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Internaut is a portmanteau of the words Internet and astronaut[1] and refers to a designer, operator, or technically capable user of the Internet. Beginning with participants in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), it gradually expanded to members of the Internet Society (ISoc) and the larger community[which?].[2]

An internaut is online savvy, typically through years of online experience, with a thorough knowledge of how to use search engines, Internet resources, forums, newsgroups and chat rooms to find information. The more someone knows about the Internet, its history and politics, the more likely the term internaut fits them. The less he or she knows the more likely a different term would be more fitting. Other terms roughly analogous with internaut are cybernaut and netizen, though each has its own connotation. The common thread among them in English is an implication of experience and knowledge of the Internet or cyberspace that goes beyond the casual user. The French, however, use the term to describe any Internet user.[3]

The creation of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee enabled non-technical computer experts to use the Internet in a simple and quick way, making it accessible to billions of people around the world.[4] Berners-Lee filed his original proposal for the Web on 12 March 1989,[5] while working at CERN, and the project was first publicly announced on 6 August 1991 on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.[6] Both of these dates have been celebrated by media as the "birthday of the Web".[7][8]


  1. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries - internaut". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. ^ A Brief History of the Internet from the Internet Society.
  3. ^ "English translation of 'internaute'". Collins Dictionary.
  4. ^ "Inventing the Web: Tim Berners-Lee’s 1990 Christmas Baby" Seeing the Picture.
  5. ^ "Tim Berners-Lee submits a proposal for a distributed information system at CERN - CERN timelines".
  6. ^ "Google Groups".
  7. ^ "#InternautDay and post-truth news in the Facebook era".
  8. ^ "World Wide Web celebrates 25th anniversary".