What Is the Internet?
May 17 2012
Here in New York, it’s “Internet Week,” which is a chance for internet people to talk to other internet people in real life about internet stuff and maybe get drunk and have sex with each other, which is something you can’t do on the internet. VICE has a bunch of stuff going on during Internet Week and it’s all very exciting, but we just used the word “internet” six times in two sentences and we have NO IDEA what the internet actually is. Does anyone? We asked some people to see if they knew.
Brendan, NYU student: What? What is the internet?
Yes. What is the internet?
Uh, I think it’s a source of information.
What do you use it for?
Rusty, dog walker: The internet is access to endless information.
Is it evil?
If you have evil intentions or bad ethics, yeah, anything can become evil. But if you use it like a normal person, the internet can be good.
Do you use it like a normal person?
I like to think so.
There’s nothing strange on your history?
Nope. If used right, the internet becomes a source of freedom.
Can I ask you a question?
Amit, hotdog vendor: No.
It’ll be quick.
What do you want to know?
What is the internet?
I don’t know. It’s for looking at señoritas. Is that a camera?
Yeah, can I have a picture of you?
Yes, let me put on my hat first. It says “Onion Crunch” on it.
Do you have a computer?
Do you like the internet?
Kimery, advertising person: The internet is for communication between people all over the world!
Do you use the internet?
Yes, every day.
Larry, homeless person: The internet is a World Wide Web where everybody goes to get high. [laughs]
Have you used the internet?
No, but I am on the internet. I’m on a website. They call me the drunken karate kid. (We think he means this video.)
Do you think the internet is bad?
Man, I don’t know. There’s a lot of weirdos on there. Gotta watch out for weirdos.
Mari, NYU student on the left: Hm. What is the internet?
I’m sorry. I haven’t slept in four days.
Yeah. The internet is very perplexing. You have access to all sorts of information, but it’s also really dangerous because people can post information that’s not true, so it creates multiple realities, both true and false. That’s why it’s dangerous.
Stacey, Security Guard: VICE Magazine? Isn’t that some kind of skater magazine? Look at me. You got the wrong guy. Maybe you should go to the sports shop across the street and ask them.
No, you’re fine. It's true, we do love skateboards. But today our question is, "What is the internet?"
[laughs] You were closer to an answer when I thought this was about skateboards. I don’t know.
Do you use it?
Only for Facebook. I don’t know about the Twitter or the Instagram. I hear about it though.
I wouldn’t worry, you’re not missing out.
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