Celebrate 20th Anniversary of "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet"

Short thesis

"Welcome to the 21st Century. You are a Netizen (a Net Citizen)," wrote Michael Hauben in 1993 when he discovered that along with the Internet there had emerged a new form of citizen and citizenship. He called this new form of citizen 'netizen'. The article Hauben wrote introducing his research and the concept of Netizen to the world soon became the first chapter of the book "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet". Come celebrate the 20th anniversary of this book with us.


In 1993 Michael Hauben recognized that along with the Internet there had emerged the netizen. He observed that the netizen was not all users, but the online user who recognized the empowerment the Net made possible and who sought to utilize this empowerment to contribute to the Net and the bigger world it was part of.

This May marks the 20th anniversary of the print edition of Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet. The book was first published online and then in a print edition in English and in a Japanese translation.

We want to mark this occasion by a presentation celebrating the milestone the book represents. While there are many publications exploring the social impact of the Internet, it was and continues to be rare for a book or other publication to document and make the case for the importance of recognizing the social impact of the Net and Netizens.

Our presentation will explore the historic and scientific roots of the phenomenon, the early vision, the research that led to the recognition of the emergence of the netizens and the continuing development of both the theory and practice of netizens and netizenship. Several names stand out in the history of this achievement. Among these are JCR Licklider for the guiding vision, Michael Hauben for the pioneering research and scientific insight for recognizing that along with the Internet had emerged the Netizen, and Mark Poster's work realizing that the netizen could be the social force waging a successful struggle against the harmful effects of globalization.

The netizens have carried forward the torch so the Internet can continue to evolve and thrive. Particularly, the contributions of the South Korean and Chinese netizens have turned the concept of netizens into a national laboratory for democracy.

We plan two informative presentations. One presentation will include a case study of the candlelight revolution by citizens and netizens in South Korea which demonstrates in practice the efforts toward forging a new governance model for participatory democracy. The second will argue that netizens are having a sustained impact and are contributing to developing Chinese society in the direction of greater citizen participation.

There will be time for comments, contributions and discussion by those joining us for the presentation. Leif Kramp has written about re:publica, "Every May, Berlin transforms into the European capital of 'netizens'." What more fitting venue to mark the 20th anniversary of the print edition of Netizens than in Berlin as part of re:publica 2017.

Come celebrate this 20th Anniversary with us.