Apr 5, 2010 0
The two articles dealt with virtual ethnicity—what it was and why it was important. Both make points about how the virtual world has the ability to magnify ethnic views or bring together people under a common ethnicity. Poster pointed towards his experience with the Jewish cultural website where he reconnected with some of the tradition which he believes shaped his ethnicity. In the case of McLelland, the focus was on how the internet served as a medium through which to preserve existing social stratifications.
I believe strongly that the Internet has a balance between the ability to do good and to do harm. Put in other words, the Internet seems to be a double-edged sword with respect to social change. The ability to freely communicate or large geographic boundaries and to consolidate information like in the Jewish culture website in Poster relies on individual contribution and the ability of the Internet to disseminate information. The individual contribution combined with others forms a group opinion that is indicative of ethnic viewpoints as well as many others. However, this freedom of communication and tendency to unite under a common banner can lead to mob psychology. In McLellan’s article Channeru-2, individual contributors added to the website until a single rough voice was created: one that espoused disdain towards those of impure blood. The tendency to unite in this way doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. But again, we are back to the original point that the Internet is just a tool for people to express themselves, among other things. The source of the good or bad comes from human personality.