INTERNET TRAVELLER By Hilary Ostrov C.W.*


If you are considering entering the fast lane of the information highway, you may want to do so before February 8 - a Thursday in cyberspace that promises to be somewhat unique. Billed as the "largest one-day online event to date" with an anticipated Internet audience of 5 million (permanent website, CD-ROM and book to follow!), "24 Hours in Cyberspace" is a happening you won't want to miss!

Rick Smolan, a former Time, Life and National Geographic photographer (and I hear via the netvine that he's an MOT!) is the creator of "A Day in the Life of America" - which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year.

This could be called his "Day in the Life of Cyberspace"! It is one of the largest photographic projects ever attempted: 1,000 photographers - including 100 of the world's top photo-journalists - around the globe, "[will document] how the online digital revolution is changing people's lives."

The stories and images will "capture the human face ... the new ways in which we work, play, learn, conduct business and interact." There are no doubt a million stories in the cyber-community - and the "250 plus" they will be recording and broadcasting via the Internet in "real-time" include "Hassidic Jews running Lubavitchers in Cyberspace out of a Brooklyn command center."

And I have it on very good authority (the netvine works really well!) that we shall also see stories from Israel. Via the Internet, Israeli, Palestinian and Israeli-Arab teenagers establish dialogue and exchange scientific data as part of an evironmental/peace effort. In "real life" they have met to clean up rivers, streams, and farmland - to the benefit of everyone's health.

Smolan and his team at cyber24.com have invited the entire world to participate. Yes! You, too, can be part of this event (provided you have a computer, mouse and modem!). Send in your own story - and images (you don't even have to know how to write in HTML -the language of the Web - one of their computers will do it for you!) No story to tell? Just sign the Guest Book to be "permanently recorded as an official visitor"

Much has been written and heard in the "traditional" media regarding the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) controversy. And believe me, the bits and bytes have been flying through cyberspace on this one. I could find nothing in their statements or press release - available on their website - that suggests they advocate or support "censorship" in any way.

SWC merely "called upon companies providing Internet hosting services to adopt voluntary acceptable-use guidelines that would terminate services to individuals or groups promoting an agenda of hate or violence."

Not surprisingly, those who promote such agendas were amongst the first to condemn the SWC and - with their keyboards firmly wrapped in the flag of freedom of speech - sent out their censorship alerts while basking in the media attention - and significant increase in traffic on their websites.

One feature 24 Hours in Cyberspace visitors will find is very timely: it examines the issue of "hate speech" and the different ways in which it is combatted. Ernst Zundel will be part of this story, as will the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Ken McVay's Nizkor Project. And your Internet Traveller's thoughts on the "patina of professionalism" will be part of this story as well.

Oh! Btw, I almost forgot to mention, one of those 1,000 photographers will be knocking on my door on February 8. See you on-line ... I'll be putting my best face forward!


*Hilary Ostrov is a Chartered Webaholic, who lives in New Westminster, BC. When not busy "surfing the net", she is a consultant and educator who offers Internet "driving lessons", hypertext authoring and design of World Wide Web "Home Pages", and computer- related training. She can be contacted via e-mail (hostrov@telus.net) or telephone (604) 525- 3055

Copyright © 1996 Hilary Ostrov

This article was submitted for publication and appeared in the The Western Jewish Bulletin, Vol. LXIII, No. 4

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