Wired is a monthly American magazine, published in print and online
editions, that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture,
the economy, and politics. Owned by Condé Nast, it is headquartered
in San Francisco, California, and has been in publication since
March/April 1993. Several spin-offs have been launched, including
Wired UK, Wired Italia, Wired Japan, and Wired Germany.
In its earliest colophons, Wired credited Canadian media theorist
Marshall McLuhan as its "patron saint." From its beginning, the
strongest influence on the magazine's editorial outlook came from
Stewart Brand and his associate Kevin
From 1998 to 2006,
Wired magazine and
Wired News (which publishes at
Wired.com) had separate owners. However,
Wired News remained
responsible for republishing Wired magazine's content online due to an
Condé Nast purchased the magazine. In 2006, Condé
Wired News for $25 million, reuniting the magazine with
Wired contributor Chris Anderson is known for popularizing the term
"the Long Tail", as a phrase relating to a "power law"-type graph
that helps to visualize the 2000s emergent new media business model.
Anderson's article for Wired on this paradigm related to research on
power law distribution models carried out by Clay Shirky, specifically
in relation to bloggers. Anderson widened the definition of the term
in capitals to describe a specific point of view relating to what he
sees as an overlooked aspect of the traditional market space that has
been opened up by new media.
The magazine coined the term "crowdsourcing", as well as its annual
tradition of handing out
Vaporware Awards, which recognize "products,
videogames and other nerdy tidbits pitched, promised and hyped, but
1.1 The Anderson era
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Cover of Wired issue 1.4 September/October 1993
The magazine was founded by American journalist
Louis Rossetto and his
partner Jane Metcalfe, along with Ian Charles Stewart, in 1993 with
initial backing from software entrepreneur Charlie Jackson and
Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab, who was a
regular columnist for six years (through 1998) and wrote the book
Being Digital. The founding designers were John Plunkett and Barbara
Kuhr (Plunkett+Kuhr), beginning with a 1991 prototype and continuing
through the first five years of publication, 1993–98.
Wired, which touted itself as "the
Rolling Stone of technology",
made its debut at the
Macworld conference on January 2, 1993. A
great success at its launch, it was lauded for its vision,
originality, innovation, and cultural impact. In its
first four years, the magazine won two National
Magazine Awards for
General Excellence and one for Design.
Wired building located in San Francisco
The founding executive editor of Wired, Kevin Kelly, was an editor of
Whole Earth Catalog
Whole Earth Catalog and the
Whole Earth Review and brought with
him contributing writers from those publications. Six authors of the
first Wired issue (1.1) had written for Whole Earth Review, most
Bruce Sterling (who was highlighted on the first cover) and
Stewart Brand. Other contributors to Whole Earth appeared in Wired,
including William Gibson, who was featured on Wired's cover in its
first year and whose article "Disneyland with the Death Penalty" in
issue 1.4 resulted in the publication being banned in Singapore.
Louis Rossetto claimed in the magazine's first issue
that "the Digital Revolution is whipping through our lives like a
Bengali typhoon," yet despite the fact that Kelly was involved in
launching the WELL, an early source of public access to the Internet
and even earlier non-Internet online experience, Wired's first issue
de-emphasized the Internet and covered interactive games, cell-phone
hacking, digital special effects, military simulations, and Japanese
otaku. However, the first issue did contain a few references to the
Internet, including online dating and Internet sex, and a tutorial on
how to install a bozo filter. The last page, a column written by
Nicholas Negroponte, was written in the style of an email message but
contained obviously fake, non-standard email addresses. By the third
issue in the fall of 1993, the "Net Surf" column began listing
interesting FTP sites, Usenet newsgroups, and email addresses, at a
time when the numbers of these things were small and this information
was still extremely novel to the public. Wired was among the first
magazines to list the email address of its authors and contributors.
Associate publisher Kathleen Lyman (formerly of
News Corporation and
Ziff Davis) was brought on board to launch Wired with an advertising
base of major technology and consumer advertisers. Lyman, along with
Simon Ferguson (Wired's first advertising manager), introduced
revolutionary ad campaigns by a diverse group of industry
leaders—such as Apple Computer, Intel, Sony, Calvin Klein, and
Absolut—to the readers of the first technology publication with a
The magazine was quickly followed by a companion website (HotWired), a
book publishing division (HardWired), a Japanese edition, and a
short-lived British edition (Wired UK).
Wired UK was relaunched in
April 2009. In 1994, John Battelle, cofounding editor,
Jules Marshall to write a piece on the Zippies. The cover
story broke records for being one of the most publicized stories of
the year and was used to promote Wired's
HotWired news service.
HotWired spawned websites Webmonkey, the search engine HotBot, and a
weblog, Suck.com. In June 1998, the magazine launched a stock index,
the Wired Index, called the Wired 40 since July 2003.
The fortune of the magazine and allied enterprises corresponded
closely to that of the dot-com bubble. In 1996, Rossetto and the other
participants in Wired Ventures attempted to take the company public
with an IPO. The initial attempt had to be withdrawn in the face of a
downturn in the stock market, and especially the Internet sector,
during the summer of 1996. The second try was also unsuccessful.
Rossetto and Metcalfe lost control of Wired Ventures to financial
Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners in May 1998, which quickly sold
off the company in pieces. Wired was purchased by Advance
Publications, which assigned it to Advance's subsidiary, New
Condé Nast Publications
Condé Nast Publications (while keeping Wired's
editorial offices in San Francisco). Wired Digital (wired.com,
hotbot.com, webmonkey.com, etc.) was purchased by
Lycos and run
independently from the rest of the magazine until 2006, when it was
Lycos to Advance Publications, returning the websites back to
the same company that published the magazine.
The Anderson era
Wilco at the Wired Rave Awards in 2003
Wired survived the dot-com bubble and found new direction under
editor-in-chief Chris Anderson in 2001, making the magazine's coverage
Under Anderson, Wired has produced some widely noted articles,
including the April 2003 "Welcome to the Hydrogen Economy" story, the
November 2003 "Open Source Everywhere" issue (which put Linus Torvalds
on the cover and articulated the idea that the open source method was
taking off outside of software, including encyclopedias as evidenced
by), the February 2004 "Kiss Your Cubicle Goodbye" issue
(which presented the outsourcing issue from both American and Indian
perspectives), and an October 2004 article by Chris Anderson, which
coined the popular term "Long Tail".
The November 2004 issue of Wired was published with The Wired CD. All
of the songs on the CD were released under various Creative Commons
licenses, an attempt to push alternative copyright into the spotlight.
Most of the songs were contributed by major artists, including the
Beastie Boys, My Morning Jacket, Paul Westerberg, and David Byrne.
In 2005, Wired received the National
Magazine Award for General
Excellence in the category of 500,000 to 1,000,000 subscribers.
That same year, Anderson won Advertising Age's editor of the year
award. In May 2007, the magazine again won the National Magazine
Award for General Excellence. In 2008, Wired was nominated for
Magazine Awards and won the ASME for Design. It also
took home 14 Society of Publication Design Awards, including the Gold
Magazine of the Year. In 2009, Wired was nominated for four
Magazine Awards – including General Excellence, Design,
Best Section (Start), and Integration – and won three: General
Excellence, Design, and Best Section (Start). David Rowan from Wired
UK was awarded the BSME Launch of the Year 2009 Award. On December
Wired magazine was named
Magazine of the Decade by the
editors of Adweek.
In 2006, writer Jeff Howe and editor Mark Robinson coined the term
crowdsourcing in the June issue.
Condé Nast Italia launched the Italian edition of Wired and
Wired.it. On April 2, 2009,
Condé Nast relaunched the UK edition
of Wired, edited by David Rowan, and launched Wired.co.uk. Also in
2009, Wired writer
Evan Ratliff "vanished", attempting to keep his
whereabouts secret, saying "I will try to stay hidden for 30 days." A
$5,000 reward was offered to his finder(s). Ratliff was found
September 8 in New Orleans by a team effort, which was written about
by Ratliff in a later issue. In 2010, Wired released its tablet
Limor Fried became the first female engineer featured on the
cover of Wired.
In May 2013, Wired joined the Digital Video Network with the
announcement of five original webseries, including the National
Security Agency satire
Codefellas and the animated advice series
Type of site
originally Wired magazine
1,200 (as of March 18, 2017[update])
November 20, 1992; 25 years ago (1992-11-20)
The Wired website, formerly known as
Wired News and HotWired, launched
in October 1994. It split off from the magazine when it was
Condé Nast Publishing in the 1990s.
Wired News was owned
Lycos not long after the split, until
Condé Nast purchased Wired
News on July 11, 2006.
Wired.com hosts several technology blogs on topics in transportation,
security, business, new products, video games, the "GeekDad" blog on
toys, creating websites, cameras, culture, and science. It also
As of February 2018, Wired.com is paywalled. Users may only access up
to 5 articles per-month without payment.
Wired was criticized for its handling of the Adrian
Chelsea Manning logs. Wired contributor
Kevin Poulsen used Lamo
to obtain transcripts of the communications between Lamo and Manning
that led to Manning's arrest over the "WikiLeaks" in 2010. Poulsen
released approximately one third of the logs, but he and Wired
editor-in-chief Evan Hansen refused to release more on grounds of
privacy. The issue became a subject of controversy, when Poulsen
and Hansen attacked Wired critic Glenn Greenwald.
From 2004 to 2008, Wired organized an annual "festival of innovative
products and technologies". A NextFest for 2009 was canceled.
2004: May 14–16 at the Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
2005: June 24–26 at Navy Pier, Chicago
2006: September 28–October 1 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention
Center, New York City
2007: September 13–16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los
2008: September 27–October 12 at Millennium Park, Chicago
The Geekipedia supplement
Geekipedia is a supplement to Wired.
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Wired's writers have included Jorn Barger, John Perry Barlow, John
Battelle, Paul Boutin, Stewart Brand, Gareth Branwyn, Po Bronson,
Scott Carney, Michael Chorost, Douglas Coupland, James Daly, Joshua
Davis, J. Bradford DeLong, Mark Dery, David Diamond, Cory Doctorow,
Esther Dyson, Mark Frauenfelder, Simson Garfinkel, William Gibson, Dan
Gillmor Mike Godwin, George Gilder, Lou Ann Hammond, Chris Hardwick,
Virginia Heffernan, Danny Hillis, John Hodgman, Steven Johnson, Bill
Joy, Richard Kadrey, Leander Kahney, Jon Katz, Jaron Lanier, Lawrence
Lessig, Paul Levinson, Steven Levy, John Markoff, Wil McCarthy, [Russ
Mitchell]], Glyn Moody, Belinda Parmar, Charles Platt, Josh Quittner,
Spencer Reiss, Howard Rheingold, Rudy Rucker, Paul Saffo, Adam Savage,
Evan Schwartz, Peter Schwartz, Alex Steffen, Neal Stephenson, Bruce
Sterling, Kevin Warwick, Dave Winer, and Gary Wolf.
Guest editors have included director J. J. Abrams, filmmaker James
Cameron, architect Rem Koolhaas, former US President Barack Obama,
director Christopher Nolan, tennis player Serena Williams, and video
game designer Will Wright.
Why the Future Doesn't Need Us
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