How social is the internet?
A pragmatic view
To many, the collocation of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘social’ may seem a bit strange, even contradictory. Either the internet is by definition social, or it is, by observation and intuition, a rather anti-social affair. The article tries to dispel this ambiguity of attribution, by focusing on both positive and negative aspects of internet practices, as we see them developing among its (often younger) users. A new vision of sociality is attributed mainly to the rise of the internet, and the consequences of a ‘fake’ social life are examined. Adaptation, both to the user and the soft/and hardware is seen as a key term in this respect, and some ethical and moral problems related to internet use are discussed with the aid of some actual cases. Finally, a general evaluation of the internet in both its positive and negative aspects is provided.
Keywords: internet, sociality, ‘fake’ life, avatar, adaptation, ethics, embodiment
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