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Background

Throughout history the introduction of new technology has played an important part in the transformation of social institutions. Technology and economic development in the twenty-first century makes it increasingly important to recognize and appreciate the fact that mankind and its social institutions must keep pace with the ever increasing rate of change.  The impact of technology as a social change factor increases at a rate very similar to what happens when a bellows is pressed together.  If the number of folds per unit distance is compared to the relative impact of increasing technology and the rate at which the bellows is compressed is compared to the rate of increasing technology, then it is easy to visualize that the impact of technology increases at a rate that gives a society an ever decreasing time interval to respond to the change. Since the early 1980s with the launch of personal computers the rate of change has increased significantly, and society has had an increasing difficulty in keeping pace with the changes. The number of new devices made available to society over the last two decades of the twentieth century and the beginning years of the twenty first century is incredible. Each newly introduced device has had an impact on society and given rise to new technology linkages between the growing number of devices and device types. Beyond the physical impact each newly introduced technology has on society there is a linked complex social impact generated. The linked social impact produces what may be fundamental and far reaching social changes in the society as the new technology is integrated into the culture. Each of these new technology linkages further complicates society's ability to adequately respond to the changes.

The traditional response to the introduction of new technology has virtually always been to make an attempt to integrate the new technology in a way that treats the new technology simply as a replacement for an existing technology. One fairly recent example is the introduction of the personal computer in the business office. The personal computer became a replacement for the typewriter, and was used only by personnel that would have a typewriter on their desk. In other words, individuals that would not want to be seen using a typewriter would not want a personal computer on their desk. In a matter of a few years the culture of the workplace changed to enable placement of a personal computer on virtually every desk, but in terms of the magnitude of the numerous other changes introduced over the same period of time the relative length of the transition period was overly long. The point is that it takes a period of time for society to recognize "non-traditional" uses for the newly introduced devices and technology. The closest analog to this phenomenon is in the field of marketing where the term "perceived buying procedure" originates.

Briefly defined, every buying decision is based on a perceived buying procedure that is applied without thinking. There are different perceived buying procedures for different products and services. For example, the perceived buying procedure for the purchase of an automobile is much different than the perceived buying procedure for the purchase of a suit or shoes. Where the perceived buying procedure concept provides an analog for what happens with the introduction of new technology is that when a new product or service comes to market there is no established perceived buying procedure for buyer and seller to use. In such cases both buyer and seller must rely on a perceived buying procedure they have previously used for the purchase of another product or service. Confusion develops when buyer and seller apply different perceived buying procedures, which can create problems for both buyer and seller. In such cases, the absence of good communication causes both frustration and potential for loss by both buyer and seller. Over time buyers and sellers collectively establish a new perceived buying procedure for the new product or service, and this new perceived buying procedure may be entirely different than any of the many perceived buying procedures attempted at the initial arrival of the new product or service. With new technology the easiest thing to do for all when contacting new technology is to fit the new technology into a category most resembling something like the new technology. Sometimes the initial choice may be quite accurate, but in virtually all cases application of any new technology is expanded beyond its initial use. Thus, that personal computer on the secretary's desk has come to be used for much more than a typewriter.

The Internet, which began to reach utilization beyond the academic and defense communities in the mid to late nineties of the twentieth century and more general utilization as a medium for information exchange and selling soon after the beginning of the twenty-first century, is a new technology yet to establish its full use and potential. Like other new technologies that have come to market the Internet found early use in a form that relied on earlier perceived uses for such technology without fully realizing untapped ways to use the new technology. In its present form the Internet still operates in the realm of a child's "show and tell" exercise when it could be operating in the grownup realm of active and integral part of the business workplace. Moving to full implementation of the Community Commerce Center utilization puts the Internet into the grownup realm of being an active and integral part of the workplace.

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