The Message Is the Medium: Online All the Time for Everyone

By Tom Koch | Go to book overview

the potential for expertise is defined by the number of people who access the conference center.

My father, a misanthrope for 78 years, would have been relieved to know that the views and opinions of every "schmoo" were not indiscriminately saved forever. "Who cares what some other fellow says?" he would have asked. "Why should I want to talk to someone who is no smarter than I am?" We all possess oceans of ignorance. But what he often forgot was that most people also contain deep wells of expertise. The trick is to find the people whose knowledge and experience will help in any given situation, and to ask them for the help all of us, sooner or later, will need. In these pick-up communities, there is an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and experience that can make the difference, quite literally, between life and death, between despair and renewal. Even without the power of the online library, these electronic mail lists and conference center association forums or user groups are an enormous resource.

Chapter Seven looks at several strings from various sources in an attempt to explore more deeply how this system of communication works, and the degree to which the medium of electronic messaging in fact contributes to a person's ability to gain insight and quality data. The next chapter describes the logic of the system at large, and how to find appropriate sites for specific discussions within the vast conference center. Then the online library's ability to answer factual queries is explored, both as a distinct resource and in association with the conference center's many rooms.


NOTES
1.
Thomas Lewis. The Fragile Species. New York: Collier Books, 1992, 18.
2.
John S. Makulowich. "Internet Resources on Alternate Medicine." 1994, available via URL ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub.journalism/altmed.txt.

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The Message Is the Medium: Online All the Time for Everyone
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - The Medium is the Message" and Other Myths of the Evolving, Electronic Age" 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - Old News: The Necessity for Change 15
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - Everybody's Resource: The Knowledge Center 35
  • Notes 54
  • 4 55
  • Notes 75
  • 5 - Finding It: The Organization of Online Material 77
  • Note 99
  • 6 - The Internet: Fact and Context 101
  • Notes 123
  • 7 - Mute Dialogues: Hope and Despair Online 125
  • Notes 146
  • 8 - Virtual" Realities:" 147
  • 9 165
  • Note 184
  • 10 - Quality: Fact and Opinion 185
  • 11 201
  • Notes 219
  • Selected Bibliography 221
  • Index 225
  • About the Author 229
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