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The Effects Of The Internet On Society

1350 words - 5 pages

The internet is the social, economic, and political tool of the new age. In its young age, it far surpasses the importance of other forms of communication, such as the telephone, telegraph, television, and newspaper. Not only is the medium capable of essentially eliminating those mediums, it will play an important role in the advancement of civilization. While the majority of issues surrounding the internet are positive, it is important to take a step back and look at what other side effects it has had on society, outside of a communication standpoint. Perhaps the biggest change has come to the political spectrum. The Internet has drastically alter the political landscape by positively increasing participation in political campaigns in Western democracies.
The internet itself is hardly a complex system, when it comes down to the broad spectrum. Simply put, a user opens up their browser and types in an address. That address is changed into a number, which much like a telephone, points to a specific location, or in this case, a specific computer. Once they are connected, that specific computer sends data back to the browser in the same fashion. Many do not understand it, because they are ignorant, unwilling to learn, or incapable of doing so. Perhaps it is for that reason that the younger generation has taken the internet by storm.
Newspapers, radio, and television are all similar forms of media, and in today's world, they are the media of the last generation. Despite the ever-increasing gap between the two, the is only a gap of five years. According to a survey taken by Maier, the average age of the internet respondent was 45 years, while those who said they read the newspaper was 50 (Maier 66). This was in 2005, and it's changed much since then. Logically, however, the number of internet users has likely increased, thanks to the explosion of personal computing after 2005.
Perhaps it's because of the sheer size- something that has always stifled newspapers and television producers. In a paper, there is a physical limit to the amount of information that can be displayed. On TV, there is a limit on the amount of time that every news agency struggles with. The internet, by contrast, is virtually limitless. This limitless environment results in "a positive effect of online news media...[on topics] such as candidate likes and dislikes and candidate issue stance knowledge (Dalrymple 104)". Dalrymple also commented that people who use the internet regularly tend "to make more connections between factual information and to create more 'big picture' ideas and abstract concepts (108)".This finding was not limited to one study. While Dalrymple studied the election in the United States, evidence exists in a study done by De Waal in the Netherlands actually had more compelling evidence. According to her study, "nonpaper news Web sites has a positive impact on the extent of one's agenda (DeWaal 168)."
Newspapers and news-oriented websites are not the only...

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