In This 1995 Column, A Newsweek Writer Says Internet Hype Is ‘Baloney’

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 For example, here's the Whole Earth Catalog.

Thanks to venture capitalist Chris Dixon, we’ve found something wonderful this morning.

It’s a Newsweek column from 1995 in which writer Clifford Stoll says the hype about the Internet is “baloney.”

Stoll goes through all the major use-cases people were predicting for the Internet and explains while they’ll never happen.

Here is Stoll’s take on “electronic publishing.”

How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.

Stoll also says ecommerce, or “cyber-business” won’t happen, and that information posted to the Internet won’t influence democratic governments.

Obviously, it’s pretty easy to laugh at Stoll’s shortsightedness now. His mistake was failing to imagine that the technology supporting the Internet would get better.

But, if you take the time to go back and look at what the Internet was actually like in 1995, it’s pretty easy to see why he was so skeptical.

Remember, this is what Pizza Hut’s Web site looked like in 1995:

There's one other thing CompuServe has…a "World Wide Web Browser." It's "air mosaic." Stewart says this is the "famous Pizza Hut homepage on the Web."

SEE ALSO: This Was The Internet In 1995

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