What is the true weight of the Internet?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

How much does the Internet weigh? It depends on who you ask. According to one calculation, the information that comprises the Internet weighs little more than a single grain of salt. Other estimates put it at closer to the weight of a strawberry.

How does one even go about calculating the weight of the Internet? Simple: you weigh the electrons that it uses to move information. Every website, blog post, meme, torrent, picture and email you ever created or consumed via the Internet was transmitted via electrons. Add all those electrons up (at 9.1 x 10-31 kg apiece), and you get about 2 ounces.


So why should you care that the Internet weighs next to nothing? Well, strictly speaking, you shouldn't — because as NPR's Robert Krulwich points out, the true weight of the Internet is measured not by electrons, but by ideas:

You can weigh the Internet till you are blue in the face, but the grams won't tell you anything important.

The Internet connects people. What it is doesn't matter. What it carries, that matters. Ideas aren't like chairs or tables. They have their own physics. They make their own weight.

So the Internet weighs about as much as a strawberry? It can still stop tanks.

Ask yourself: How much does "of the people, by the people, for the people" weigh?


Read the rest of Krulwich's post over on NPR.

Top image by andi.vs.zf