Internet users interested in particular subjects participate in "on-line conferences" devoted to those subjects. These conferences are collections of messages embodying extended discussions about those subjects. Conferences exist for virtually every subject known to man. On these conferences, one can find unique expertise, experience, information, and sources of advice unavailable elsewhere, conveniently and at low cost.
Some of the most energetic types of conferences are those devoted to current events and political debate. At any time, there is an enormous volume of discussion about the news of the day. Opinions span the entire political spectrum, from far left to far right, and originate in many nations.
Whenever an important event occurs, such as a national election or a major conflict, even a natural disaster, there is an almost "deafening roar" of responses on the Internet. Participants in these international conferences include journalists, professors, political analysts, and politicians.
1. Usenet (one of the Internet's conferencing systems) is a place for conversation or publication, like a giant coffeehouse with a thousand rooms; it is also a worldwide digital version of the Speaker's Comer in London's Hyde Park, an unedited collection of letters to the editor, a floating flea market, a huge vanity publisher, and a coalition of every odd special-interest group in the world. It is a mass medium because any piece of information put onto the Net has a potential worldwide reach of millions.