How "American" is the Internet?

Prof. William Marling
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Early on the Internet was largely "American" and threatened to colonize other cultures. As recently as 1998, 74% of domain names and 85% of all .edu's were registered in the U.S. Combined with portals such as AOL, Google, eBay, MSNBC, and Yahoo, and the lingua franca use of English, the U.S. seemed set to dominate world culture. But the reverse has happened. By 2004 the U.S. accounted for only 57% of domain names (only 40% of new names) and only 72% of .edu addresses. As statistics gathered by NUA, Nielsen NetRatings, and Prof. Mathew Zook of UC-Berkeley show, the "American" and English proportions of the Internet have steadily declined. According to Verisign, by 2003 English was not the preferred language of the majority of Internet users and the mother tongue of only 43%. By 2004 the English content of the Internet fell below 50%.

Keywords: Internet, English, American, popular culture, globalization, colonialism
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: How "American" is the Internet?

Prof. William Marling

Professor and Director, World Literature Program, Department of English
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Case Western Reserve University


William Marling has published five academic books and over 50 articles. His new book is "How 'American' is Globalization?" (Johns Hopkins U.P. 2006). He also wrote about American media and technology in "The American Roman Noir" (U. Georgia P, 1995, 1998). He has been a Fulbright Professor in Austria and Spain, Distinguished Foreign Professor in France, and held the Drake Chair in American Studies at Kobe College in Japan.

Ref: T06P0026