The Internet: An Introduction to New Media

The Internet: An Introduction to New Media

The Internet: An Introduction to New Media

The Internet: An Introduction to New Media

Synopsis

Life without the internet, a very new technology, seems almost unimaginable for most people in western nations. Today the internet is intrinsic to media and communications, entertainment, politics, defence, business, banking, education and administrative systems as well as to social interaction. The Internet disentangles this extraordinarily complex information and communication technology from its place in our daily lives, allowing it to be examined anew. Technology has historically been shaped by governmental, military and commercial requirements, but the development of the internet is increasingly driven by its users. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and many other emerging applications are shifting the way we express ourselves, communicate with our friends, and even engage with global politics. At the same time three-quarters of the world's population remain effectively excluded from the internet. Packed with case studies drawn from around the world, The Internet presents a clear and up-to-date introduction to the social, cultural, technological and political worlds this new media form is creating.

Excerpt

This book explores the internet as an introduction to new media. It does so by looking backwards to examine the history of the internet, and by looking forward to its emerging future. It draws upon current evidence from around the world to illustrate different aspects of internet use as these reflect a range of social, political and economic circumstances. It uses case studies, many based on new research, some of it unpublished, to reveal important aspects of the internet for comment and analysis. While the internet is too big a subject for any book to provide a complete review of its past, present and future, insights from case studies provide a series of snapshots which taken together create a broad picture of the contexts of internet use and illustrate what is happening, how and why.

The Internet (as) An Introduction to New Media examines the internet as itself, but is also a way of examining our everyday lives through our uses of the internet, and linking the internet with aspects of other new media. Many changes wrought by new media swiftly make their way into popular culture, both reflecting and building the excitement about new possibilities. Old media – the press, radio and television – discuss the innovations, and new media become the central element of novels and films. One example of this, within a popular culture context, would be the film You've got mail (Ephron 1998).

The type of context chosen is itself important when considering the internet, since a historical context will provide different information, and raise different questions, compared with a social context, for example. The diverse range of case studies covered in this book makes a number of different contexts visible. These include the way that the internet is used in everyday western life, as well as its technological, political, economic and global contexts. What becomes clear is that the internet, like other new media, is a site of constant reinvention. It has energised creativity, collaboration and novel models for commercialisation. At the same time that the internet makes possible new ways for us to seek information and relate to others, it also offers another technological medium through which individuals and societies can express themselves and their priorities.

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