Role of the internet


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With the expansion of broadband Internet, connections and progressively more complicated ways of density, new media is fundamentally reshaping our communication atmosphere; though it is the produce of two characteristic sets of equipment. Form one point of view ‘old’ media, from the age of publish through transmit and motion picture have a long reputation corporate practice and are clearly synchronized both in conditions of issues of content and allocation. Issues of possession, selling and allotment are well understood and have decades of authorized precedent demarcating limitations.

On the other hand ‘new’ media, focuses primarily on transformation from analogue to digital, are seen as too recent to have a well-established tradition of regulation and are too different from their predecessors to be easily regulated by older laws. The Internet is a social and economic fabric, created by people for the sake of human communication and interaction. It provides new areas for cultural expression and experimentation in a global socio-economic environment.

Basically it allows for more interactive and innovative ways for people to do what they do in ‘real life’. Thus the Internet is but an extension of human imagination and creativity, a theorist named Lanier, argued that it is “the most precise mirror of people as a whole that we've yet had". However, while the image of the Internet as a mirror is accurate, it is still not a mirror of people as a whole. The fact that only an estimated 5-10% of the content on the Internet is of non-Western origin while the developing world population represents more than half of the world's population indicates how far the Internet is from true cultural and global diversity. This is a serious issue, in view of the potential importance of the Internet for all spheres of life everywhere, and because of the trend for the facility to be increasingly dominated by a few countries and private companies. As the Internet goes global it encounters different cultures, which react to it in different ways. It would be far too simplistic to view this process in terms of ‘cultural imperialism’, assuming that old habits can simply be washed away. What actually happens is, as new users get on-line, a number of new virtual worlds are created. These are a mix of traditional culture and cyber culture, influenced by and adapted to existing communicative practices and value systems. In fact, this is how cultural encounters always take place. People interpret new influences according to existing frames of reference, and accommodate or reject them accordingly, the result of which is a combination of the old and the new, unique to each specific context. In the case of the Internet, one can but expect that responses to on-line behaviour will vary from country to country, each context offering new interpretations of and responses to the world of cyberspace.

Knowledge and information are in the process of replacing labour and capital as the central variables of the western economy: the process of production, consumption and management are becoming increasingly reliant on ‘knowledge generation, information exchanges and information handling’. In this new economy, information is digital based, wired and decentralized as opposed to the old economy where information was paper based, centralized and isolated. Digital based information is gaining value, allowing businesses to recognize and merge to form multi-functional, multi-product corporations spreading across all continents and enabling the formation of increasingly competitive markets. Information has gained value due to the need for companies to increase productivity, reduce costs, be innovative and be forerunners within a market sector. This has led some to suggest that information and communication technologies are forming the corner store of the new economy. Not only that, but they are seen as fundamental ‘agents of change’ in the resulting restructuring of society, infrastructure and the economic landscape. Toffler developed a model whereby he believed that society is seen to advance or progress through a series of technological ‘waves’. The first ‘wave’ was the agricultural revolution, allowing increased agricultural production, stimulating economic growth and increasing the ability to support a large population. The second ‘wave’ was the industrial revolution, leading to increased and more diversified production and consumption, and the development of both capitalist and democratic structures. The third ‘wave’ represents a shift from the industrial era to the postindustrial era. Just as manufacturing replaced agriculture as the dominant economic basis of society, service industries are becoming the dominant basis of economics, replacing manufacturing.

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