do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.
(Conversation had while looking at Halloween pictures)
Julia: Wait. I don’t understand what this guy is supposed to be…
Mike: He’s the internet.
Mike: Because he’s a series of tubes.
Julia: HWHAT! THAT’S THE GREATEST COSTUME OF ALL TIME!
If you work in Technical Communication, you know that quickly, yet accurately, defining a complex idea is always a battle. The “internet” is rather infamous for this. Sit down with a pen and try to explain what the internet is in three sentences.
Yeah. Hard, right? Do you mention the physical aspects? HTML? The various ways it can be used as a communication tool? Do you talk about when it first “appeared”? And how do you determine that date? Do you say it’s used by computers? What about cellphones? Is my cellphone by default a computer because it accesses the internet?
The “series of tubes” reference is a rather well-known joke. It’s a good joke. It’s a great costume.
In related news, here’s the definition of the internet that I found at work, dated 2004:
Let’s go through this bad boy:
• Why italicise and underline the title? Do you double wrap your dick as well?
• Capitalization of “Internet”, “Web site”: Is it 1386? Are you Father of English literature Geoffrey Chaucer? No? Then un-caps that noise.
• “…is a communications tool….”: Why is “communications” pluralized? Was the internet invented by the field of Communications? Perhaps it is just a communication tool?
• “…composed of computers connected to each other in a world-wide network”: It would have been simpler to say “A world-wide network of connected computers.” Also, while using “composed” isn’t totally incorrect, it’s pretty dumb.
• “It is a vehicle by which information is made available to a mass public.”: What? How large a mass? How do you define the single unit of “public”? And everyone has the internet? Also, “made available” makes it seem like it is never manipulated. It’s just “there”. And while again, “vehicle by which” isn’t wrong in terms of definition, it’s clunky and insane. Does my internet come with brake pads? Must I be in motion to access my email?
• “…hosts its own Web site…”: So, in the binder marked “Internet Publishing Standards and Procedures”, it was necessary to point out that the organization has a website and the location of that website? No. No it was not.
- Julia Out