Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, and Culture

By Andrew F. Wood; Matthew J. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
UNDERSTANDING HOW NEW COMMUNICATION
TECHNOLOGIES WORK

Websites are like shifting sands. The average life of a Web page is 100 days. After that either it's changed or it disappears. So our intellectual society is built on sand.

—Brewster Kahle (cited in Marks, 2002)

The history of the World Wide Web is written in scientific papers, hastily scrawled designs, and the shifting sands of digital papyrus. If s no wonder that one site seeking to archive every web page created since 1996 resides in the new Library of Alexandria, the location of an ancient collection lost to the ages. With its sister sites located in California, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine allows you the chance to sift through 10 billion web pages, including a growing number from the “ancient” Internet, before the dot-bomb implosion, when folks first began to craft simple web pages with an easy-to-learn language called Hypertext Markup Language. Visit the Wayback machine, typing in the address for MSNBC, and you might peruse the news when Bill Clinton was president. Visit Yahoo from 1996 and a far simpler World Wide Web than you'll find today. Why would you want to? For the same reason that you might investigate the history of the printed word or television. Innovations offered by these media profoundly altered the ways in which we communicate our perceptions about our selves, our relationships, and our world. Fortunately, it's easier to learn about the history and basic functions of online communication than it is to thumb through a Gutenberg Bible.

This chapter offers a bookend of sorts to the previous chapter's introduction to the role of computer technology in human communication. Having introduced the tools of CMC, both functional and metaphoric, it is appropriate that we examine more closely how these tools work. In this chapter, we place computer technology in an historical context, surveying the emergence of online communication from the perspective of cybernetics. We then step beyond chapter l's exploration of mediated and immediate communication to overview five qualities that distinguish Internet technology from other forms of communication: packet-switching, multimedia, interactivity, synchronicity, and hypertextuality. These functions help explain how CMC works to blur the distinction between mediation and immediacy.

Throughout this chapter, we approach computer technology as important—critical, even—to understanding the whirlwind of changes affecting the ways we communicate with friends across the street and strangers around the globe. But before we go further, it is important to remember that human communication cannot be explained by

-29-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, and Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 245

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.