Gross Net Net Com

How much can we get through our thick skulls?

When I first came up with the idea of a measurable GNNC years ago, I used the term “bandwidth”, then “communications”, and now just “com”, which is no more ambiguous than the rest of the words. Intentionally so. If you choose to interpret this as a discussion of commerce instead of communication, you are not wrong.

By analogy with “Gross Domestic Product”, we could have “Gross Domestic Communication”. But in the Internet age, the term “domestic” is not right. Let us just use the term “net” as in network. The former will be a consequence of the latter. So we might have “Gross Net Com”.

Years ago, I amused myself and intended to provoke discussion by distinguishing between gross and net communication, using the same word “net”. Gross com might be the 30 or 300 emails arriving a day. Net com might be the few you actually read. But your net communication is less than that. At its root, the flow of information is given by its “surprise value”. What is predictable in the email message you read is not part of its net com value.

Enjoying the pun, I once used the terms “Net Net Bandwidth” (and even “Net Net Baud Rate”, which shows what an old guy I am). You may interpret this as “Net (vs. Gross) Net (work) Communication”.

I never used to bother, thinking it obvious, but lately I prepend the word “gross”, meaning “total global”, forming “Gross Net Net Communication”, Gross Net Net Com, or GNNC.

One more thing about the Net (work). People who have given no thought to the way the Internet was formed piece by piece though the merger and acquisition of various government, educational and commercial networks, have presumably given no thought to how this modern marvel is nothing compared to The Net of futuristic novels. That network will arise through the merger and acquisition of the Internet, telephone and television networks, at least. It is inevitable. Much more than inevitable, it is supremely desirable, with a potential indescribably greater than the contemporary Internet.

One more thing about Net (vs. Gross) communication. It is not just the information in the form of surprise value which reaches us, not just that which actually affects our actions, it is that which changes us. It is what gets through our thick skulls.

If we seek to maximize the GNNC, we are also seeking to change every person in it. It is seeking to change the world. For the better.