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Internet Communication

Series:

James W. Chesebro, David T. McMahan and Preston C. Russett

This textbook examines the Internet as a communication system – the single most pervasive, involving, and global communication system ever created by human beings, with a host of political, economic, cognitive, and sociocultural implications. The Internet crosses all cultural boundaries and is the fastest growing global communication system ever witnessed. The text explores the ways in which the technology of the Internet, beyond its specific content, possesses its own message-generating capabilities that dramatically and decisively affect its users. Focusing on the power of media theories, the text explains, describes, interprets, and evaluates the Internet in insightful, useful, and thoughtful ways. The concepts, processes, functions, and outcomes of the Internet as a global communication technology are used as a way of testing the validity and reliability of media theories, and media theories are used as a way of identifying the powers and limitations of the Internet as a communication system. An overview of the Internet’s past and anticipated future is provided
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11 The Pragmatics of Communication—The Internet as a Coherent and Complete Societal System

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11



The Pragmatics of Communication—The Internet as a Coherent and Complete Societal System

The Internet has developed into a complete and coherent societal system. This statement is made in recognition of the Internet’s major position in individual lives and societies as a whole. Nearly every aspect of a person’s life is touched directly or indirectly by the Internet. Nearly everything that can be accomplished physically can be accomplished digitally. Those things in life that cannot be accomplished digitally have been transformed through the Internet.

Within this chapter, we will examine four key areas that have been transformed through the Internet: (1) health care, (2) banking, (3) employment, and (4) education. These areas were isolated because of their prevalence online, their unique qualities, and their fundamental position within society. Many additional areas, some of which will be addressed in the conclusion, are emerging and expanding online. As such, there is little doubt that the Internet will continue developing as a complete and coherent societal system. ← 247 | 248 →

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