If you think about the differences we've looked at, they're actually differences in time, space, and who we are.

Time. If it's Wednesday and you just found an exciting shell, you'll have to wait a week to tell the real world Shell Club about it. But, if you were on a mailing list, you'd send out an email on Wednesday afternoon. People would read it whenever they wanted. People would respond when they wanted. The conversation isn't confined just to Tuesday afternoon. It's always there, going on with you or without you. You can jump in when you want.

Space. In the real world, you live here and I live ten miles away, so we don't see each other very much. And Paolo lives thousands of miles away in Italy and Indira lives another few thousand miles away in India. Real-world space separates us. On the Web, we are not separated by space. We are joined ... by email, chat, instant messaging and by hyperlinks.

Who we are. Because space makes it hard to move around, we live in one place and are pretty much the same person day after day. But we can duck in and out of the Web, trying out being different types of people. The self we sometimes feel stuck with in the real world gets unstuck on the Web.

If time, space and who we are is different on the Web, then it is a most remarkable place.

Links to Explore

A History of Time

World history and maps




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This is a children's version of David Weinberger's book
Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.
copyright © 2002 David Weinberger