Among all of the essentials for human existence, the need to interact with others ranks just below our need to sustain life. Communication is almost as important to us as our reliance on air, water, food, and shelter.
The methods that we use to share ideas and information are constantly changing and evolving. Whereas the human network was once limited to face-to-face conversations, media breakthroughs continue to extend the reach of our communications. From the printing press to television, each new development has improved and enhanced our communication.
As with every advance in communication technology, the creation and interconnection of robust data networks is having a profound effect.
Early data networks were limited to exchanging character-based information between connected computer systems. Current networks have evolved to carry voice, video streams, text, and graphics between many different types of devices. Previously separate and distinct communication forms have converged onto a common platform. This platform provides access to a wide range of alternative and new communication methods that enable people to interact directly with each other almost instantaneously.
The immediate nature of communications over the Internet encourages the formation of global communities. These communities foster social interaction that is independent of location or time zone.