Donna Hoffman:

I believe that the Internet is a startling and amazing revolution that is altering everything from our traditional views of how advertising and communication media work to how people can and should communicate with each other.

Based on what I've seen so far and what I believe could be coming if we get this right, the Internet - the most important innovation since the development of the printing press - has the potential to radically transform not just the way individuals go about conducting their business with each other, but also the very essence of what it means to be a human in society.

Tom Novak and I see the Internet as a computer-mediated environment in which people interact with each other and with computers. In this sense the Internet is a destination.

When we look at the Internet as a market, it turns out to be very different than terrestrial targets of opportunity. It possesses unique characteristics which don't apply in the "real world," and which are beginning to define new ways of thinking about what a market is and how consumers ought to, and do behave while they are visiting there.

The key distinguishing feature of course is interactivity. I think it's very important to realize that this interactivity is not just with other people, but with other computers and their agents. When interactivity is combined with telepresence - a person's mediated perception of an environment - along with multimedia and hypertext, the result is a virtual environment.

But the virtual environment is not a simulation of the environment. Instead, it is an alternative destination in which consumers may engage in activities.

As a media environment, the Web combines elements from a variety of traditional media, yet is much much more than the sum of the parts.

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