How the Internet Has Changed Society Essay

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In the span of just twenty years, the Internet has radically transformed society. The Internet has changed the ways people interact with technology and with each other. The Internet has democratized information, while also revealing some inequities of access. Likewise, the Internet has given rise to the potential for global democratization. At the same time, the Internet has radically transformed the business and marketing landscape. The Internet enables the formation of online communities and new identities, in keeping with trends towards population migration and geographic independence. Finally, the Internet presents new challenges in terms of cybersecurity, terrorism, and national security.

The Impact of the Internet On Society

Increased Dependency on Technology

Just less than twenty years ago, only 4% of the world was online; now about 50% of the world is online (Rainie & Anderson, 2017, p. 1). The number of people using the Internet increases, although penetration is likely to be slower in developing countries with poor infrastructure development. Overall, the Internet has increased dependency on technology at almost every level of society. Governments, public utilities, and all finance and business activities now rely on the Internet, as do media sources. The result has been a proliferation in personal, portable electronic devices and shifts in the ways consumers shop, the ways people travel, and the ways people process information.

The Internet has resulted in increased connectivity across the globe: “humankind is now almost entirely connected, albeit with great levels of inequality in bandwidth, efficiency, and price,” (Castells, 2014, p. 1). Overall, the Internet has had a net positive effect on societies throughout the globe in spite of inequities.
In fact, the Internet is reducing inequities via the democratization of knowledge.

Communications and Information

One of the great legacies of the Internet on society is the democratization of knowledge and information. Knowledge proliferation and knowledge sharing is the hallmark of the Internet (McEneaney, 2015). The Internet also “increases sociability, civic engagement, and the intensity of family and friendship relationships, in all cultures,” (Castells, 2014, p. 1). As population migration becomes increasingly commonplace, the Internet has fostered connectivity between family members who have been torn apart due to migration, and has allowed people from around the world to find unique job opportunities outside their country of origin.

Business and Marketing

The Internet has changed the meaning of communications in marketing and business. As a way of instantly interacting with existing or potential customers, the Internet has challenged companies to change their marketing strategies. The Internet has transformed the ways companies do business, interacting more directly with consumers as consumers have more access to information. Consumers have more information about corporate ethics and social responsibility, which can pressure companies to perform more ethically to respond to consumer demand. Also, the Internet enables consumers to access real-time pricing information, which potentially keeps prices more competitive. Businesses have capitalized widely on the ability to market products and services to customers more broadly and cheaply than ever before, and to reach target audiences and niche markets more easily.

Political Implications.

The political implications of the….....

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Castells, M. (2014). The impact of the internet on society: a global perspective. MIT Technology Review.

McEneaney, E.H. (2015). Finding knowledge on the Internet. Journal of Curriculum Studies 47(6): 802-819.

Piñeiro-Naval, V., Igartua, J.J., Rodríguez-De-Dios, I. (2018). Identity-related implications of the dissemination of cultural heritage through the Internet: A study based on Framing Theory. Communication and Society 31(1): 1-21.

Rainie, L. & Anderson, J. (2017). The Internet of things connectivity binge. Pew Research Center.

Zhang, Y., Tu, B. & Kim, T. (2017). A comparative analysis of internet law in developed countries: implications for China. The Korean Journal of Security Affairs (KJSA) 22(2)

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