This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Sunday Rest: splinternet.

You never know what's going to crop up next in The Word Den. 

Let's face it, most of the time I don't know what's going to crop up next in The Word Den.

I think of this grasshopper-like lack of predictability as my small campaign against the splinternet (though I avoid using that word because it is, obviously, much too clever for its own good) and Alzheimers Disease.

The idea of the splinternet is that the whole wonderful multifarious internet is being split into sections, many of which will be invisible or ignored by us as individuals.

It's natural, in a way - I don't read many sports pages, for example - but there's also a more worrying ushering of people into approved pathways. This is clear whenever we use a search engine. The tech companies really know how to nudge us down profitable paths, don't they?

More sinisterly, China has installed what's been called a Great Firewall to block their citizens seeing internet content; and the same thing is done by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam, Yemen, Pakistan, and North and South Korea and others. Some of this content is blocked for religious or social reasons, and some is blocked for political ones.

Now, I hate to interrupt anyone while they're feeling virtuously outraged, but some other countries are trying to break access to parts of the internet to block images of children being abused for profit.

The same goes for weapon-making instructions.

So none of these decisions is entirely straightforward.

Ah well. Here in England we have enough stuff in the internet, even a slightly splintered one, to fill a million heads with good and fascinating things; and I'm really very grateful.

But still, I wish the word splinternet wasn't quite such smart-alec sort of a word.

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: splinternet. This word was made up by Clyde Wayne Crews at the Cato Institute in 2001.

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