24 Hours in Cyberspace

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24 Hours in Cyberspace (February 8, 1996) was "the largest one-day online event" up to that date, headed by photographer Rick Smolan.[1] "The project brought together the world's top photographers, editors, programmers, and interactive designers to create a digital time capsule of online life."[1]



24 Hours in Cyberspace was an online project which took place on the then-active website, cyber24.com (and is still online at a mirror website maintained by Georgia Tech).[2][3] At the time, it was billed as the "largest collaborative Internet event ever", involving thousands of photographers from all over the world, including 150 of the world's top photojournalists.[4][5] Then Second Lady Tipper Gore was one of its photographers.[6] In addition, then Vice President Al Gore contributed the introductory essay to the Earthwatch section of the website.[7] In this essay, he discusses the impact of the Internet on the environment, education, and increased communication between people.[8]

The goal was not to show pictures of websites and computer monitors, but rather images of people whose lives were affected by the use of the growing Internet. Photographs were sent digitally to editors working real-time to choose the best pictures to put on the project's website.[3] The website received more than 4 million hits in the 24 hours that the project was active.[9]

24 Hours in Cyberspace served as a cover story for U.S. News and World Report.[10]

The project reportedly cost as much as $5 million, and was funded with assistance from 50 companies, mostly in the form of loans of computer hardware and technology experts. Adobe Systems, Sun Microsystems and Kodak were listed as major supporters.[9][11]


A companion book was published in 1996. It contains two hundred photographs from the over 200,000 which were taken on that day. It also contains a CD with the full contents of the original website.[12][13]


A photographic exhibition was unveiled at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on 23 January 1997, featuring 70 photos from the project.[14] It was introduced by then Vice President Al Gore [15][16] who was also given a copy of the book and CD.[1]

The exhibit is "now included in an historic collection which includes the original Star-Spangled Banner and the slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz."[1]


  • Smolan, Rick and Jennifer Erwitt. 24 Hours in Cyberspace:Photographed on one day by 150 of the world's leading photojournalists. Que Macmillan Publishing, 1996.


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