Thursday, February 11, 2010


Before I get started on this post, I just want to put it out there that I don't have my book on me, so I won't be able to reference the exact article until later, so I'm going to have to make a few changes later on. But here goes anyway.

I've been finding the Communication and Cyberspace to be an interesting read because it has been a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. What I found to be an especially interesting entry was the one that discussed the history of the internet, how it began with ARPAnet, which was soon rivaled by USENET NEWS. This took me back to the early days of my internet usage, where a lot of my online time was spent on these groups. Online bulletin boards were still in their infancy, so these groups served as a decent area for group discussion. As popular as these groups were and how significant they were to the development to the modern internet, I think it's very interesting to see that newsgroups have more or less disappeared from the internet. What was once an alternative, the independent message board seems to have evolved to the point where it has rendered the USENET groups more or less obsolete. Why go to (an old favorite of mine) when there are plenty of other wrestling websites to go to?

As far as I know these groups have been archived by Deja, which was later bought by (who else?) Google, and still seem to be archived to an extent as Google Groups. People can still pull up old posts and continue to join in discussions, but people now seem much or prone to use forums on websites rather than these outlets. It's also interesting to look at as how technology becomes more sophisticated on the web how many other once popular outlets go away. IRC attracts an even smaller niche than before, and FTP sites have been done away mostly by P2P and Torrent sites. Even AOL Instant Messenger, a program that everybody and their mother seemed to use, is becoming less frequently used on the internet (right now it seems as though Facebook chat is the preferred means). Although these old forms of communication will probably never go away, it's definitely interesting to see how newer web technologies have absorbed and even replaced them. Even one of the first and most important forms of internet communication has been swept up in this.


  1. It's also important to realize that what some people think of as new is not all that new. The recent buzz about social media in relation to Web 2.0 tends to ignore the fact that the internet was, initially, almost entirely a social medium with interpersonal channels and virtual communities, until the introduction of the World-Wide Web shifted the focus to one-way communication, until social networking shifted the emphasis back again.

  2. Mike,

    I have recently been thinking about the way that I once used the internet to communicate, and how AOL Instand Messenger, and services like that dominated my communication about 6 or 7 years ago, and how that technology seems almost obsolete to me now.

    Cell phone technology has definitely taken away from those older forms of communication, seeing as almost everyone now has text messaging or email on their person at all times. I don't think it has disappeared, but has shifted into the hand held device. Texting now replaces AIM, email perhaps replacing beloved chat rooms. It's more pratical than having to log onto your computer, and have to stay in the sme place to have a conversation with a person. The mobility of communication through the medium is what people want right now.


    I agree with what you say as well. I do think that social networking is becoming a power in the internet bringing back the "two way" mode of communication that the internet first intended. My problem with social networking today is that I feel it is going to replace all conventional inter-personal communiation. Some view it as convenience to get a message across to a mass audience all at once, but I think it is taking away from relationship building. The direction it is going mostly concerns me with younger generations being brought up just knowing technology and not "what it used to be like." Their dependence is frightening.

  3. Your concern is well taken, and that was a concern earlier on with the internet, as some of the authors in Communication and Cyberspace make clear.