The most obvious implications of the shift to digital technologies is the complete loss of material authority: for all of their reproducibility, analog reproductions retained their material status allowing, through careful analysis, for the detection of alterations. As the very concept of alteration is dependent on an original, digital texts and images, because they only become material after-the-fact, never have an original and subsequently never reveal alterations. To change the binary code is to change th thine itself, forever and without a trace… digital reproductions are completely detached from any narrative of progression and at the same time completely dependent on the moments of transmission and reception. As no trace of alterations to the master or original can be detected, the material history of the texts is replaced by the process of production and consumption.
James A. Knapp,
“Essayistic Messages: Internet Newsgroups as an Electronic Public Sphere”