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What has the Internet changed?
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11:01, August 18, 2009

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This is an interesting but challenging question.

After searching through material, consulting experts, crosschecking and thinking, we come to the following conclusion: the world is no longer the one it was before and human beings are not what they were before, either.

Everything is changing.

Internet changes everything.

And the changes have secretly started with the media.

Thanks to Internet, the one-way and narrow "media-audience" era has been changed into an all-around one in which "everyone has a microphone".

The interesting thing is: when the Internet first came out it also became a media outlet. Network news has two characteristics—large in quantity and quick in speed, which lead people into a brand new "sea of information". With the emergence of people.com.cn, sina.com.cn, sohu.com, 163.com and xinhuanet.com, the public suddenly found that the release of news was no longer subject to constraints of layout and time, and information search could be so convenient. Therefore, more people got used to browsing news online.

Given these advantages, internet was officially declared to be the fourth media following television, broadcast and newspaper by the United Nations Committee on Information. It brought a revolution to the traditional media, reforming the mode of transmission and creating new platforms. It has changed both the disseminator and the audience.

This trend is still thriving. The latest investigation by CNNIC in July shows at present 84.3% of netizens regard the internet as an important channel of acquiring information.

Nevertheless, bigger and more profound changes came after the emergence of web 2.0, the interactive technology.

With web 2.0, a wave of new things including blog, podcast, RSS, SNS and Twitter successively came into being, becoming new channels for people to release and search information besides portals.

Along with them, people's habits of receiving and releasing information changed. They were no longer passive audiences but actively participating in the process.

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