What is the Internet, really?

I chose to view, “What is the Internet, really?” by journalist Andrew Blum. As I watched this video, I felt completely uneducated about technology. In the video, Blum stated, “wired people should know something about wires,” I agree. I was lost to hear him speak about wires and routers and how the internet was perceived as an untouchable force. I could relate however, when he began to talk about how a squirrel chewed through a cable and knocked him offline and he started to wonder what the Internet was really made of, so recently had I.
I discovered the internet was more than I thought about two weeks ago when I lost power to my internet, phone, and cable. Speaking with our internet company, they told us “your wires are not an issue, we can see a signal, your router is fine, it must be your battery…but we can’t come out until Tuesday.” Tuesday? That was four days away… A battery? The internet isn’t connected to a battery…is it? On Monday after my husbands guilt that I am a grad student in dire need of uploading VERY important materials, my internet company came out and yes, came with a brand new battery to install. Who knew that underneath my basement stairs lies a mysterious back-up battery that controls the life of my phone, cable, and internet. After 5 minutes of tinkering with the box and changing the battery, voilà; the heavens opened and we had service!
After my internet experience and after watching this video, I am even more intrigued about how the internet truly connects us all and how tangible it really is. Did you know that underwater cables, secret switches and other physical bits make up the net? I believe as a society, we take for granted this mysterious cloud that hovers above us and houses all of our important information but have no idea what physical process actually goes into connecting us to this “intangible” world. I recommend watching this video, it helps one get a sense of the true physical nature of this process and how we are truly connected with each other.

One thought on “What is the Internet, really?

  1. I totally agree. After two weeks without my internet, many calls to my internet provider and the Geek Squad, and Andrew Blum’s video, I am much more knowledgeable about the physical aspects of our connectivity. I was immersed in a world of modems, routers, reset buttons, and finally outside wires. I was actually thrilled to watch the outside cables installed in my yard. Who knew that the physical aspect of my internet was the reason why my connectivity was always so slow? I just assumed it was the provider. Like you, I recommend watching the video. I’ve certainly learned that the “net” is more than just some cloud out there in cyberspace. Overall, I thought the video provided useful info and was glad that I watched it. Also glad that you, too, have your internet back!

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