Global Culture and the Internet PDF  | Print |  E-mail
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Friday, 25 January 2008 07:00

1. A new phenomenon in culture and technology

The Internet is a relatively new technological phenomenon. This creation had led to unprecidented globalization, and widespread access to information. It has become the main infrastructure of a modern, global  society, and has made changes to modes of production and the activities of society. People are now able to collaborate regardless of the distance between nations, territories, continents, or oceans. Borders are only terms used on the earth, they do not apply to the Internet. A new space, a new world has been established. The residents of this new world are Internet users. Anyone who wants to use the Internet needs only a computer and an Internet connection, or "an entry gate". In this world, users can receive everything, from colours to sounds and images. They can also create anything they want.

This Internet world has attracted many people. There are even people who have become so consumed by the Internet that they do not eat or sleep for many days. As a consequence, the Internet has also become a cultural phenomenon creating a convenient environment for cultural development. At the same time, it has had many negative influences. Each country may have its own behaviour guidelines with regards to this new technology and new cultural phenomenon, but the most suitable is positive, responsible behaviour while using the Internet. By doing that, the virtual, Internet world will become a positive, friendly place.

2. A new tool for creating

The achievements of the digital technology age have developed new tools for creative activities. Traditionally, people used paper and pens for writing literature, poems, and composing music, a brush and ink for drawing pictures, and a ruler for architectural design. Those are the traditional tools of human creativity in all forms of artistic and scientific work. Nowadays, an additional tool has transformed the creative process, and that is the computer. By using a computer, people can create any kind of the above works. A novel, a piece of music, or plans for a house can be created with this one useful tool from any location where electricity is available.  An Internet connection further allows these creations to be shared with the world and archived for later use.

A kind of electronic diary has appeared, called a personal blog, and global culture has become more open than ever before. According to one overseas service company, there are more than three million blog addresses on its server. On average, one blog entry is posted on the Internet every 5.8 seconds from around the world. Many blogs use digital technology for all kinds of creative activities and posting intellectual writings on the Internet.

These new tools for creating and sharing creative work is a significant labour saving method. By using computers and the Internet, people can shorten the time it takes to create and transfer  human thought into tangible works of art more quickly. Moreover, this tool helps the works become more exact and allows them to be copied them with absolute accuracy.

With digital media, one person can play many roles in the creative process. For example, in a cinematographic work, one person can be the author of the script, the director, the camera operator, the sound and light operator, the actor, the publisher, and the editor of that work at the same time. Many videos posted on the Internet are of this kind. Digital media has also changed how these things are preserved. Before, photographic and cinematic work were recorded on photosensitive materials, but now these things can be created and saved in the nearly indestructible digital environment. A photograph taken with a digital camera can be further created using Photoshop to crop the picture, take out or add content, or even changing the background. It can be said that digital technology, the digital environment, the Internet are dangerous tools in some aspects. It's preeminence is not denied, but there are some individuals, who use it to express their own inept, non-scientific, non-artistic, even unhealthy opinions.

3. A new way of archiving and communicating work to the public

In the past, people used a variety of avenues to communicate works to the public. In the Middle Ages, discoveries in philosophy, science, literature, and art were written down on tree bark, rocks, animal skin, and clay. Birth and death certificates were issued by witch-doctors. These are consider the beginning form of books. People used spoken languages to tell stories and sing folk-songs, both were ways to transmit information by way of mouth.

Nowadays, with digital technology and the Internet people can bring their work and ideas to the virtual world. All kinds of work can be digitalized for better archiving. This new way of archiving allows the public to access information anywhere and at anytime. People who have access to the Internet can read or view information from any place at any time. Exploiting this unlimited access around the globe there are some websites, blog posts, texts, and images which are not suitable with traditional culture, and may even violate the international and national law. Many personal secrets also are disclosed on the Internet, leading to indignation in the public opinion.

This new way of communicating also allows for electronic commerce as people can advertise theirs goods on the Internet. They can give rights management information attached to originals or copies, including information about the author, the owner, and the conditions of use in order to prevent users who have not met such requirements to access the work. The electronic commercial market has developed strongly around the world, and we hope that this market can be opened and developed in Vietnam in the near future.

Also through new ways of communicating, motives for profit regardless of law and morality have copied and published information illegally. Moreover, hackers have attacked and destroyed the spirit and profit possibilities for website owners.

In such a new field, there are many global problems with managing and enforcing international standards for the Internet. In Vietnam, solutions for a managing regime and clear policies of enforcement are needed. Law and policy must developing the Internet healthily and steadily. This must be the consciousness and responsibility of all people when using the Internet.



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