[Air-l] Novelty of Internet and activity theory

Yvonne Waern waern at dsv.su.se
Sun Feb 23 13:09:08 PST 2003

I forgot the most important argument: Internet is of course NOTHING 
without human beings USING it. Internet is an artefact that mediates 
between the human subject and our objects (that may be various 
things). As a mediator it changes the activity as a whole. This comes 
from activity theory, very useful, I find.

All the best,

>To be the devil's advocate (or at least a media historian) is what 
>we are describing a difference in kind or in scale? Most of us on 
>air-l are probably aware of the use of the phone (landline, then 
>mobile) and fax for organizing...and I recall reading about examples 
>of the use of audio cassettes and letters for organizing (though 
>obviously on a different timeline). So as I see it there are three 
>fairly obvious things the internet brings that are different than 
>media before it in this regard: One is the internet's relative 
>instantaneity, another its reach to so many people, and another is 
>the inherent "copy-ability" of internet communication (e.g., the 
>ease of forwarding, posting). Which of these matters most, or are 
>they all equal? And what I'd like to know more than that: Is there 
>something else, something about the internet as a medium, that makes 
>it more than a faster/broader medium in comparison to what has come 
>before it?
Yvonne Wærn, Professor em, PhD.
Department of Communication Studies,
Linköping University
SE 581 83 Linköping

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