The Internet is a complex environment that affords many practices while constraining others. The challenge is to develop languages and tools to critically engage with these environments and to navigate the topology of being a citizen in a technologically mediated environment. This book begins this undertaking. A New Theory of Information & the Internet first documents the historical emergence of the scientific, mathematical, computing, and human communication discussions on information, together with the rise of information as a resource and a commodity. It posits that the contemporary situation has not changed in terms of resolving exactly what information might be as a real thing. What has changed is the idea of information as a resource and a commodity, which has become a cultural trope - a standard way of looking at information. In the process of examining the understanding of information and communication, this book investigates the notion of an informed citizenry and the possibilities of a public sphere/s online within the context of the increasingly ubiquitous place of the Internet in social, informational life.
Mark Balnaves is Professor and Senior Research Fellow in New Media at Curtin University. He is an expert in audience research and has published on the global mapping of audiences, media theories, and research methodology. Michele Willson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University. Her publications on online community, and network sociality include Technically Together: Rethinking Community within Techno-Society (Lang, 2006).