Term:netizen« Back to Glossary Index
A netizen is simply someone who is online in one form or another.
It’s a play on the word “denizen” – “an inhabitant of a particular place”, with “net” implying that the particular place being inhabited is the network, or internet.
It might also be considered a play on the word “citizen”, once again implying that a person is a “citizen” or resident of the internet, even though there’s no such formal concept as internet citizenship.
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The term netizen is a portmanteau of the English words internet and citizen, as in a "citizen of the net" or "net citizen". It describes a person actively involved in online communities or the Internet in general.
The term commonly also implies an interest and active engagement in improving the internet, making it an intellectual and a social resource, or its surrounding political structures, especially in regard to open access, net neutrality and free speech. The term was widely adopted in the mid-1990s as a way to describe those who inhabit the new geography of the internet. Internet pioneer and author Michael F. Hauben is credited with coining and popularizing the term.