Friday, January 25, 2008

A Different Kind of Migration

migration through technology (the web) may have a stronger effect on American culture than the actual physical migration of people. Our virtual contact with the world influences our language, culture, traditions and the way we seek knowledge -

Making the Global Village a Reality
The Guardian (London)
by Victor Keegan
January 24, 2008

Governments keep worrying about immigration and how they can prevent people from entering their countries. But while they are doing this a subtle form of exodus is taking place. People, especially early adopters, are spending more of their time conversing or doing things with people abroad, a kind of virtual migration. This is because of the explosion of social networks and a parallel phenomenon, the seemingly insatiable desire of people to spread details of their personal lives on the web to be devoured by a global audience.

At one stage it looked as though the movement might be stopped in its tracks when it was revealed that potential employers and university admission staff were combing Facebook, MySpace and other social sites to learn what candidates were really like. But there has been hardly any adverse reaction and it hasn't stopped people unburdening themselves one jot. If anything, the opposite might happen: employers are more likely to say, "What sort of introvert have we got here who hasn't joined a social site?"

There is no sign of it stopping. Recently I have been looking at a pre-production version of, brainchild of French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur, which is a kind of instant diary or blog, but using video rather than words. You record a video (dead easy now with the built-in webcams in most new laptops) then press a button and hey presto, anyone in the world can see it and respond.

The interesting point is that, unlike blogs, there is no hiding behind nicknames. This is literally in-your-face communication. It is a near-live film of you. Anonymity is strictly for the birds. Already users are making new friends across the globe and its 20,000 early testers (and 70,000 viewers a month) are becoming part-citizens of a space beyond the geography of their own country.

It reminded me that of all the new friends I have acquired in the past year (with whom I have ongoing conversations in areas of mutual interest), the majority have been in another country. I suspect this is a growing trend as a global village arrives in which people congregate on the basis of mutual interests rather than the accidental geography of where they live...

for link to complete article in The Guardian, click the title of this post.


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