The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

(blogathon 2003)
Media and information services companies have been going ga-ga over the money-making possibilities the Web has opened for them. All sorts of content delivery--from specialized financial news to music downloads to movies on demand--are either currently being offered or are on the drawing board. Also, direct marketing also has several new approaches, promising more targeted audience penetration, thanks to the supporting role of the Internet.

It may surprise the execs at these companies to learn that a lot of the stuff they're trying to push tody was attempted, and even successfully implemented, a century ago via that era's new-age invention, the telephone. The ideas have been around for over a hundred years; it's just the packaging that's different.

United States Early Radio History is a fun site to explore, especially if you like reading about technological history. The site's title is misleading, as it covers other countries aside from the U.S.

All during the dot-com boom, when the Net was being touted as a wholly unique medium capable of things that nothing else before or since could hope to emulate, I kept a skeptical attitude. My basic question to every whiz-bang claim being made was, "What sort of vital information does the Net have that can't be obtained with a phone call?" Especially during the mid and late 90s, this question had a lot of validity. To an extent, it still does.