Description: Capitalism's success, according to Karl Marx, is based on continued development of new markets and products. As globalization shrinks the world marketplace, corporations are forced to seek both new customers and products to sell. Commodification is the process of transforming objects, ideas and even people into merchandise. The recent growth of the World Wide Web has caught the attention of the corporate world, and they are attempting to convert a free-share-based medium into a profit-based outlet. To be successful, they must change Web users' perception about the nature of the Web itself. This study asks the question: Is there mythic evidence of commodification on the World Wide Web? It examines how the World Wide Web is presented to readers of three national publications-Wired, Newsweek, and Business Week-from 1993 to 2000. It uses Barthes' two-tiered model of myths to examine the descriptors used to modify and describe the World Wide Web. The descriptors were clustered into 11 general categories, including connectivity, social, being, scene, consumption, revolution, tool, value, biology, arena, and other. Wired articles did not demonstrate a trend in categorical change from 1993 to 2000; the category of choice shifted back and forth between Revolution, Connectivity, Scene, and Being. Newsweek articles demonstrated an obvious directional shift. Connectivity is the dominant myth from 1994 to 1998, when the revolution category dominates. Similarly, Business Week follows the prevailing myth of connectivity from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 on, the competition-related categories of revolution and arena lead all categories. The study finds evidence of commodification on the World Wide Web, based on the trend in categories in Newsweek and Business Week that move from a foundational myth that presents a perception of cooperation in 1994 to one of competition in 1998 and later. The study recommends further in-depth research of the target publications, ...
Date: May 2004
Creator: Robinson, Glendal Paul
Partner: UNT Libraries