What is the Web good for? How is the web different from other forms of media? How is it better? How is it worse?
These are all questions that have arisen during the past 40 years as the Web has emerged to become what we know it as today. But, how does the Web affect traditional media and how we as consumers get our information?
The Web might not have any unique characteristics, because it’s a medium that has adopted characteristics from all other media. Let’s explore a few. The Web allows us networking and communication. One of the first, central ideas of the Internet was that it would allow us to talk to anyone, anywhere at any time. No longer would we be restricted to time zones, location, etc. For the first time ever, anyone around the world with access to a computer could instantly connect with someone else thousands of miles away.
Another strength of the Web is its role as a leader in multimedia. With TV and movies now available on the Internet, watching the tube and heading to the movie theatre has lost some of its allure. Think about it, in an instant we have access to news, weather and entertainment all in a visual form of communication that’s easy to understand and entertaining!
Another aspect of the Web that makes it arguably stronger than any other form of media is its ability to house knowledge the whole world wide and deep! Where else can you gain access to information about art, history, geography, literature (and the list goes on!) in one place? No library, no university is big enough to compete with the database we have in the Internet.
These are just a few of the things that give the Web a strength no other medium can compete with. We have come so far in this media-driven world; sometimes it’s hard to remember where we once were. It’s important this year as we celebrate 40 years of the Internet to remember the knowledge and information the web has allowed us at our fingertips, or maybe with just a click of the mouse.
Submitted by Brynne Tuggle, a student in Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s Program.