Movable Distance: Technology, Nearness and Farness

Introduction: Detours on the road to abolishing distance “The frank abolition of all distances brings no nearness… Everything gets lumped together into uniform distancelessness.” (Heidegger, 1971, pp. 165, 166) Heidegger’s remark seems to call attention to the fact that technology’s much celebrated victory over distance fails to deliver everything it promised. While technology might be […]

Weapons of Mass Communication

Is the potential of communication technologies diametrically opposed to that of warfare technologies? If communication is the sharing of meaning, and shared meaning brings about understanding and empathy, then more communication should mean less war, right? In an ideal world, perhaps. But in my more cynic moments, I cannot but see a parallel between the […]

Virtual Freedom and Tolerance: The Perils of Uniform Diversity

Britain’s Mass Observation project consisted of hundreds of people keeping journals of their daily lives in order to generate a sociological snapshot of British society in the 1930s. Today, researchers are probably already undertaking similar studies of our societies by looking at blogs.

Anyone engaged in such research would probably find that our societies are not lacking in diversity. Every ethnicity, ideology, religion and fetish known to humankind is probably represented in cyberspace. But does this diversity translate into more tolerance? Given the general state of affairs in the world, the answer would seem to be resoundingly negative. … more

Online Relationships: Here and Now?

The relationships we form online with people we have never met in “meatspace” are real, to the extent that they involve real social transactions. But what kind of relationships are they? In what ways do they differ from actual (I use the word here to mean the opposite of ‘virtual’) relationships? Can online relationships affect and shape us in the same way?