An Introduction to the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication
This chapter addresses how the Internet and computer-mediated communication have affected and will continue to affect our lives. Dimensions of media and their attributes are discussed and a model about social complexity and the degree or level of interdependence as it pertains to cyberspace and other media is presented. Additionally, issues of virtual reality are discussed. Finally, how these developments may lead to a new virtual institution is outlined and a model is presented. The chapter is a primer for the uninitiated and is essential for most readers, because everything that follows presumes this knowledge (cf. appendix A).
This book is an attempt to depict some of the development and status the Internet has gone through. Issues, past and future developments, forecasts and ideas are presented and discussed. The book's primary focus is on information technology and end-user computing, global networks and, in particular, computer-mediated communication (CMC). The Internet is not one place or one company. It is a descriptive term for a web of thousands of interconnected broad- and narrow-band telephone, satellite, and wireless networks built on existing and planned communication technology. This infrastructure is a network of networks, reaching out and connecting separate islands of computer, telephone, and cable resources into a seamless web. It connects businesses, governments, institutions, and individuals to a wide range of information-based services, ranging from entertainment (e.g., pay-per-view movies, online music videos), education, and culture to data banks,