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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                Technology and Human Responsibility for the Future
    Issue #24      Copyright 1996 O'Reilly & Associates          July 23, 1996
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Editor's note
    *** Will advertising keep the Net free? (Stephen L. Talbott)
          Our continuing experiment in social destruction
    *** Death of a gyppo (Robert Leo Heilman)
          Logging as an art
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Editor's note

    Don't overlook "Death of a gyppo" in this issue. It's a beautiful evocation of an older style of logging by someone who was there. The piece, nicely free of rigid prescription, won't give you any final answers, but it will help you breathe some of the atmosphere within which technology-use issues take shape. Thanks to John Thienes for bringing this piece to my attention.

    This is probably the next-to-last issue of NETFUTURE to be published under the "old regime." I terminate my regular employment at O'Reilly & Associates on July 31. Tim O'Reilly, however, has kindly offered to continue hosting the NETFUTURE listserver and web site. On my part, I hope to continue producing the newsletter as a purely personal endeavor. One way I may be able to support this effort is through speaking engagements. Please keep that in mind when planning your organization's future meetings.

    Our next issue will be given over to reader feedback.


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    *** Will advertising keep the Net free?

    From Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)

    The widespread hope for a "free Internet" has lately been taking refuge in the idea of advertising: banners across web pages, clickable icons, commercial messages in every possible form. This evidently strikes many observers as a wonderfully cost-free way to subsidize our access to Net content -- so much so that those who are not thrilled with the idea are dismissed out of hand. As Seidman's Online Insider recently put it (July 7, 1996):

    Look for Mercury Mail to begin adding advertising to these services soon. They even care about the cranks who are dead-set against advertising! They can still pay the full subscription price and not get any advertising whatsoever.
    Well, as it happens, I am one of the cranks dead-set against advertising in the electronic media, not as a matter of social policy, but as a matter of personal choice. I prefer not to subject myself to the noisy, scattered, chaotic, distracting, trivializing, unesthetic, and disturbingly perverse content of much modern advertising. That such a choice should be stigmatized with the word "crank" by a well-known Internet commentator strikes me as profoundly symptomatic. Only someone who finds the quality of the conscious human interior irrelevant to the social future could make such a