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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 41. Bulletin Boards, Usenets, Listservs, and Chat


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Content and extension: The content of a bulletin board, Usenet, Listserv, MUD, MOO, or a chat session is the written word in the form of a personal communication to a group, which extends the mind of the sender to the receiver(s).

Cascade: The cascade is from the thoughts of the sender to the spoken word to the written word to the Internet page to the bulletin board, Usenet, Listserv, or blog, and from there to the reader.

LOM: Bulletin boards, Usenet, Listserv, and chats enhance the exchange of the written word, obsolesce newsletters, physical bulletin boards, and communications sent through the postal system, retrieve correspondence and community, and reverse into spam and self-promotion.

A bulletin board system or BBS is a computer running software that enables users to dial into the system over a phone and use a terminal program to perform functions such as downloading software and data, uploading data, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users. BBSs were popular ← 327 | 328 → from the early ’80s to the mid-’90s and were superseded by the Web when the Netscape browser first emerged.

Usenet is a distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP (Unix to Unix CoPy) network of the same name. Users read and post e-mail-like messages (called “articles”) to a number of distributed newsgroups, categories that resemble bulletin board systems...

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