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Internet Communication


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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2 Traditional Media and the Rise of Digital Communication Technologies



Traditional Media and the Rise of Digital Communication Technologies

The way we access, deliver, and store our media is constantly changing. Our vinyl records became cassette tapes before becoming CDs. Now, all music is being converted to the current standard, the MP3. The CD format slowly fades from memory as records and cassette tapes are sold to hobbyists at flea markets. The mainstream relies on iTunes, Amazon, and Torrents for MP3s. Our VHS tapes were rendered obsolete by the quality of the DVD before the DVD in turn, and its successor, the Blu-Ray, became bulky compared to the MPEG-4, a digital file viewable on our computers and our phones. Our bookstores are closing as books become downloadable from virtual shops and viewable on compact touch screens as e-books. Our news is now available online for free instead of a dollar fifty from the nearest street vendor. Our magazines and other mail have also transcended the streets, no longer tethered to post offices and postage stamps. E-mail circumvents our mail carriers and delivers birthday cards and love letters direct and instantaneously.

Today, our media are digital, streamed from and stored in virtual clouds and on hard drives. Wireless Internet and Internet-ready devices are increasingly ubiquitous. Consumers are almost always connected or seconds away from being connected. Connected consumers can seamlessly engage and surf vast collections of entertainment and information through software built into their mobile phones, touch tablets, e-readers, and laptops. Digital...

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