Net Presence and Breaking the Fourth Wall

Came across “net presence” around 1994-1998. Don’t think it’s Phil Agre’s paper (Red Rock Eater News Service, Imagining the Internet), but that link is an example of a simple, non-graphical, web page. Top 10 websites from Alexa, currently: Google, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, Baidu, Wikipeida, Qq, Taobao, Live and Twitter.

These sites use sophisticated (and somewhat invasive) measurements to track online activity. What those measurements don’t track is Net Presence. The main point of the article I read in 199-whatever: a simple web page can have more net presence than a corporation website spending a lot of money.

The Betrayal of the Internet Imaginaire (h/t) reminded me there’s a big difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet:

What is the difference between the Web and the Internet?

From the definition in the Wikipedia: “The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that interchange data by packet switching using the standardized Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP).”

Thus, the Internet is a network of networks, defined by the TPC/IP standards.

The Web, on the other hand, is defined in W3C’s Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume I as follows: “The World Wide Web (WWW, or simply Web) is an information space in which the items of interest, referred to as resources, are identified by global identifiers called Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI).”

Thus, the Web is an information space. The first three specifications for Web technologies defined URLs, HTTP, and HTML.

What does it mean that Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web?

Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal in 1989 for a system called the World Wide Web. He then wrote the first Web browser, server, and Web page. He wrote the first specifications for URLs, HTTP, and HTML.

Just the other day, while making a breathlessly wordy point involving Tina Turner, a small teenage voice finally managed to stop my flow: Who’s Tina Turner? OK. Next time the kid unit shows up I’ll have a playlist ready.

Phil Agre wrote about privacy and security in the 1990s (some posts are here). Contrast Why Online Tracking Is Getting Creepier with this from 1994: Privacy includes a broad right to control the uses to which one’s personal information is put. It includes, in particular, to know *who* has such information and *what* they’re doing with it.

Finally, my own interpretation of Net Presence is in the title. It’s the power to break through walls of fiction, which I think is more important to collapse than Moldbug’s concept of The Cathedral.


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