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Internet Studies as a discipline?

Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2005 at 4:27 PM by Andrew Chadwick

The latest issue of The Information Society has some interesting contributions on the theme: 'What is Internet Studies?' Is Internet Studies a discipline, an interdisciplinary field, a fragmented mess, or does it exist at all? [Subscription required to access].

Do we need existing disciplinary lenses to study it, and are some lenses better than others? From my experience of writing Internet Politics, I'd say that the best academic literature on the Internet comes from the (firmly entrenched) disciplines of sociology, political science, and communication.

News Corp's change of heart

Posted on Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 12:39 PM by Andrew Chadwick

This has been rumbling under the surface for some time now, but it seems that News Corp has embarked on what might turn out to be a major acquisition spree. NC was extremely cautious during the late 1990s dotcom boom, but early in 2005, Rupert Murdoch made a few high profile speeches about how he now 'got' the Internet was reshaping news and entertainment media. He now wants to turn the company into an 'entertainment Google' - a first port(al) of call for a young digital generation looking for entertainment content. It's particularly interesting that he places virtual community sites like myspace.com at the centre of this. However, there are also some more obvious moves, like buying Scout.com - a major network of sports sites, or IGN, a gaming network.

As the Guardian article states, in a matter of a few weeks, NC has become the "fourth largest Internet firm in the world" - as measured by page impressions, "behind Yahoo, Time Warner and MSN". It's also likely that we'll see greater convergence of NC's Internet, film studio and television interests (particularly DirecTV in the US and Sky/SkyPlus in the UK) over the coming period.

Update: it seems that convergence fever is spreading, with eBay's acquisition of VOIP software company, Skype. How long before ''Talk with this seller" buttons appear on the auction listings?

Edited on: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 11:45 PM

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