Am being kidded now about using the term "the public internet" but it was already meant to be a joke. Google used it when announcing its "net neutrality" compromise with AT&T, who have long been salivating to privatize online traffic. We weren't supposed to admit there are two nets, one open and one proprietary, and here was a supposedly paradigm-shifting new media company conceding the point. Now Google has its own sign-in-required private network to compete with the other friend farms. Collectively the new AOLs comprise one internet, the cable companies will have their online streaming internet, and what meager bandwidth remains will be committed to solo bloggers and spam.
In a recent email discussion about the term "post-internet" yrs truly wrote:
I agree there is a morphing of practices going on [between the internet and physical gallery spaces] that deserves further study but feel that (i) we don't need a new art term, and (ii) it is hubristic to describe your moment as "after" something as vast, multivalent, and obdurate as the
internet. It's almost like saying you are "post-shoes" while still actually wearing them.
Am reconsidering this in light of commercial social media's triumph in defining online experience. It's harder to describe the net as vast when it's corralled into a few large, regimented nodes based on juvenile crowd control techniques (friends, likes, "in a relationship," etc). I see former blogospheric indies on G+ engaging in endless rounds of high-fivin' and base-touchin' and think that's something we could definitely be "post-".
Bulletin boards, group blogs, etc still offer the best vehicles for info exchange and even socializing. Will never get why those needed to scale up to the size where your former elementary school classmates were chiming in on the discussions.