Imagine a place where people interact in business situations, shop, play video games, do research, or study and get tutoring. Now imagine that there are no office buildings, no shopping centers, no arcades, no libraries, and no schools. These places all exist in a location called the Internet - "an anarchic eyetem (to use an oxymoron) of public and private computer networks that span the globe." (Clark 3). This technological advance not only benefits people of the present, but also brings forth future innovations. People use the Internet for many purposes, yet there are three popular reasons. First, there is the sending and receiving of messages through the electronic mail. Second, there are discussion groups with a wide range of topics in which people can join. Finally, people are free to browse into vast collection of resources (or databases) of the World Wide Web.
Electronic mail (e-mail) brings a unique perception into the way of communication. Although, it did not replace the traditional means of communication such as letters and telephone calls, it has created a new method of transmitting information in a more efficient way. E-mail saves time between the interval of sending and receiving a message. Sending an e-mail message halfway around the world can arrive at its destination within a minute or two. In comparison, a letter can take from a few days to a couple of weeks, according to the distance it travels. Furthermore, e-mail is inexpensive. The cost of connection to the Internet is relatively cheaper than that of cable television. Evidently e-mail is both time-saving and cost-effective.
Discussion groups are a great way to interact with others in the world and to expand the knowledge of one's horizon. The response is instantaneuos just like the telephone except it is non-verbal (typed). Discussion groups are on-line services that make use of non-verbal communication in the interest of the user. Services can range from tutor sessions to chat-lines where people just want to mingle. Communication through the Internet is a way of meeting new people. There is no racial judgement in meeting on the Internet because physical appearance is not perceived. However, attitude and personal characteristics are evident from the style in which a person talks (or types). This kind of communicaion helps narrow the gap between people and cultural differences. Communicating in discussion groups sometimes lead to even one-to-one conversations that soon enough become a link to friendship. Connections are being made when people meet each other; therefore, information on interest Web sites can be passed on.
The World Wide Web (WWW) holds information that answers questions to the user. The main purpose of the WWW is to give a variety of information ranging from literature to world geography. WWW contains Web sites that are created by government agencies and institutions to business companies and individuals. WWW carries text, graphics, and sound to catch the interest of people browsing through the different Web sites. These Web sites are being added daily, while the existing sites are being revised to compensate for more updated information and interests. This growth of information will soon become a world library of topics on anything that one can imagine. A person using the Internet for one day encounters more information than a person reading in the library for a whole year. It is the convenience of the Internet that allows a person to go through an enormous amoung of information in a short period of time. This information community can pull the minds' of users closer together, thus making the world smaller.
The Internet is full of people who are requesting and giving out information to the ones who are interested, since "information wants to be free." - Stewart Brand (Van der Leun 25). Hypothetically, if everyone is connected to at least one other person on the Internet, eventually everyone everyone will meet each other. In other words, the world will gradually evolve into a "global village" which can be defined as "the world, especially of the late 1900's, thought of as a village, a condition arising from shrinking distance by instantaneous world-wide electronic communication." (Nault 907). Thus, the Internet is a wonderful tool and medium in which people can interact with the information society. Afterall, information is like the building blocks of technological advancement.
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