Special Feature: The Internet
"E-mail my heart and say our love will never die
and that I know you're out there and I know that you still care.
Email me back and say our love will stay alive".
Some Facts About The Internet
A Brief History
The Net has been with us for longer than you think. To trace its origins, we have to return to prehistoric computing times (the late 1960s). It was started then by the US army as a computer network without a centre. The idea was that an enemy attack couldn't destroy a loosely-linked network of computers with no centralized control.
The Internet has its good side: that of rapid communication. It can be used to contact someone in another part of the world fast. In the 1970s many US universities joined the US army network. Then e-mail began and when universities in Europe joined the system, it went global.
In 1983 there were 1,000 computers on this system. By 1986 there were 60,000. It was around this time that somebody invented the name Internet to describe this worldwide computer network. At the end of the 1980s -perhaps because of the end of the Cold War between North America and Russia, or maybe because PCs and modems became cheaper to buy, or a combination of both factors- the Internet became more popular, and more commercialized. In the 1990s cybercafés -places where you could pay to surf the web while having a snack and a drink- appeared all over the world.
The Net has its negative side too. Every day more and more people are using the Net for criminal purposes. There are lots of sites which contain material unsuitable for kids and there is no censorship. Many teens spend useless hours in front of their PCs without getting involved with the real world. And if that wasn't bad enough, there are also lots of terrible computer viruses that can enter a PC once a user goes on-line.
But that's not the end of the story. The Net is, however, improving all the time. People can already use the Internet for banking and shopping. In a few years it will be possible to work from home and use the Internet to meet and talk to others in an office in cyberspace. But the biggest thing about the Internet is that millions of people are joining it day after day and it continues growing. The Net has undoubtedly become the most important way of communicating in the world.
Online Communication: Features
Certain conventions are typical of online communication such as:
- lower case all the time
- capitals only to emphasize
- alternation of capitals and lower case when writing a word
- use of emoticons (for a complete list check http://www.netresult.ws/emoticons.htm)
- numbers replacing letters:
4 = A
5 = S
3 = E
6 = G
- numbers replacing a group of letters
2 = too
4 = for
8 = eit (as in sk8 -skate-)
- non-standard English
- chat shorthand (for a detailed list see http://www.englishclub.com/esl-chat/abbreviations.htm)