What is the Internet?

According to the Pew Research Center in 2002, the Internet is a textbook, reference library, tutor, study shortcut, study group, guidance counselor, locker, backpack and notebook.

The students employ five different metaphors to explain how they use the Internet for school: The Internet as virtual textbook and reference library, as virtual tutor and study shortcut, as virtual study group, as virtual guidance counselor, and the Internet as virtual locker, backpack, and notebook.

In the videos “The Machine is Us/ing us” and “Information R/evolution” as well as “A Vision of Students Today,” Dr. Michael Wesch from Kansas State University describes the Internet as a revolution in how we think about education, communication, participation, community, identity and culture.

On June 23, 2008, Dr. Wesch presented “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” at the Library of Congress. The video is close to an hour long, and it discusses several dimensions of society that are transforming with the Internet.

In the video, Dr. Wesch refers to the book Bowling Alone (about the collapse and revival of the American community) and begins his presentation by talking about Kevin Kelly, (who is currently writing a book online about the developing internet).

I went online to find the August, 2005 article “We Are the Web” by Kevin Kelly, which briefly appears in “The Machine is Us/ing us” video by Dr. Wesch. I found several points that illustrate compelling ideas about the nature of the Internet.

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