Digital Cultures & Online Communities

Essay by ZiadeCollege, UndergraduateC+, March 2007

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With the advent of digital technology, contemporary communications and media culture have been forever altered. This new technology presents us with many implications for modern society, including the emergence of digital cultures and online communities. Digital media, especially the internet, has had a massive impact upon our society that has resulted in the formation of online communities as well as new forms of social and cultural identities within the virtual space.

Consequently, the formation of these online communities within virtual space has lead to an increase in social interactivity. Online communities are now a primary source for communication as the internet provides a safe environment for individuals, which is independent of geography and easily accessed by all. Due to its anonymous nature, the internet also enables the individual to express certain aspects of themselves they may suppress in their daily lives. The convergence of these social impacts has subsequently lead to the development of a new culture, a digital culture.

One of the most prominent aspects of this culture is its language, or rather how the English language has been translated into this digital environment, which emphasizes a more visual element and unique speech patterns. In order to fully understand the social impacts of this technology it is necessary to explore existing literature on the topic (limited as it may be), critically analyzing the impact that the internet has had within western society.

The internet has revolutionized communication and information technology as it is a medium to which millions world-wide have access to and is capable of transmitting virtually any data or information on a global scale. As Tamara Villarreal Ford and Geneve Gil note with respect to radical internet usage: "…the internet is the first medium through which individuals and independent collectives throughout the globe may hope to communicate,