Marshall Poe says that “the Internet changes nothing”:
The media experts, however, tell us that there really is something new and transformative about the Internet. It goes under various names, but it amounts to “collaboration.” The Internet makes it much easier for people to do things together. Look, they say, at email discussion lists, community blogs, auction sites, product rating pages, gaming portals, wikis, and file trading services. Collaboration abounds online. That’s a fair point. But “easier” is not new or transformative. There is nothing new about any of the activities that take place on the aforementioned sites. We did them all in the Old World of Old Media. As for transformative, the evidence is thin. The basic institutions of modern society in the developed world—representative democracy, regulated capitalism, the welfare net, cultural liberalism—have not changed much since the introduction of the Internet. The big picture now looks a lot like the big picture then. . . .
Following this logic, let me also affirm that the printing press changed nothing: sure, it made making book easier, but “easier” is not new or transformative. People wrote and read books before the printing press, and they continued to write and read them afterwards. What’s the big deal?
Similarly, the internal combustion engine changed nothing. Before it was invented, we went to Grandma’s house, and even traveled from New York to Chicago — it just took a little longer. And “faster” is not new or transformative, you know.
I could go on for a while. . . . But in all seriousness, Poe makes some good points along the way. He’s just generating page views with an outrageous thesis. I bet he also advocates using federal municipal bonds to forcibly bus known Communists into your homes to Kill your puppies!