Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996
The idea of a utopia at the end of some "information superhighway" is a miserable lie.  A Loan, by John December

Does the Web Replicate Social Imbalances?

Many of my academic colleagues would be quick to point out the naivete of even my question: computer-mediated communication isn't democratizing and equalizing; it tends to replicate social inequalities that were there to start with.

In my own experience on the Web, I know that power doesn't always belong to the meek--indeed, many media and telecommunications organizations which, only one or two years ago, displayed cluelessness about online communication and the Internet, are now entering the online world, and bringing aggressive marketing and influence with them. They are not foolishly trying proprietary networks (like IBM's) or trying to hide the Internet behind a veil of their own corporate gloss (like InternetMCI), or cowering in the suburbs of cyberspace on America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy. Instead, they're here, right in the heart of the Web, and --their influence replicates itself neatly.

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