Comparative diffusion of the telephone and the world wide web: An analysis of rates of adoption

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


Proceedings of the WebNet `97–-World Conference of the WWW, Internet and Intranet, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Toronto, Canada, p.110–115 (1997)


Computer-Mediated Communication


This paper investigates the diffusion process of the World Wide Web technology by means of a comparison with telephone diffusion at the end of the nineteenth century. The Web technology has diffused at exponentially around the world. In contrast, the telephone technology, a similar innovation of interactive communication technology imbued with typical uncertainty and impedance, took several decades to diffuse. This paper diagnoses the fundamental differences between these two innovations by analyzing their innovation perceived attributes, such as relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability, and attempts to explain the determinants of their rates of adoption.

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