Sometimes people want to know where Wonderopolis is. It’s in cyberspace, of course! That means you can visit Wonderopolis anytime no matter where you are!

But where exactly is cyberspace? Is it in the sky way up beyond the clouds? Is it in the clouds themselves? Or could it be deep underground near the center of the Earth?

The term “cyberspace” was coined by science fiction author William Gibson. He used the word to describe an interconnected network of computers that would link all people and machines to form a sort of virtual reality that could be navigated much like the real world.

Sounds a lot like the Internet, doesn’t it? Cyberspace and the Internet today are basically terms for the same thing. The modern Internet facilitates online communication and interaction in a virtual environment that at times can seem more real than the actual world around you.

Even though cyberspace isn’t a real place, there are pieces of it all around you. The computers you connect to when you surf the Internet can be anywhere in the world. Of course, that means they can also be in the building right next to you, too!

The hardware and software that make cyberspace run aren’t really as important as the interactions they facilitate. Cyberspace is more about a new form of Internet culture that exists and is facilitated by these technological marvels.

In other words, it’s not the “stuff” that makes up cyberspace. Instead, it’s what this “stuff” makes possible. And that’s a lot. Most importantly, it’s the facilitation of communication between real people who can be mere feet to thousands of miles away from each other.

This virtual reality we all experience daily now naturally led to a need to describe it in a way that makes it seem more like the real world we live in. Cyberspace is thus a metaphor that describes this virtual world we “live” in apart from our real, physical world.

Our need to describe things in physical terms has led to the use of other terms similar to cyberspace. For example, the phrase “cloud computing” has become popular in recent years. Storing things on the Internet via a website or third-party service rather than on an actual, physical device we possess is what cloud computing is all about.

Instead of saving your term paper on the hard drive of your computer at home, you might instead store it in “the cloud.” Of course, it is physically saved somewhere. You just have no idea where. It’s in “the cloud,” which is just another metaphor for that place we otherwise refer to as cyberspace!

Wonder What's Next?

Whether or not you agree with tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day, we’re OK with your opinion!