What is a website?

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Good question!

What is a websiteIf you don't really know what the Internet or a website is, don't feel bad. It's really incredible how many people who have websites don't have a clue what it is or what to do with it. They just got one because they heard it's the latest thing or were convinced by their staff or technical consultant to get one. To find out what it really is read on, if you already know all about websites then this article is not for you, please continue with what you were doing.

In its simplest form a website is merely a medium for communicating. This concept doesn't seem like anything new, does it? If this is true then why do we see so much fanfare about this thing called the Internet and websites that don't seem to give us anything that we do not already have?

Ever since man learned how to communicate with fellow inhabitants we have continuously developed different mediums to expand this concept of communicating with each other. We have found that each new method will give us different capabilities that may have been lacking in previous methods. We first developed gestures and sounds that gave us the ability to express basic human needs and emotions.

The next step evolved to the creation of words that were spoken. Then pictures that were drawn to express concepts and the pictures would remain or be persistent after a spoken word would diminish after just the instant that it was spoken. Written words would come next and now we were able to express very long and complicated information that the mere picture was not able to do. Written language also had the ability to be portable. The words of one person could be written down and then delivered to another great distances away. We also learned to improve our capability to express information in the form of images also. In the form of artwork included with the written word and then finally pictures or photographs. We also discovered that some communicating did not lend itself well to the newly recorded writing method.

We discovered that the way that things were communicated could be just as important if not more important to the true message as was what was said. Music and performances were not well represented by the written communication. We then discovered ways of representing the actual waves that were generated by music and speech. At this point we were now able to speak, record images and duplicate sound waves.

The next limiting factor involved the portability of this information. We wanted to be able to move the information more rapidly from one place to the other. We discovered new ways of moving our information. The telegraph was developed, radio was created, the telephone put into place. Television had a major impact on our ability to communicate. We invented fax machines and computers. Communication is now growing at an ever increasing pace.

Even with all of this we have still discovered limitations. To communicate inexpensively we still needed to bring the communicator and the communicant together at the same time. To make our communication sessions persistent required a monetary investment. This investment could make some information cost prohibitive. Another drawback to persistent information is that it is static in nature. Once information is created and disseminated changes require a reinvestment. The real expense in information change is the dissemination method. All of the books must be reprinted, catalogs, video tapes, etc. Consequently, change is not an easy thing to do. The problem stems from the way we disseminate information. This is where the Internet comes in.

All along we have been storing information and disseminating it using atoms. That is to say we are storing our communications on physical, tangible mediums. What is revolutionary about the Internet is the way that we store and disseminate information, we use an intangible medium called bits. A bit is a non physical, reusable, storage medium that is capable of representing written word, images and sound representation. A bit can also travel at the speed of light from one location to another and it has persistence until it is changed. Now we only need to maintain the original master copy of our information and dissemination is a copy of the master at that instant in time. What's so great about the Internet, bits versus atoms.


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