In digital communications
media, the vast majority of participants are active creators of information as
well as recipients. This type of symmetry has previously only been found in media
like the telephone. But while the telephone is almost entirely a medium for private
one-to-one communication, computer network applications such as electronic mailing
lists, conferences, and bulletin boards, serve as a medium of group or 'many-to-many'
new forums atop computer networks are the great levelers and reducers of organizational
hierarchy. Each user has, at least in theory, access to every other user, and
an equal chance to be heard.
Mitchell Kapor, Electronic
Frontier Foundation Information, 1993.
The Internet provides universal access, giving the same powerful capabilities
to everyone who has access to
the network no matter where they are.
The Internet is based on a common standard, the TCP/IP
network protocol, which provides all computers with access to the network
with the same technical interface and capabilities. This common foundation
the internet technologies
equally available to anyone
connected to the Internet.
This architecture gives everyone the ability to make information like text,
audio, and video accessible to a world wide audience at an extremely low cost,
since website storage space and lots of bandwidth can be
rented from web hosting providers for
low fees. Because
the Internet has a "many-to-many" architecture, with everyone having the same
capabilities as anyone else, it allows anyone to become a global
The earlier Citizen's Band radio and Amateur Radio technologies provided a
similar ability to share a common space across geographical distances. The
Internet is the current such frontier. You should feel free to approach the
Internet with a spirit of
exploration, and don't need to have a task or a question to answer -- you can surf from
link to link or try random searches just to see what turns up, like exploring
a new city. If you feel moved to set up a website about your favorite hobby,
go ahead. The Internet is universally empowering - everyone can participate.