Stop the ‘Internet’ presses! We mean ‘internet’

AP goes lowercase with internet

Over the weekend, the Associated Press announced some 250 additions to their 2016 AP Stylebook during the American Copy Editors Society’s national conference in Portland. Some updates are minor, and some are blowing up the Internet — well, at least in writer and editor circles online.

If you have a digital subscription to apstylebook.com, you may have already noticed some of the updates as they’ve gone into effect in recent months:

  • Deejay or disc jockey became DJ (acceptable in all uses now).
  • Spokesperson has been added, as opposed to spokesman or spokeswoman, if this is the preference of an individual or organization.
  • Voicemail is now one word.

The most buzzworthy update is that Internet will become lowercase (“internet”), but this update will not go into effect until June 1, when the print edition 2016 AP Stylebook becomes available.

Leading tech publications like Wired have used the lowercase version of “internet” since 2004. 

Apple’s popular suite of products all containing lowercase i’s came about in 2001 with the iPod. Since the lowercase “i” stands for “internet” according to the brand, and public usage has become increasingly lowercase since that time, it seems the AP has been slow to cave to the lowercase version. Since Saturday, comments have been mostly along the lines of, “Finally,” “About time,” or my personal favorite, “Did anyone run this by Al Gore?” Some even thought it was a delayed April Fools’ Day joke.

This sort of technology language update is similar to the evolution of E-mail to email, Home page to homepage, On-line to online, and Web blog to blog.

A specific World Wide Web location was changed to “website” by the AP as far back as at least 2010, or the capitalized “Web” when used as an abbreviation for the WWW. But, the AP says the lowercase version (web) is acceptable in all uses now too (effective June 1).

I think it’s safe to say that when in doubt? Lowercase it come June 1. Or just look it up.

However, in confusing “i before e” grammar/spelling rule fashion — and just to keep you on your toes when dealing with clients or publications that may not use AP Style — the Chicago Manual of Style still endorses Internet (capitalized).

For the record, Shift Key uses AP Style, unless directed otherwise by a client.

At Shift Key, we make communication capital. We are journalists who know how to create original content, the foundational layer of digital marketing. We understand audience and the information your audience wants — whether you are an agency, brand, company or non-profit. Content is the bedrock of digital marketing. Shift Key creates unique and informative content that feeds marketing activities across a mounting number of channels, generating buzz for brands and leads for products and services.

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