THE INTERNET GIVETH AND THE INTERNET TAKETH AWAY
entities that are not proper communities. The second is the positive position that thesetechnologies make new communities possible and
help reinvigorate or enhanceexisting offline communities.
(Thurlow, Lengel, and Tomic, 2004, p. 108) The problemwith both of these is that they tend toward reductionism and idealizing either offline or online communities. In the negative position the Internet is viewed as an evil entityaccused of contributing to the decline of society -
while you sit chatting with your cyber-buddies, the people next door may be being robbed and a house a block away isburning down!
(Thurlow et al, 2004, p 110) Couldn
t the same unfortunate situationsoccur if you were sitting in your living room chatting with other neighbors?Certainly the positive position has its share of idealism, too.
The Internet hasopened a whole new frontier that has brought every person in the world together in oneplace. [
] No longer do personal differences separate the seven billion citizens of theworld
s 244 nations; we are now one people united together.
(Thurlow, Lengel, andTomic, 2004, p. 108) This is a bold claim. It paints a picture that the Internet isresponsible for eradicating division, war, racism, sexism, age-ism, and all the other schisms of society. But not every person in the world has access to this technology. Asthe United Nations
estimates that 4 billion people around the world will probably never get online.
(Thurlow et al, 2004, p. 85) How could the Internet have created such autopia when more than half the world population does not even have access to it andthese schisms still exist? Both of these positions are too boldly polar, but they do eachhave merit.Breaking downThe Internet has provided another medium for people to carry out ills as well asperpetuate cultural divides. Gambling has found its place online, thus gamblingaddiction and other unhealthy gambling habits have found another way to claim addicts