TWO DECADES OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB: BREAKTHROUGHS AND EXISTING BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION

Gitta Johnson, Andrew Munford

Abstract


Toward the end of the 20th century, the advent of the World Wide Web marked the first era in which most individuals could have a means of exposure on a scale comparable to that of mass media. Anyone with a web site has the potential to address a global audience, although serving to high levels of web traffic is still relatively expensive. This paper is a systematic review that explores the evolution of the internet and its numerous deployments. It is noted that the rise of peer-to-peer technologies may have begun the process of making the cost of bandwidth manageable. Although a vast amount of information, imagery, and commentary has been made available, it is often difficult to determine the authenticity and reliability of information contained in web pages (in many cases, self-published). It is equally noted that the invention of the Internet has also allowed breaking news stories to reach around the globe within minutes. This rapid growth of instantaneous, decentralized communication is often deemed likely to change mass media and its relationship to society.


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