Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Technical Terms

Let's turn to Merriam-Webster Online for a moment.

Internet: an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world

World Wide Web: a part of the Internet designed to allow easier navigation of the network through the use of graphical user interfaces and hypertext links between different addresses -- called also Web

Thus, I prefer to write that someone has their interactive site on the Web -- not "the Internet." Thus, I prefer to direct readers to the Web, not "the Internet" to find information.


It would be perfectly accurate, when identifying someone in a story, to write that his or her house was "in the United States." But wouldn't it be better to write that their house was "in Cleveland"?

The latter statement tells you much more than the former. The fact that the house is "in the United States" is packed into the information that the house is "in Cleveland."

Many things go through the Internet that don't appear on the Web. If you retrieve your e-mail through a program other than your Web browser, you didn't "surf the Web" to get it. It went through the Internet's pathways to your computer.

People use the terms interchangeably. Don't do it. Each of these words has a specific meaning that it behooves us to preserve.