercase "i." Between us though, I don't have any lofty goals about symbolic changes in the English language to put the web into perspective. I'm doing it for a more fun reason: I'd like to put the angry web elitists into perspective. What do you think?

Posted by Wendell at August 16, 2004 04:47 PM


Posted by R-Lan on August 18, 2004 4:02 PM:

Bah! Internet, internet, what's the diff?

I'm all for whatever works as long as the internet means what it was meant for and not altered to represent something, like chicken soup.

Yes, the internet should remain as it were... the I/intergalactic N/network of digital aliens bent on the assilimation of the entire human race.

Posted by NemesisVex on August 19, 2004 4:19 AM:

Let me just say our very own Ryan Ozawa made the style decision to lowercase the word "internet" during his tenure as editor-in-chief over at Ka Leo O Hawai`i. And that was back in 1996!

Posted by macpro on August 24, 2004 11:28 PM:

I have to echo the previous posters about "Internet, internet".. makes no difference. The internet is just a technology, a protocol for computers to communicate with each other. Since when was it a proper name? I don't mind the lower case internet, lowercase email without the hyphen, etc. Other technologies such as television and radio exist perfectly fine as lower cased words. There is nothing really special about them to warrant capitalization, except for the shortened term for television... "TV" seems to be the proper usage of the term over "tv".

Posted by Susan on September 2, 2004 11:02 PM:

... and I'm a grammar snob. Yes, certain words become so ubiquitous that they become common nouns. That's actually a way in which their status as such is recognized. We don't write about Mail and Automobiles and those newfangled Electric Lights any more, do we? I say it's past time to lowercase interent, web, and email.

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