The Invention Of The World Wide Web

1938 Words Sep 18th, 2014 8 Pages
The present society of today embodies a distinct shape, organization, role, and feel from the societies of a millennium ago, a century ago, or even a decade ago. These metamorphoses are, in part, caused by the multiple technological revolutions that our society has experienced throughout its history. Each time a technological revolution occurs—when a novel technology is introduced to build upon or succeed an older one—the entire society (and the individuals that comprise it) changes. However, as Marshall McLuhan suggested within the printed pages of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, “the medium is the message” (McLuhan 1964). In other words, these shifts are not as much the direct result of the invention’s content or it’s use, as they are the outcomes of effects that are intrinsic within the technology itself. Although McLuhan published this work in 1964, almost thirty years before the invention of the World Wide Web, this adage still holds true for the Internet today.
Technologies, such as the Internet, should not be viewed, using the instrumentalist perspective, as inherently neutral tools that are valuable only for their ends, intended purposes, or “practical benefits” (Ellul, Wilkinson, and Merton 1964, Carr 2010, 45). Rather, the means themselves, or what McLuhan would consider the medium, should also be recognized as carrying messages that hold powerful, unintended consequences for society (Ellul, Wilkinson, and Merton 1964, McLuhan 1964). In…

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