" It was posted up on the Internet "

" It was posted up on the Internet for all to see ". I read this in a magazine today. Got me thinkin’. Thinkin’ about how people percieve the Internet.

To me, it is undefined physically. Yes, yes I know. There are servers and whatnot. Glass fiber, D/A and A/D interfaces. Yes yes. The concept of the Internet is, to me, a non–physical one. I cannot post “up on the Internet” because the Internet is not some fantasy movie SkyNet that hovers over us all, wiring the planet. I’ve read this phrase quite a few times before, but it struck me.

Most of the Internet as a physical entity is either buried below ground or hovering 20 feet or so in the telephone lines just above ground. And yet, people use this phrase.

Is this weird?

I post to the Internet.


Potatoe, poatato… (more correctly Tomato, Tomahto)

Where was the article written? A tech-type magazine or a more mass-market type thing? Because a lot of old-schoolers still think of “the internet” as back in the days when it was mostly just the USENET newsgroups and e-mail. The metaphor for that was a bulletin-board system or a message board, and in real life message or bulletin boards, you “post it up there for all the world to see.”

I’ve been thinking lately about how we talk about calling people. Whether we use a land line or a cell phone we usually “dial” the number. My internet connection is “dial-up”, yet touch tone/push button phones have become so much the norm that some automated answering systems no longer acknowledge the potential for someone not to be able to push the correct number to get a response. What started as a description of an activity integral to phone use has become a figure of speech.

A few years ago I had a girlfriend I met online and conversed with via Yahoo messenger. At an easter gathering I tool a few pictures, scanned (before I ever had a digicam, a bazillion years ago it seems :rolleyes: ) one of her and emailed it to my mom. I mentioned this and she flew into a rage for me “posting my picture on the internet.” Not only was her rage unwarranted but she had no concept of the network she used. I mean it wasn’t like I put a photo of her doing the goatse man pose on consumption junction, sheesh. I finally decided she wasn’t the woman for me. We had passion but it was the kind that’s used as a mitigating circumstance in a murder trial.

I used to be incredibly paranoid about my real life details and what wound up on the Internet. Now, I have my cel phone # on a freakin’ web site. People mellow.

It sounds like she never would have. Perhaps it’s because you posted her photograph to http://www.GirlsMyMotherDetests.com


I nearly choked on that one, Padeye! I’ll have to remember it.

Re the OP, the Internet of course is a non-physical locationless entity, but it still has ‘places’ in it. (We’re in one of those now.) I suppose it’s just that we all grow up among ‘places’ with physical locations, and have to think that way. Our sense of physical location and our experience with putting notes on physical bulletin boards or hanging pictures on walls makes it easy to say we’re “putting up a Web page” or posting something "up on the Internet for all to see " On the other hand, if we spend most of our time working at an isolated PC, we often talk about connecting as “going out on the Internet.”

The metaphors get mixed when we’re still dealing with something relatively new. The language will settle down eventually. Maybe.