Thursday, 8 March 2007

Sociological and ethical impact of Cyber Communities


It is frequently claimed that ‘cyber’ community participation leads to a decline in ‘real’ community participation and that the growth of the Internet as a communications medium has directly resulted in a deterioration of traditional social cohesion within geographically bonded groups of people.

Before evaluation of the statement can begin, it is necessary to define what exactly is meant by the terms “cyber”, “real” and “community”. The Cambridge guide to English Usage describes the term “cyber” as a “1990s prefix / combining form for anything associated with computers and digital communications.... Cyber has proved extremely popular as a means of verbalizing the various responses to the computer age” (Peters, P., 2004, pp136). The term is derived from “cybernetics”, the science of communications and automated control systems in machines and living things.

“Real” is nebulous concept, as it is dependant on the context of its use. In this case it is used in juxtaposition to “cyber”, indicating that it means an absence of electronic or computer aided communication.