Monday, March 8, 2010

It's in the Computer

Jay: What the fuck is the Internet?

Holden: The Internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another.

Having been born in the 1970s as opposed to the 1990s has its pros and cons. Pros include seeing the movie Grease in a drive-in theater, experiencing MTV when it actually played music videos, and nothing beats a Saturday night line-up of Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, Webster, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. Cons include that I can no longer say with confidence, “I would never get plastic surgery,” and college kids today have something that would have made my college experience so much easier: the Internet.

When I was in college, I had to schlep across campus to the library, search the library catalog, hope no one had checked out the books I needed, scour the stacks for my books, lug the heavy books through campus, and then actually read through the books to find relevant research. All my students need is their 4.8 oz. iPhone.

The Internet started becoming widespread just as I was graduating college. And, like with Lady Gaga, I'll admit that at first I was hesitant to embrace it, but now, like everyone else, I can’t imagine my life without it.

Such widespread use of the Internet, however, has raised some pretty important questions: How do we monitor the sites our children visit? Will porn stars still be able to make a living in the midst of all the free Internet porn? Do we capitalize the word Internet?

As you can see from the fact that I have been capitalizing it, we do capitalize the word Internet. But why? Well, according to Grammar Girl, “most language experts believe the Internet is one big specific place that people visit, so Internet is capitalized.”

And, I guess that makes sense. Instead of going to the New York Public Library to research, we visit the Internet. Instead of going to Bloomingdale's to shop, we go to the Internet. Instead of going to the Regal Beagle to meet men (reference for those born in the 70s or before), we go to the Internet. It’s like a one-stop shop.

And, in other Internet-related word news, we also capitalize the Net and World Wide Web (or the Web for short).

We do not capitalize the words website, email, and online.

I would love to explain why, but that would require me to have a basic understanding of how it all works. So, please just take my word for it because I am about as technologically savvy as these guys: