Techne 14 (3):237-251 (2010)
The Internet, as it exists today, is an outgrowth of the late 1960’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. During the 1980’s, the National Science Foundation established a high-speed, high-capacity network called NSFnet connecting many universities and government agencies. Finally, with the creation of the World Wide Web and the development and diffusion of inexpensive, reliable and easy to use public Internet access, electronic information technologies connect an increasingly large portion of the population. As a result, the communities with which we are all familiar, communities based on geographic proximity, have changed. These sorts of changes raise many interesting but difficult questions. This paper focuses on two of those questions. First, what does the increasing use of and reliance on electronically mediated communications portend for our understanding of human communities, and second, what sorts of socio-political concepts and relationships best characterize the new “virtual community”?
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