We love the Internet. MakeUseOf readers would give up alcohol, caffeine and various limbs before giving up on this network. That’s the value of the Internet. But what is it, exactly?
Let’s ask Google, together.
Google’s Suggest isn’t just a useful feature: it’s insight into the minds of millions. Start typing something into the search bar and Google will guess what you might be asking, based on what others have asked. This view into the collective can be disturbing, but I’m convinced the meaning of life is hidden somewhere in it.
Tina showed you interesting Google Suggest results and what they reveal. Today I’m going to use Google Suggest to find what exactly the Internet is. Here’s what I found:
The findings are in – it’s time for analysis. The Internet is…
…A Series Of Tubes
The top result shouldn’t surprise anyone – “a series of tubes” is arguably one of the first memes to break into mainstream culture. But where did it come from?
The year was 2006, and the Senate was debating net neutrality. The late Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the man in charge of regulating the Internet, decided it would be helpful to explain just what the Internet is.
Turns out it’s not a big truck.
Millions watched this speech, ironically using up a great deal of valuable tube space in the process. Still more spent their time making remixes, using up even more tubes.
Stevens was a respected statesman, beloved in Alaska, but this speech will always remind tech-savvy people just how ignorant government can be of the systems it tries to regulate. Since then the Internet’s rallied to defend itself from politicians who don’t understand it much really, something that will hopefully keep up in the future.
…Made Of Cats
Long, Nyan, ceiling or otherwise, The Internet loves cats. So much so, in fact, that people regularly use Google to find this song, which “explains” the feline origin of the Web.
This song conveys important scientific information, to be sure. But have you ever wondered why the Internet is so obsessed with cats? Mike Rugnetta, host of PBS Idea Channel on YouTube, certainly has. His conclusion: the Internet is cats.
Whoa. If that inspired you, check out Dave’s list of cat websites. You’re welcome.
This result is actually about David Thorne‘s book “The Internet is a Playground”. Thorne paid for a phony chiropractic service with a drawing of a spider. When he later tried to sell this drawing on eBay it reached $10,000, but the top bidder didn’t pay. Thorne didn’t mind: “”The internet is a playground,” he said, “And I would not have it any other way.”
Background aside, The Internet really can be seen as a playground. It’s perfectly possible for everyone to hang out with whoever they want, yet people tend to stick to their cliques. Some people spend their time playing games, while others prefer to just hang out. And sure, cyberbullying is a problem, but for the most part everyone here just wants to have a good time before they need to get back to work.
Anyway, while we’re on the subject of David Thorne, you should really read one of the funniest things on the Internet. You’ll like it.
The 2003 Broadway show Avenue Q is many things: a Sesame Street parody, a look at what it means to grow up, and a musical. It’s perhaps most famous online, however, for a song about porn. Trekkie Monster, the show’s not-so-subtle nod to Cookie Monster, very clearly prefers explicit images to baked goods.
Porn makes up a staggering percentage of Internet traffic, something that’s rarely talked about. Porn addiction is a hidden struggle for many. This song uses humor to get at this without it becoming weird, so it’s no wonder people are constantly Googling it to this day.
There you have it: the sum total of what the Internet is, as described by the collective consciousness of millions. You cannot refute the logic of the masses, so don’t even try. If you’re feeling futile, however, let us know what you think the Internet is in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear them.
Image Credit:Ezgisu Atacan