Since its inception, the internet has been as much technological as social, practical as ideological in character. This article examines academic discourse and asks how research on the multifaceted internet has evolved over the past 25 years. In order to investigate the formation of this academic field, we collected articles published in major academic journals dedicated to new media and digital communication as well as mainstream periodicals in communication studies over the past quarter of a century. Relying on a combination of (semi)automated content analysis and citation analysis, we find that articles related to the internet and its manifold aspects are cited more often than research on other topics. The literature review suggests that as the socio-material infrastructure of the internet has become deeply enmeshed in society its study has evolved from a niche pursuit to the discipline’s core area of inquiry.
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