Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Dropping the Capital ‘I’ in ‘internet’

Today Wired News announced an important change to its style guide: It is dropping the capital letters at the beginning of ‘internet,’ ‘web’ and ‘net.’

But in the case of internet, web and net, a change in our house style was necessary to put into perspective what the internet is: another medium for delivering and receiving information. That it transformed human communication is beyond dispute. But no more so than moveable type did in its day. Or the radio. Or television.

I’ve never understood why these words had to be capitalized and it’s something I’ve found very hard to remember to do. I think Wired is right in bringing the internet in line with other media. While it is incredibly powerful and different than media of the past, in the end it is a means of communications, not something more. Wired concludes with this:

This should not be interpreted as some kind of symbolic demotion. Think of it more as a stylistic reality check.

Naturally, as part of a company name or organization — the Internet Movie Database, for example — the “I” remains capitalized. It also remains capped in headlines, where Wired News style decrees that all principal words are capitalized.

But now, by lowercasing internet, web and net, Wired News is simply giving the medium its proper due.

August 16, 2004