The Internet has an enormous impact on the American Experience. First, It encourages the growth of businesses by providing new ways of advertising products to a large audience, and thus helps companies to publicize their products. Secondly, It allows more Americans to find out what goes on in other countries by learning about other cultures and by exchanging their opinions and ideas with other people worldwide. This may well promote a better global understanding. Finally, by allowing people to access vast amounts of information easily, it will change how they make decisions and ultimately also their lifestyle.
The Internet is a high-speed worldwide computer network which evolved from the Arpanet. The Arpanet was created by the Pentagon in the late 1969 as a network for academic and defense researchers. In 1983, the National Science Foundation took over the management of the Internet. Now the Internet is growing faster than any other telecommunications system ever built. It is estimated that in three years, the system will be used by over 100 million people (Cooke 61).
Since the World Wide Web (WWW or W3) became popular through point-and-click programs that made it easier for non-technical people to use the Internet, over 21,000 businesses and corporations have become accessible through the Internet (Baig 81). These companies range from corporate giants like IBM, AT&T, Ford and J.C. Penny, to small law firms. "With the Internet, the whole globe is one marketplace and the Internet's information-rich WWW pages can help companies reach new customers," says Bill Washburn, former executive director of Commercial Internet Exchange (Baig 81).
Through the Internet, new opportunities to save money are created for companies. One of the bigger savings is the cost of transmission. It is estimated that the administrative cost of trade between companies in the U.S. amounts to $250 billion a year (Liosa 160). Sending an ordinary one-page e-mail message from New York to California via the Internet costs about a penny and a half, vs. 32 cents for a letter and $2 for a fax (Liosa 158).
Hale & Dorr for example, a Boston based law firm, uses the Internet to its advantage. If a client company requests a contract for a foreign distributor, it can send electronic mail over the Internet to a Hale & Dorr computer, where a draft document will be constructed from the text. A lawyer will then review the documents and ship them back over the Internet to the client, including a list of lawyers in the other country (Verity 81).
The ability to process orders quickly has always been an important factor in the business world, especially for mail-order companies. Traditional methods however tended to be fairly expensive. On the average it has cost mail-order companies from $10 to $15 to process a telephone or mail order, says Rodney Joffe, president of American Computer Group Inc. Over the Internet, this cost falls to $4, and it is much faster this way, too (Verity 84).
Advertising on the Internet is another way to endorse products. Hyatt Hotels Corporation for instance advertises its hotels and resorts, and it even offers a discount for people who say they 'saw it on the net (Verity 81).'
Hundreds of computer software companies now have their own Internet sites on the World Wide Web, where customers can get immediate support directly from the experts or buy and register new software online. Even magazine publishers are joining the Internet to regularly publish special Internet versions of their magazines which are read by millions of people worldwide.
The Internet attracts so many companies because they can use it as a tool for communication, marketing, advertising, sales, and customer support. It is not only faster and more efficient than using traditional methods, but it is also cheaper.
The Internet doesn't just promote growth of businesses, it also creates new ways for Americans to get in...
Bibliography: Eddings, Joshua. How the Internet Works. California: Ziff-Davis Press, 1994.
Cooke, Kevin. "The whole world is talking." Nation. July 12, 1993: 60-65.
Verity, John. "The Internet." Business Week. November 14, 1994: 80-88.
Silverstein, Ken. "Paving the Infoway." Scholastic Update. September 2, 1994:
8-10. Liosa, Patty. "Boom time on the new frontier." Fortune. Autumn93, 1993:
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