Casting Nets to Catch the Internet Speaking in Sonnets
During quotidian interactions with the Internet we see only meaningful text written by humans. Beneath the surface of every transaction that travels through the channels of the Internet-- whether it's sending an e-mail, loading a web page, or encrypting a message-- is a massive amount of alphabetsam. Readable, meaningful text is always accompanied by a barrage of networking codes and handshaking protocols that only have meaning to the machines they are communicating with. If the Internet could talk, a third of what it would say would be meaningless.
The most familiar place where letters are combined in ways that almost destroy the possibility of producing meaning is the automatically assigned e-mail address. Usually 8 letters long, companies or schools use them to ensure uniqueness. They are produced using algorithms that combine initials and last names, most often coming up with an unrecognizable new moniker that bears some resemblance to the original. For example, my name is Neil Hennessy, and the e-mail address I was assigned by my school is nhenness.
Presented here are 4 poems that use automatically generated e-mail addresses to approximate what the Internet might sound like if it spoke in sonnets.