We now understand the importance of the many forms of communication that have been expanded into a global form by the Internet:
- One-to-one (e-mail is the fastest growing form of one to one communication 7.3
- billion US e-mails per day).
- One-to-many (Internet newsgroups and personal Web sites include over a billion exchanges per day). Many-to-many (Internet chat, Usenet exchanges and a wide variety of exchanges on the Internet are now usual for 50 million people every day).
It seems strange to imagine that it was only five years ago that there was any doubt that 'the new media will enfranchise the individual with more one-to-one communication which will be easy by personal 'phones, E-mail and video conferencing. Or that 'person-to-person-to-machine/database communication will be more important, electronically managed and more global.
This paper, taking relevant experience from round the world (and particularly the USA, where experience is much greater), is written from a UK perspective. Here we see the explosion of access evident in northern Europe and the USA two years ago. At the beginning of 1999, NOP research suggested 10 million people had become regular users of the Internet. Current projections are that, as the new millennium opens this number will have grown to 17 million.
Just two years ago the Netcraft survey counted 1 million Web sites, by April 1999 it was 5 million Web sites. It is driving a knowledge explosion. More knowledge has been accumulated by the Internet in the last five years than in the previous 50 years.