Stephen Foley: So many internet users, I've decided to ban them


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The Independent Online

US Outlook Ongoing thanks to my Independent on Sunday colleague John Rentoul, who maintains his ferocious (and ferociously funny) Banned List of clichés and nonsense-phrases that he wants excised from journalists' writing. He is fighting the tide, of course, as more words are bashed out more quickly across more outlets on the web, but we internet users are grateful for what success he is having.

But wait. Internet users? I got a telling off at home this week for using that phrase in my own writing, something it turns out I do often in articles. Who, these days, is not an internet user? Isn't using the phrase as ludicrous as "air consumers"?

I am not alone. The term "internet users" has appeared more than 700 times in UK national newspapers in the past year, and on this side of the Atlantic no less an institution than The New York Times is also addicted; this month it has used the term in articles on Vladimir Putin, South Korea, Google and the US presidential election. (The New York Times, by the way, still capitalises Internet, a touch of fustiness that The Independent abandoned shortly after I joined in 1999.)

But I am persuaded, and hereby add it to my personal banned list. John, will you join me?