Mark R. Johnson


[Interactive Screens]
[Amateur Recording]
[24 Hours]




Part 7. Conclusion

For the most part, webcasting continues to hover around its sibling, broadcasting. Current practice offers very little in the way of interactivity, personalization, time independence, and feedback, all of which are made possible by Web technology. It has been argued that technologies develop in the context of social need. That may well be true in this case -- the technology is there and available, but it is not used. If this continues to be the case, I would argue that it serves as evidence for the subjugation of technology to the social context in which it develops. Nonetheless, my suspicion remains that, in fact, it is not social need that is driving the current development of webcasting practices. My concern is that webcasting exists as it currently does simply because people are continuing to work under old models of broadcasting, without taking the time to thoroughly consider the opportunities offered by the underlying technology. With respect to the larger question "Is the Web just TV?" I would have to argue that, if given the chance, there are a lot of people out there who would make it so, but perhaps at the expense of what could have otherwise been.

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Last modified 5/21/97.