The Giant Zero

The Internet is a new world that pulls toward zero the distance between everything on it. This is new to human experience.

The world of distance

Distance in the old telephone system was something you heard and paid for.
An air mail envelope from 1958, when the postage had gone up to 7¢. This one was mailed from a post office, where the sender paid an extra penny for the second green imprint on the left there.
In TV’s antenna age, you needed one of these if rabbit ears wouldn’t do. The long rods were for channels 2–6 (no longer in use), the medium ones were for channels 7–13, and the short ones were for channels 14–83 (of which only 14–36 are still in use, and haven’t been auctioned away). The pigeons were for interference, and often worked quite well.

A world without distance

Talking distance

Threats and inevitabilities

Terraforming The Giant Zero

A question



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Doc Searls

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.