Few in the world would deny the far-reaching effects of the Internet around the globe. Internet users can surf the same sites the world over--if money and access permit. The Internet reaches an estimated 500 million to 1 billion users worldwide and is expected to generate $5 trillion in e-commerce by 2005.
Staggering though these statistics are, there is criticism of the actual access in developing nations as well as the effects of an increasingly homogenized global culture. At the same time, the Internet is hailed as promoting diversity and intercultural communication at a level never before witnessed in history.
The role of the Internet as a purveyor of globalization is not debated. It is how this globalization is interpreted that is of concern. The term "globalization" has both positive or negative connotations. On one hand, globalization is criticized as Americanization where McWorld reigns supreme, reinforced by the mass media including the Internet. On the other hand, social issues of global concern, such as human rights and even the issue of global monoculture itself have benefited from the sheer number of Internet users. Who can forget the long-circulated e-mail petition in support of Afghan women under Taliban oppression long before the events of Sept.11?
This web site addresses these often-absract issues on a human level. What does the Internet really mean to culture? Is is unifying or divisive?
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Bridget McGrath November 2001