1. A period commonly regarded as having begun with the rise of the internet in the 1990s (although the phrase was coined in Japan in the mid 1960s) which is characterized by the dominance of an information economy, an information society, and (negatively), fallout from information overload.
2. A rhetorical device that tries to grasp the significance of the changes brought about by digital communications by characterizing them as being on the same order of magnitude as the shift from an agrarian society to an industrial one (Toffler).
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