Minitel Lives On

from the can't-shake-old-habits dept

Back in July we wrote about how France Telecom had realized that some folks simply couldn’t give up their Minitel fix and started offering a combined internet/Minitel offering. Now the Washington Post has a story about the history of the Minitel and why some French users want it to keep going. Mostly, it sounds like, once you understood how it worked, the Minitel was easy to use and fairly reliable. In comparison, many of the people who were used to the Minitel found the internet and the web to be confusing and unstable – so they migrated back to what they were comfortable with. Of course, the younger generation quickly realizes how much more powerful the internet is, so the Minitel will die off eventually – but it sounds like it still has quite a few years left.

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Comments on “Minitel Lives On”

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dorpus says:

The French Precedent

History has repeatedly shown that whenever a given culture invents something new, then other cultures will imitate it as-is at first, then alter it to suit their own needs and values.

Our internet is based on American values that say:

1. Open (often rude) public debate is good
2. New frontiers should be conquered, through investing massive resources in it.

There are other cultures that view open debate as fanning the flames of hatred, so should be avoided. Still others believe that frontiers are a waste of resources, so should be ignored. There are plenty of countries with “frontiers” of vast deserts, swamps, or jungles, but people are not rushing to live there.

More concretely, the internet does pose plenty of problems for non-English speakers. There is an overbearing presence of English, along with all the English spam.

As far as my first-hand experience with MSN chats go, open public debate often serves to inflame relations between countries rather than improve them. When the ignorant rabble of one country talk to the ignorant rabble of another, they piss each other off and want to kill each other.

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