The Today Show Asks: "What IS The Internet?" Circa 1994
This news clip from the Today show's archives is an interesting look at how awkward and uncertain the first discussions of the Internet on television actually were. On January 24, 1994, Katie Couric and Bryan Gumbel did a short segment on the massive "computer billboard" that's getting bigger and bigger all the time.
The mind-blowing thing is that we thought computers in 1994 were all fast and capable and stuff. If you could watch videos in Compton's Encyclopedia or the 7th Guest you were rocking.
Other fun tidbits include no on being sure how to say "@" (though Gumbel gets it right), not wanting to read the "dot" in addresses, and calling an email address an "Internet Address." Also, you don't need a phone line to access it, though no one clarifies exactly what else the folks reporting on the 1994 Northridge earthquake would have been communicating with.
What's interesting about this 1994 story is how much it applied to those of us who were working with computers back in 1994. Consumers were on the Internet by then; services like Prodigy, AOL, and GEnie were already thriving. Computer upgrades, however, were still being driven by multimedia features like CD-ROMs, sound cards, and VGA capabilities. Couric and Gumbel sound hilarious now but back then they weren't too far behind the curve.