Wired magazine

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A sample of Wired covers. Wired 1.01 (the premiere issue), with Bruce Sterling's face on the cover, is shown to the right.

Wired magazine is a full-color monthly magazine and on-line periodical published in San Francisco, California since March 1993. It reports on how technology and the Internet affect culture, the economy, and politics.

It is no longer related to Wired News, which publishes at Wired.com. However, Wired News is responsible for reprinting Wired magazine's content online due to a business agreement holdover from when Condé Nast purchased the magazine, but not the website.

Its editorial stance was partly inspired by the ideas of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, credited as the magazine's "patron saint" in early colophons. Wired has both been admired and disliked for its strong libertarian principles, its enthusiastic embrace of techno-utopianism, and its sometimes experimental layout with its bold use of fluorescent and metallic inks.



The magazine was founded by American journalist Louis Rossetto and his partner Jane Metcalfe in 1993 with initial backing from software entrepreneur Charlie Jackson and industry pundit Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab, who was a regular columnist for six years, through 1998.

Wired was a great success at its launch and was compared to Rolling Stone for its innovation and cultural impact. The magazine won two National Magazine Awards for General Excellence and one for Design in its first four years.

At inception Wired was also often compared to a predecessor, the magazine Mondo 2000. They both shared a creative use of design, and a cyberculture subject matter. Early issues of Wired showed a clear influence of Mondo 2000, but over time the two magazines diverged as Wired developed a more distinctive style. Mondo 2000 retained its more subversive emphasis of cyberculture, while Wired shifted emphasis more and more in a mainstream direction. Wired also toned down the extremities of design that it made it difficult to read. The founding executive editor of Wired, Kevin Kelly, was formerly the editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and the Whole Earth Review, and he brought with him many contributing writers from those publications. Six authors of the first issue, Wired 1.01 had written for Whole Earth Review, most notably Bruce Sterling 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.

Despite the fact that Kelly was involved in launching the WELL, an early public access to the Internet, Wired's first issue (1.01) de-emphasized the internet, and primarily talked about interactive games, cell-phone hacking, digital special effects, military simulations, and Japanese otaku. Despite rumors to the contrary, the first issue contained many references to the internet, including a long article on online-date and internet sex, and a tutorial on installing a "bozo filter" to eliminate online posts to by trolls, among other references. The last page, a column written by Nicholas Negroponte, was written in the style of an e-mail message, but contained obviously fake, non-standard e-mail addresses. By the third issue in the fall of 1993 the 'Net Surf' column began listing interesting FTP sites, news groups, 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.

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. HotWired itself spawned dozens of websites including Webmonkey, the search engine Hotbot, and a weblog, Suck.com. In June 1998, the magazine even launched its own stock index, The Wired Index, since July 2003 called The Wired 40.

The fortune of the magazine and allied enterprises corresponded closely to that of the dot-com boom. In 1996, Rossetto and the other participants in Wired Ventures attempted to take the company public with an IPO. They had to withdraw it in the face of a downturn in the stock market, and especially the internet sector, during the summer of 1996.

Rossetto and Metcalfe lost control of Wired Ventures to financial investors Providence Equity in May 1998, who quickly sold off the company in pieces. Wired was purchased by Advance Publications, who assigned it to Advance's subsidiary, New York-based publisher Condé Nast (while keeping Wired's editorial offices in San Francisco).

After the dot-com crash

After the crash of the dot-com boom, Wired lost much of its impact and had to compete with the multitude of technology reporting and sources available on the Internet. But having outlasted several other boom-time technology magazines, including The Industry Standard and the Red Herring, Wired is again growing under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson.

In the past several years, Wired has produced some agenda-setting 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 Wikipedia), the February 2004 "Kiss Your Cubicle Goodbye" issue (which presented the outsourcing issue from both American and Indian perspectives), and a October 2004 article by Chris Andersen, 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, David Byrne, and Le Tigre.

The March 2005 issue contains a detailed article about Wikipedia and its history. The article follows Wikipedia's conception and rapid growth as well as the challenges it faces.

Recently the magazine won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the category of 500,000 to 1,000,000 subscribers.

Over the years, Wired's writers have included, among many others, Paulina Borsook, Paul Boutin, Stewart Brand, Po Bronson, Chip Bayers, Denise Caruso, Douglas Coupland, Joshua Davis, J. Bradford DeLong, Cory Doctorow, Esther Dyson, Mark Frauenfelder, Simson Garfinkel, William Gibson, George Gilder, Katie Hafner, John Heilemann, Xeni Jardin, Bill Joy, Mitch Kapor, Jon Katz, Lawrence Lessig, Jaron Lanier, Steven Levy, Pamela McCorduck, Oliver Morton, Adam Penenberg, Randall Rothenberg, Phil Patton, Spencer Reiss, Rudy Rucker, Joshua Quittner, Paul Saffo, Peter Schwartz, R. U. Sirius, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, and Gary Wolf.


  • Gary Wolf (2003). Wired: A Romance. Random House, New York. ISBN 0375502904

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