Welcome to the World Wide Web — Language

Copenhagen, SPACE10 17:00 - 20:00 CET 17.04.19

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in the world. Although it said QWERTYIOP—a nonsensical assortment of letters—it catapulted text into becoming the primary communication form between people on the Internet.

For the last few decades, in any case; today, the  Internet is much faster, and how we communicate is transforming. Every single day we watch, create and share videos and visuals that would have taken hours if not days to upload and download in the 90s. And we do this with the keyboard-free super computer in our pockets.

It doesn’t take many hours on YouTube, Tiktok, WeChat, BiliBili or Reddit to see that the language of the internet is changing.  Visual forms of expression such as emoji, memes and video are fast on the rise, as are technologies like voice-to-speech, AI and augmented reality.

In this session we explore how the next generation of people on the internet are pioneering the new languages of the internet. We dig into  how scarce data plans result in new forms of expression, how India’s 1.3 billion people will change the web’s predominant language and how language defines who gets heard on the internet.

Do you speak Internet?

Expert guests for this session:

Emma Rose Metcalfe (Berlin)
Emma leads design research projects to understand human needs, behaviours and cultural trends, especially in new markets. Through fieldwork in emerging markets, Emma has developed a strong expertise on what it means to be digitally literate. In this session, Emma will help us explore the shifting power dynamic of language on the internet.

Christina Xu (New York City)
Christina is an ethnographer and writer who focuses on the social interactions and organic communities that form around technology and subculture, especially in China. Dialing-in on Skype, Christina will enlighten us on the language of memes and bring us up to speed on how to communicate natively in China. It goes fast.

Guiding questions for the session:

  • What is the language of the internet?
  • How do we get heard on the internet?
  • Who talks on the internet?
  • Where do we learn to speak internet?

Welcome to the World Wide Web

In this series of conversations, we explore how digital technologies empower people across the world, looking at everything from out-of-the-box ideas and cultural norms, to certain phenomena that define digital life.

In doing so, we strive to better understand how the Internet of the future will enable more people to live better lives and use these different environments as a mirror to reflect upon our own digital behaviours.

We’ll look into key technologies (mobile, voice, AI), human needs (physiological, safety, belonging) and cultural norms (traditions, religions, societal structures) that shape the online experience for the next generation on the world wide web.

We’ll do this across 3 sessions that focus on 3 different but fundamental cultural techniques:

  • Navigation
  • Currency
  • Language


co-matter explores what makes communities thrive. We help people to connect, share and create value together.

Copenhagen, SPACE10 17:00 - 20:00 CET 17.04.19