Introduction: The Need to Communicate
The Internet has become a modern tool of communication, capable of accessing vast amounts of information in a tenth of a second. The Internet evolved because of a need to communicate, but in a very particular way: interactively. As Harold Adams Innis (1994) noted, "changes in communications technology have often accompanied great social change." This has been the case throughout recorded history. As access to the printed page proved to be a powerful revolutionary and evolutionary force in medieval Europe, the Internet has opened up the world of documents to those capable of signing on.
As the Internet becomes more of an accepted part of communication architecture, it creates changes in the way we interact. Yet it is still just a tool, as speaking and writing as communication are meant to be.
Early History: Safeguarding Intelligence
The technological and ideological pieces began to the come together towards the end of World War II, forming the Internet we know today. Although computers were available for use in 1940s, computation was their chief virtue. Portability was only a consideration in regard to transfer of information. In an effort to coordinate vital information, the Allied military and intelligence communities connected computers in the United States and Europe to transmit information across the Atlantic (Stone, 1996, 26).
The use of computers to store information was not new. However, the idea of connecting computer systems in order to communicate highly complex and sensitive information was novel. Cold war politics kept the technological pot boiling. In 1945, Vaneaver Bush, the science advisor to General Eisenhower, came up with the idea of a machine that would not only store vast amounts of information, but also allow readers to link related information (Net hype, 1996).
In 1957, the launching of Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite, spurred the...