Memes: It’s Not A Truck

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Scott McGrewWebster’s says a meme (pronounced “meem”) is “an idea that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Think “the tribe has spoken” or “you’re fired.” Those are from TV, of course. The Internet also spreads memes, like “I kiss you!”, referring to a strange web site that sprung up in the late 90’s.

The latest Internet meme deals with Senate testimony from Alaska’s Ted Stevens, who in attempting to explain to his fellow Senators how the Internet works, said:

“I just the other day got, an Internet [we presume he means e-mail] sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.”

Stevens was arguing over network neutrality, a move for (or against, depending on your position) creating a “two tiered” system of data streams over the Internet. We’ll leave the discussion as to whether that’s a good thing for a later post. Back to the odd Mr. Stevens.

“The Internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.”

Now, anyone who knows anything about the Internet knows this is not true — not the “get in line” part. His assesment of the Internet as “a series of tubes” is about right, though we usually call them pipes. And no, it’s not a truck.

Nonetheless, the Senator’s odd ramble has gotten a lot of attention; it’s turned into a meme.

There are power point presentations, song (press play) and a video. The video is the best.. you owe yourself to click on it.

You’re welcome to comment on this story.

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But please, no attachments because, as you well know, the Internet is not a truck.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

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