There is no “I” in internet

I am beginning my maps blog with a polemic against faulty capitalization on the internet… of “the internet.”

(Why on a maps blog? I’m a grad student who makes a lot of web maps, and my faculty advisor is always on my case about capitalizing the internet. Not that I’m blaming him–this is a widespread bad convention.)

Yes, the AP Stylebook, the New York Times, and every academic who thinks they know how to spell capitalizes the word “Internet,” according to Wikipedia and this blog post. But I respectfully disagree with them.

Supposedly, “Internet” is to be capitalized because it is claimed to be a proper noun, the name of a particular unique entity, as distinguished from generic “internets” or “internetworks.” But the internet isn’t a name; it’s a thing, and most things that are written with “the” preceding them are common nouns. I don’t go shopping at the Grocery Store and I don’t go to the Beach, even though those are particular places. I might have only one grocery store or one beach I ever go to, and I mean the same one each time I say it, but that doesn’t give them the right to capitalization.

I might go to The Beach if it’s referring to the name of the waterpark near where I grew up, but in this case “The” is also capitalized. For that matter, if I’m at a concert of The Shins or The White Stripes, I’m not at a concert of the Shins or the White Stripes, because the former two are band names and latter two are wrongly-capitalized common nouns.

So take that, the internet. I’m bringing you down a peg.

More fun posts to come.

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