Internet predictions study complete


School of Communications faculty member Connie Book has completed her study of Internet predictions for the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Book worked with a team of students and Elon faculty members, including Michael Frontani, to accomplish the research. Students involved included: Tiffany Avery; Shannon Bonnezi; Allison Dieboldt; Eric Kastendike; Kristen Kerr; Jessica Rivelli; Brian Sentman; Betsy Snavely; Erica Stanley; Elizabeth Sudduth; Maggie Sullivan; and Kate Wodyka.

The group's research unearthed hundreds of predictions made in dozens of print sources from 1993, the year when the first commercial Web browser was deployed, to 1995, when a mature Internet system was in place in the United States. Sources included various newspapers and magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Wired, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, Newsday, The Guardian and The New York Times.

During this time, Book noted, predictions were frequently made on how information would change the democratic process, how information would be packaged and sold on the Internet, how this information would change our global relationships and how it could change our economic structure.

"Two of the most influential publications during this time were The New York Times and Wired," Book said. "Both played key roles in informing the community." Also included in the predictions study are statements from one book, Nicholas Negroponte's "Being Digital." It had a great deal of impact, Book said, during a period in which people could only dream about the possibilities of the Internet as it got its start.

Pew Internet Project Director Lee Rainie, a member of Elon's School of Communications Advisory Board, was instrumental in getting this project off the ground. He came to Elon in search of people who could assemble an Internet predictions study that reflects the work of Ithiel de Sola Pool, a visionary researcher who forecast decades ago many of the technological developments which have come to pass today.

The data has been written into a research-paper format and submitted for future publication in a professional journal.



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Last Modified:  2/17/03
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