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The Internet

Related: blogging - hypertext - instant messenger - interactive - MP3 - web

Toward the end of the 20th century, the advent of the World Wide Web marked the first era in which any individual could have a means of exposure on a scale comparable to that of mass media. For the first time, anyone with a web site can address a global audience. Although a vast amount of information, imagery, and commentary (i.e. "content") has been made available, it is often difficult to determine the authenticity and reliability of information contained in (in many cases, self-published) web pages. [Jun 2006]

After 4 decades of television culture (which was an oral and visual culture), the rise of the internet marks a move to text culture (search, email). [Jun 2006]

Will the internet displace television as a mass medium? No. Television and the internet will merge with functionalities such as messaging brought to television screens and high-speed, real-time video brought to PCs. [Jun 2006]

Think globally, act locally - Rene Dubos, 1972 [United Nations' first international conference on the human environment in Stockholm]


In the general sense, an internet (with a lowercase "i", a shortened form of the original inter-network) is a computer network that connects several networks. As a proper noun, the Internet is the publicly available internationally interconnected system of computers (plus the information and services they provide to their users) that uses the TCP/IP suite of packet switching communications protocols. Thus, the largest internet is called simply "the" Internet. The art of connecting networks in this way is called internetworking. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

Personal and mass medium

As a medium, the The Internet is a mix of mass media and personal media.

Internet democracy

Internet democracy is a derivative term for e-democracy (electronic democracy), especially related to projects and concepts centered on using the Internet (and not other electronic communications technologies like short message services or teletext) for deliberative and participatory aims. Concrete implementations of Internet democracy projects include electronic town hall meetings or citizen consultations, the use of discussion boards on party or candidate websites and the virtualization of traditional political institutions or mechanisms like party conventions, protest marches or petitions.

While some see Internet democracy in its different flavors as the next step towards "real democracy," and as the tool that finally helps to eliminate the distance constraints in direct democracy and increase the degree of interaction between politicians and the public, others compare it with similar hypes which came with every new medium, especially radio broadcasting (Bertolt Brecht's utopia), cable television (teledemocracy) and VCRs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_democracy [Jun 2005]

see also: politics - transparency

My life on the internet

I started using the internet late 1995 and have been hooked ever since. The early days were special. Yahoo!Oct 96 held only about a couple of thousand sites. Every site would link to a dozen others and it would all be wacky and non commerial. This site is built around the principles of those early days. The internet as a rhizome [Deleuze & Guattari], an information source with no beginning and no end, only middle, inbetweenness. [...]


E-mail, or email, is short for "electronic mail" (as opposed to conventional mail, in this context also called snail mail) and refers to composing, sending, and receiving messages over electronic communication systems. Most e-mail systems today use the Internet, and e-mail is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail h2>NSFW NSFW is an internet-famous acronym meaning Not Safe For Work; ie: adult stuff you can't look at from your desk while your boss is around.

Music Industry and Internet Distribution [...]

As we all know, the record industry is blaming the Internet distribution of MP3-files and the copying of their releases with recordable CDs. They fight in the court rooms with Internet distributors, meanwhile trying to convince producers of hardware to furnish their products with copy-protection algorithms. But is it really their music that's being burned by a growing host of young and also older people? --Ger Tillekens


I know what your Inbox looks like, and it isn't pretty. It looks more and more like mine: a babble of come-ons and lies from hucksters and con artists. To find your real e-mail, you must wade through the torrent of fraud and obscenity known politely as "unsolicited bulk e-mail" and colloquially as spam. In a perverse tribute to the power of the online revolution, we are all suddenly getting the same mail. --James Gleick in New York Times Magazine 9 February 2003


Under pressure from privacy advocates, most companies in the collaborative-filtering business pledge not to share information without customersí consent. Even if the trail of your reading history leads your bookseller to conclude that youíre on the verge of buying a new red Porsche Boxster or a blue Gap dress, Amazon promises not to tell the car companies or the special prosecutor. --James Gleick


One of the most contradictory aspects of the incessant attempts to legislate against pornography both on the web and elsewhere (and there are many such aspects, of course) is the inability of the idiot moralizers to grasp a very simple fact about the history of capitalism's technologies. That's to say, it's pretty clear that every communicational technology developed under capitalism (film, photography, the telephone, computers, the mass press, and so on) has historically come to realize its potential by way of its more prurient uses. And as we've seen with the web, this is a necessary prelude to the realization of the commercial functions of those technologies. By and large the moralizers just want to jump from the first stage to the desired second stage, without acknowledging the necessity of the first. -- Paul Smith


  1. Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web - David Weinberger [1 book, Amazon US]
    David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined does not merely celebrate the World Wide Web; it attempts to make a case that the institution has completely remodeled many of the world's self-perceptions. The book does so entertainingly, if not convincingly, and is a lively collection of epigrammatic phrases (the Web is "'place-ial' but not spatial"; "on the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people"), as well as illustrations of these changes. There are intriguing assertions: that the Web is "broken on purpose" and that its many pockets of erroneous information and its available forums for disputing, say, manufacturers' hyperbole, let people feel more comfortable with their own inherent imperfections. At other times the book seems stale: it declares that the Web has disrupted long-held axioms about time, space, and knowledge retrieval and that it has dramatically rearranged notions of community and individuality. Weinberger's analysis, though occasionally facile and too relentlessly optimistic and overstated, is surely destined to be the subject of furious debate in chat rooms the cyber-world over. --H. O'Billovich for amazon.com

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