‘What Is Internet?’ Web Surfers Discover, Ruthlessly Mock 1994 ‘Today Show’ Clip of Confused Couric, Gumbel

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“What is Internet, anyway?”A young, bespectacled Bryant Gumbel asks in a ‘Today Show’ clip from 1994. “Do you write to it, like mail?”

File this one with other preciously naive quotes like Ted Stevens’ assertion that the Internet is a “series of tubes” and Bush’s serious concern with “rumors on the Internets.”

(More on TIME.com: Did Egypt Really ‘Shut Off’ the Internet?)

Of course, Gumbel had no idea that his blissfully ignorant response would go viral 17 years later. In fact, NewsFeed isn’t quite sure if he even knows what “viral” means.

The two-minute gem of a 1994 ‘Today Show’ clip shows a perplexed Gumbel and fellow anchors Katie Couric and Elizabeth Vargas trying to make heads or tails of the nascent digital age.

(More on TIME.com: Is the Web Running Out of Addresses?)

The conversation began as Gumbel explained he wasn’t prepared to “translate” that “little mark with the ‘a’ and the ring around it” that appeared in the e-mail address he was instructing viewers to send feedback to. Gumbel said he thought it meant ‘at,’ but that it “sounded stupid when [he] said it.” Couric, meanwhile, thought the symbol stood for “around” or “about.”

The general confusion led to a bunch of big questions, after which Couric described the Internet as”that massive computer network, the one that’s becoming really big now.”

Newsfeed thinks that Katie might have been on to something there.

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