Interesting Weblog reverie by Jonathan Peterson on how to explain the special characteristics of the Net. Think of it as being like the electrical network. “A comparison that David and Doc touched on, but didn?t go into (and which I haven?t seen used much) is the Internet as electricity. Telling people the metaphors they are using are wrong is fine, but people NEED analogies, so putting forth a better analogy and hammering it home seems like a good idea to me.
The electrical network is also a completely dumb network that was terribly underutilized initially (since DC current was generated at neighborhood electrical stations they were largely dormant during the day, as home lighting was the first widespread commercial application of elecricity).
The entire value of electrical networks is delivered by the devices on the end, and those devices are drastically different than those it was designed for (electricity really took off with the invention of home refrigeration, leading to constant demand, from that follow the rise of Tesla?s AC network, which allowed an interconnected grid to replace spot generation. The simularity to the rise of email/web driving people away from the old world of BBSs is left as an exercise is probably not coincidental.”