[Air-l] surfing - when and who coined the term surfing

Rune Dalgaard runed at imv.au.dk
Wed May 14 03:40:58 PDT 2003

Thanks to Serge, Steve and Ed for your tips on the genealogy of the term
surfing - here is a short summary:

As Serge and Steve suggested Jean Armour Polly (a.k.a. Net Mom) is credited
with the first published use (not the first use!). More can be found at:
http://www.netmom.com/about/surfing10.shtml - Polly gives a few examples
predating her own use of the term: unpublished written use of the term
internet surfing or net-surfing in the early 90's and some examples of
people who have talked about 'information surfing' in the late 80's.

Some people have voiced the argument that surfing is really a derivative of
'cerfing' (referring to Vint Cerf, who is regarded as one of the 'fathers of
the Internet' - as I recall it he played a central role in the development
of the Internet Protocol (IP)). Others claim that the term is based on the
notion of 'channel surfing' as used about switching channels on television.
To me, the first sounds like a typical internet myth but of course they are
not mutually exclusive.


Rune Dalgaard  |  MA, Ph.D. Candidate  |
Information and Media Studies  |  Aarhus University  |  Denmark
runed at imv.au.dk  |  http://www.imv.au.dk/medarbejdere/runed 

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