The book’s main thesis is simple: the Internet as a separate reality. This observation appears, on first examination, to be banal yet it offers deeper levels of reflection, ones that direct themselves towards fundamental questions; for these relate to the immediate opposition that is aroused between the digital world and the real. This opposition does not make the explanation of the problem area any easier for it recalls one of the key problems of the twentieth century namely the collapse of certainty with regard to the truth of judgements about the world. This crisis also touched the area of science , striking at the very heart of certainty as personified by mathematics and causing a rapid wave of meta-academic reflection endeavouring to understand afresh the sources of legitimised knowledge or to once again interpret the academic processes in the creation of truth. These matters within the context of digital technology were dealt with in more detail by the author’s previous book: Deus ex machina. The New media and Their Cognitive Design; in the present the Internet constitutes the subject of research, as a specific field of materialisation and the most developed form of these technologies.
The epistemic context still remains, however, the first and most fundamental basis and starting point for enquiries, while among those others - methodological questions appear to be especially urgent. The real-digital alternation problem manifests itself already at the operational level as an absence of appropriate research tools. For there arises the question as to what scientific instrument is able to comprehend the reality subjected to the Internet, given that the subject literature constantly attests to its complexity and diversity, and also to its complicated links with various fields of analogue life. The book finds solutions within humanistic management that enables interdisciplinariness and bases itself on meta-theoretical reflection (epistemological) and attempts to preserve linkage with the world of real phenomena under the threat of disintegration. The last postulate of maintaining the pragmatic presence of praxis as the background for the conducted analysis is one of the most important factors in the work, allowing for it to be treated at the same time as a form of handbook.
The category of environment has been proposed within the framework of the selected discipline as a fairly spacious container of content while simultaneously maintaining a strong link with the wave of social, political and technological phenomena carried by the latest wave of the Internet so called Web 2.0. This phase was symbolically commenced in 2005 thanks to Tim O’Reilly’s publication based on the rapidly developing technology and its commercial application. This introduced its own mechanisms of management within all the areas of organisational functioning connected with the Web. New principles for the presence of client/user and models of business activity were formed. These changes occurred simultaneously with broad social and political processes, ones reconstructed under the influence of the developing Internet, which further influenced and influences a wider context of organisation functioning. In this part the basic inspiration was drawn from David Baron’s handbook entitled Business and its Environment.
The present book presents a detailed analysis of the entirety of the phenomena and the changes connected with Web 2.0 and brought about by them, starting from the effects identified by Tim O’Reilly, supplemented by their most up-to-date continuations such as cloud processing and other lesser known concepts. Simultaneously it tries to preserve a wide perspective, one already introduced by O’Reilly, covering technological, business, economic, social, political and cultural questions. With this aim in mind it has been divided into two parts. The first is devoted to general matters connected with the Internet. It contains an introduction to the principles of Internet economics, allowing the use of the category of environment. This category is subsequently used for the needs of analysis and is broadened in scope, in which a certain natural historical trend in the sciences on management finds its realisation. Its extensive nature forces the Internet to be viewed as a weave of the three main groups of beliefs as to its essence: concentrating on the technological current as the most significant source of its dynamics; convictions that have the character of free mythicization, functioning however as real social forces and convictions interpreting the Internet as an expanse for the realisation of economic, social and political phenomena. In this situation it appears as a complex conglomerate, slipping outside of the typical research tool and demanding the introduction of a more general and abstract point of view. This conclusion is supported in the first part by extensive descriptions of the context in which it was born: the cultural (equally the counter-cultural) and the economic (of a global scale and concerning certain fundamental questions within this field).
Part two of the book attempts to provide arguments taken from the area of the functioning of the latest phase of the Internet that is to say Web 2.0. With this aim it analyses in detail all the practical realisations of the technological solutions that have occurred, in the order proposed by the first text devoted to this formation, the article by Tim O’Reilly entitled What Is Web 2.0, Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software of 2005. This part constitutes an exhaustive review of these solutions and also of the models of management resulting from them, of the economic and social effects as well as the business strategies used. It is therefore a pragmatic review of the reality of Web 2.0, fulfilling two aims: proving the complexity of the conglomerate that the Internet became, supported in particular on matters of a commercial character as well as the supplying of, if possible, a complete, textbook knowledge of the subject. This is accompanied as widely as possible by an examination of the subject literature on both individual topics as well as those with holistic ambitions, and equally hundreds of examples drawn from the Web. The book is a supplement to the Website run by the author, which contains much additional information and offers a Web platform allowing one to utilise (and illustrate) the tools and possibilities of Web 2.0.