Ronda Hauben on Wed, 1 May 2002 20:22:01 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] May 1 and the Internet and the concept of Netizen

Important Internet research began in 1973 with work on TCP/IP

Also on May 1 1973, 29 years ago a person was born who came to
make an important contribution to the Internet by later, in the
1992-1993 period, discovering the concept of the Netizen and
spreading it. This seems an appropriate day then to honor the Netizen
concept and Michael Hauben and the many people around the world who 
have helped to keep the concept alive and spread it farther and wider.

In the Preface to "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet
and the Internet" Michael describes the development of the concept.

On today May 1, Michael's birthday it seems fitting to point to
that description and to honor Michael and all the netizens who
help to fight the battles to make the Internet what JCR Licklider
first envisioned -- a communications medium to make communications
possible among people around the world.

I have recently found an article from 1974 which articulated the vision,
though it didn't use the word.

The article was in the ARPANET News as an Editorial. It said:

"(...)Inherent in the concept of a resource sharing computer
network is the idea of cooperative, collaborative working mode.
This calls for a very special "place for people's heads" -- a special
ability to be cognizant of and concerned for the welfare of the whole.
This long-term objective and viewpoint requires a personal feeling
of responsibility for the welfare of the network instead of the
short-sightedness of acquisitive self-interest....  With the
backing of ARPA-IPT in this endeavor...  the ARPANET shows every
promise of becoming the global tool for enhanced communication
and understanding between nations and their scientists and people
that was envisioned for it in its beginning." (February 1974,
Editorial, 2-3)

Perhaps today people can think of the concept of Netizens and of
Michael and do what they can to honor all those who have contributed
to making the Internet a communications medium for the common people.

That was Michael's hope and vision. May that hope and vision live.

We still hope to have a proper memorial to celebrate Michael's work
and vision and welcome help from others.

Long live the Netizens and netizenship


P.S. The book is online at

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