Happy Birthday: Still Wired At One

WHEN WIRED MAGAZINE debuted, it was billed as a Rolling Stone for the computer generation. A year later it appears to have achieved just that. The paper version of the magazine is a required accessory for about 110,000 technotrendies--along with a color PowerBook and access to "the Net." Wired also reaches thousands more readers online, through America Online and the Internet.

It turned out to be the perfect year to launch a magazine about the dawn of the digital age. "Multimedia" was the most overused buzzword of the year, followed closely by "interactivity" and "the Information Highway." Wired, which went monthly in November, had its own take, with "Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton proclaiming traditional mass media the new dinosaurs. Sonic the Hedgehog was Wired's "man of the year." Other offbeat features include regular reports from the Net, such as translations of the acronyms that punctuate cyberchat. (Sample: TPTB, or the powers that be.) But while Wired may be hot, some of its predictions were not. In the premiere issue, author/provocateur Camille Paglia was touted as "possibly the next Marshall McLuhan." Instead, her 15 minutes of fame ended sometime in March. In that same issue, Wired also picked 3DO's "interactive multiplayer" as the game machine to beat by Christmas. But delays in 3Do software development made rivals Sega and Nintendo happy cybercampers at the end of the year. Editor Louis Rossetto is unfazed. "If we haven't made a lot of mistakes," he says, "we're doing something wrong." In other words, you can't make sparks without crossing a few wires.