Laura Sherman: Paper 2

It is 1041 and the Chinese created a printing system with movable type. It is now 1450 and Germany improved on that same printing technique. 25 years later, after the printing press is spread across two hundred countries in Europe, the first English book is published. The Internet on the other hand, even if was created 500 years later, was created to spread a lot of information very far, and a lot faster. Farther and faster then any piece of paper would. The innovation of the printing press lead to mass production of books, posters, and newspapers; while the innovation of the Internet led to much more like emails, social networking, online banking, online learning, and online encyclopedias. There is no question that the printer was the biggest invention of its time period, but when it comes down to it, the Internet most defiantly had more of an impact on the world then the printer did.

Don’t get me wrong it is important to realize that the printing press allowed for many advances in technology, but it is also important to realize that as far as the printing press is concerned it did not impact the world nearly as much as the Internet did. Considering that during its time, about 150 to 200 million copies of books were made by the 16th century, but those books did not make it to everyone in the world during that time. For one, people during this time period still didn’t know how to read, because they were not allowed to learn. Also, there were at least 1 billion people in this part of the world, and if these books were only getting to 150 to 200 million people, not everyone was impacted by the innovation of the printing press. Okay, so the printing press did allow for the creation of posters and newspapers, just as well as books, but the fact that some people were still faced with the problem of not knowing how to read, the information on those posters and in the newspapers were not useful to that population of people. In contrast, the Internet was able to reach billions of people all over the world at a much faster rate.

By 2012 over a third of the worlds population was using the Internet service. Considering that the Internet went from being largely used for emailing, to being used for emailing, networking, learning, banking, and more, the Internet continues to impact the world. Even if the Internet didn’t actually become commercialized until the 1990s, it still was used as a fast and easy way to share information and communicate with others. The printing press on the other hand did not allow for speed. Now printers are fast, but there is still a matter of getting that information out to everyone in timely bases. For example, take a coupon book that gets mailed to your house, verses the coupon that is sitting in your email’s inbox right now. With the printed copy of the coupon that got mailed to you, it was first designed, then thousands of them had to be printed out and then finally mailed to the thousands of recipients on the mailing list. This process can take close to a week or two. However, with the coupon that gets emailed, once the coupon is designed, it can be sent out that same day, or maybe one day later. That coupon gets to thousands of recipients in half the time. This is just one example of how much of an impact the Internet had on the world, how much less time it took to get information out to the public. The Internet can get information out to the general public in less then an hour. Even with how fast the process of the printing press has gotten, it still takes twice the amount of time to get the same information out to the general public.

When all is said and done, it goes without saying that the printing press was a big reason the world was able to expand the way it did. I just don’t believe that it impacted the world the same way the Internet did, mostly because of the time period. During the time period that the printing press was just beginning to grow, many people were unable to really take advantage of what the printing press had to offer. In contrast, Because of the time period that the Internet was just beginning grow; many people had the means to access it. Moreover, because the Internet was accessible to so many people all over the world by the early 1990’s, people all over could easily take advantage of the many uses of the Internet. The Internet was one of the biggest innovations the greatly impacted the world because of its speed and its unlimited availability, and accessibility.


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