ISBN: 0-9763857-1-6 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-9763857-2-4 (Hardback)
Publication Date: December 2005
to view the book's table of contents (PDF file).
to view the introduction (PDF file).
to view the book's index (PDF file).
How do you name, describe, or characterize something
that includes the potential to interconnect everyone on the planet?
How do you evaluate or speculate on the significance of a system that
can provide access to any and all types of information, particularly
when that information can be located anywhere and stored in any number
of different ways? Where do you start in studying the effects of
a technology that gave form and meaning to the existence of
virtual communities and instituted entirely new ways for people to
communicate with one another and to share their ideas, feelings, and,
The answers all begin and end with the individual.
No matter how you look at it, all of these questions, and many others
just like them, lead back to you and me. They speak to the role the
Internet has to play in relation to the daily life of the individual
and, conversely, to the role the individual has to play in the daily
workings of the Internet. TCP/IP brought the Internet onto our computers.
But we brought the Internet into our lives and, in doing so, we shaped
the Internet into what we see today.
The Internet is a global computer network, interconnecting
smaller, independent networks located throughout the world, the computers
that compose those networks, and the people who own, operate, and use
those computers. The Internet houses a vast quantity of information that
is both broadly diverse in content and widely distributed in location.
It carries countless messages every minute of every day. It brings
together and engages people in such virtual constructs as interactive
gaming environments and cyberspace recreations of meeting rooms, office
buildings, and entire cityscapes.
The Internet provides equally well for the commercial
needs of corporations, the infrastructure needs of governments, the
community needs of non-profit organizations, and the personal needs
of individuals. It functions as a new realm for commerce, creating
whole new business enterprises, changing the supply and distribution
of commodities and services, and radically altering how many jobs
are performed. It challenges our long-standing definitions of community
and social interaction. It attracts and commands the attention of
the young, the not-so-young, and people of every age in between.
This book explores the Internet's impact, perils, and promise.