Everyone's laughing at Newt Gingrich because he made a video saying he and his staff had puzzled for weeks that we don't have a new word for cell phones that do the Internet. People used the term "horseless carriage" for a while until they came up with a better word, and Gingrich thinks the same thing will happen to these pocket computer that no one really uses to call people. "The one term that didn't seem to occur to Newt and his staff over those weeks was 'smartphone,'" Fortune's Dan Mitchell says. "Note how Gingrich manages to make a play for the attention of Web-savvy youth by both using the term 'horseless carriage' and by slaughtering his pronunciation of Wikipedia," Slate's Josh Vorhees writes. But as Gingrich tweeted a couple times on Monday, lots of people have said smartphone is a dumbterm for the devices. You all mock Newt at your own peril. Gingrich been better at envisioning The Future than most of us. Let's review his innovations.
In 1994, Katie Couric was asking, "What is the Internet?" Today show co-host Bryant Gumbel puzzled how to say URLs out loud. How do you pronounce @? You know what Gingrich was doing in 1994? Putting Congress on the Internet. It was clear the Associated Press didn't expect the rest of us to understand what a searchable database was, because it described the THOMAS system, launched in January 1995, as "a Congressional online public access information system that people from across the country and around the world can get access to Congressional information via the Internet."
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Did Newt Gingrich pioneer the self-Google? Here he is in 1996, showing the Associated Press his website.
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Clearly, the Internet was new to the AP, because the caption says, "The page includes a biolgraphy of Gingrich, information on how to contact his Marietta and Washington offices, a list of constituent services and a photo gallery."
Here's Gingrich in June 1995, introducing "the first conservative Internet community 'Town Hall.'" Did Gingrich invent getting old people to forward emails by promising that if they sent them to 20 friends, a precious angel would make their wish come true?
(Photos via Associated Press.)
Here's Newt in 1998, showing the media something called "Web-TV" at Microsoft's headquarters. That's right, he anticipated Netflix.
(Photo via Reuters.)
In 2007, Gingrich gave a speech in Second Life.
He did not judge the people in demon avatars, so you should not just Newt Gingrich!