Internet Hysteria Index: Are we losing our edge?

Declaring that “the Internet is without doubt the most powerful inspiration for hyperbole in the history of mankind,” Scott Wallsten and Amy Smorodin of the Technology Policy Institute have proposed the Internet Hysteria Index to measure how well the Internet is fulfilling its promise.

Unfortunately, the index shows a dramatic drop-off in hysteria for 2011, prompting the authors to wonder in a recent blog posting if we are losing our edge.

TPI is a think tank that thinks about the economics of innovation, technological change and regulation. Its mission is to “advance knowledge and inform policy-makers by producing independent, rigorous research.”

The Internet Hysteria Index, a product of that rigorous research, has two components, both based on searches of the Nexis news database. The first is a measure of fears that the Internet as we know it is doomed, which peaked in 2011, and the second is a measure of concern about the inadequacy of U.S. broadband, which fell off sharply last year.

Although TPI acknowledges that the index is not rigorous and is “probably pretty meaningless,” Wallsten and Smorodin urge the “inside-the-Beltway crowd” to pull itself together and breathe some life back into hyperbole, hysteria and other concerns about the Internet in the coming year.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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