When asked whether greater use of the Internet has a good or bad influence on various aspects of society, general populations in 32 nations say this trend has a good influence on education, as well as on personal relationships and economics. People are more doubtful of the Internet's impact on politics, and morality in particular. However, those who have access to the Internet and the highly educated are more likely to say the Internet's growing use is a good influence.
We now understand the importance of the many forms of communication that have been expanded into a global form by the Internet:
It seems strange to imagine that it was only a few 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.