Who are authors writing on the impact of the Internet as a communications medium?
November 1, 2006 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Who are scholars and/or popular authors writing on the impact of the Internet as a communications medium, specifically those talking about how the Internet removes previous time and/or space biases that are inevitably present in other forms of communication technology (telephone, television, radio, etc.)?

I'm writing a paper on the ways that the Internet is supplanting television as the dominant communications medium in our society. To keep it manageable, I'm specifically comparing TV and the Internet as broadcast methods for video (although I may talk about other forms of "broadcasting" including RSS, blogs, etc.)

The essay's starting point is last summer's Live 8 concerts which caused one reporter to observe: "Television seemed shockingly old-fashioned in how it followed Saturday's worldwide concert for poverty relief. AOL's coverage was so superior, it may one day be seen as a historical marker in drawing people to computers instead of TV screens for big events"

Although my main question is asking for authors writing about how the Internet is fundamentally erasing space and time barriers that exist in communication currently, I'd also be interested in any suggestions of topics/issues/examples to cover. YouTube, the role of "The Long Tail", convergence, copyright and clearance, unsuccessful TV shows gaining large viewerships when released online, costs of production - ie. Rocketboom, the role of memes in online broadcasting are just a few examples of things on my "brainstorm" list.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Jaybo to Technology (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should probably mention that the main scholars we look at in this media studies class are Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, Roger Bird and Jason Carey.
posted by Jaybo at 9:58 AM on November 1, 2006

Julian Dibbell? Douglas Copeland? All the usual blogosphere talking heads? Charlie Stross?
posted by Leon at 10:38 AM on November 1, 2006

Henry Jenkins should be right up your alley. His personal/academic site is very informative, with a great index of previous articles he's written; he also keeps a regular blog that regularly deals with some fascinating issues.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2006

Also, regarding this:

unsuccessful TV shows gaining large viewerships when released online

I wanted to write my senior thesis on a very similar topic, but be warned, I was told it's not easy to track down viewerships numbers for TV shows. The internet side shouldn't be too difficult (especially with YouTube, since the viewcount is right on the page), but TV ratings are difficult to reliably find, and expensive if you want outright access.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 10:47 AM on November 1, 2006

Among others, I'm a fan of Douglas Rushkoff and James Gleick.
posted by box at 11:07 AM on November 1, 2006

Not sure if this applies, but from a fiction standpoint you might consider Cory Doctorow and his book, Eastern Standard Tribe. It's set in a world where people, regardless of geography, associate with a particular timezone and work against each other online. So uhh... web... time... uhh... stuff.
posted by kookoobirdz at 11:17 AM on November 1, 2006

You might check out this book by Thomas de Zengotita called Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way We Live in It. I would also recommend Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good For You.
posted by mattbucher at 11:59 AM on November 1, 2006

The Hollan and Stornetta paper cited here is a good one.
posted by rbs at 12:21 PM on November 1, 2006

If you want a more social science based look at it, try searching for communication without an S. The S implies communication from a humanities standpoint.
posted by k8t at 12:32 PM on November 1, 2006

Give Me That Online Religion by Brenda Brasher is specifically about how people practice religion on the internet, but it may be helpful for your purposes.
posted by lampoil at 1:00 PM on November 1, 2006

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