How Millennials (Not Al Gore) Invented the Internet

Millennials don’t just use social media, they invented it. (Like Al Gore invented the internet.)

Editor’s Note

For this post, the term Millennial refers to people born between 1982 and 2004. (Math help: People who are currently (i.e., 2014) between the ages of 10 and 32.) Also, while this post refers to a golden age, NOTHING in it refers to fringe New Testament apocalyptic theology.


During the first part of the 20th century, the french philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs advanced the idea of “collective memory” — a shared pool of information held in the memories of two or more members of a group. Or at least that’s what a group of two or more members of a group of people wrote in the Maurice Halbwachs Wikipedia entry.

Chapter 1. Monday: Millennial Selena Simmons-Duffin

On Monday, I was listening to the first in a series of reports NPR says are “about” Millennials and that are written and produced “by” NPR Millennials. The first report was on “Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously” by Millennial Selena Simmons-Duffin.

In it, Millennial Simmons-Duffin said:

“Millennials aren’t simply users of social media. We invented it. Mark Zuckerberg, along with the inventors of Instagram and Tumblr and Snapchat, are all millennials and all millionaires. Oh, actually, Zuckerberg is worth billions. Millennials were there first. We picked it out and showed everybody else how to use it. These tools have also transformed some of the most important stories in the news. So we’re all already living in a millennial world. It’s connected. It’s open.”

Did I mention the name of her story was, “Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously?”

Chapter 2. Tuesday: Pre-Millennial Dave Winer

On Tuesday, Pre-Millenial Dave Winer posted an essay about the 20th anniversary of his first blog post. I recommend you read it, along with some of the responses people have written. In 1994, Dave didn’t call his first blog post a “blog post” — the term “blog” came along later; sort of like the term “radio” came after the creation of the “wireless telegraph” and the term “movie” came after the creation of “moving pictures” (etc., etc.). Nor did he call it social media. That wouldn’t come along until the Millennials invented social media later.

Chapter 3. Tuesday: Pre-Millennial Craig Newmark

On Tuesday, Pre-Millennial Craig Newmark, the guy who started Craigslist in 1995 posted an essay on his blog called 3 Powerful Social Media Leaders of the Past. And by the past, he meant all the way back to Julius Caesar during the first century BC.


In 2016, Millenial David Zuckerberg donates $500 million to Harvard for the creation of “The Facebook Center for the Study of Facebook.”


Thanks to Pre-Millennial Hugh MacLeod who invented cartooning in 2004. Also, thanks to the two Millennials I helped to invent–and who disprove anything negative anyone (including me) has ever said about Millennials. Thanks, too, to all the Pre-Millennials and Millennials including Craig Newmark, Dave Winer, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa and anyone else born before or after 1982 who understands that what today we call social media is a continuation of one long social parade we all march in.

See Also on

2004: RexBlog Library of Accidental Blog Books