Thursday, February 19, 2004

Reading the articles gave me an impression that the groups of people who were marginalized or discriminated offline seem to have the same fate online, specifically women, and people of race. The digital divide is more of an Intra-digital divide, within certain online community and cultures.

1. My major concern is how certain 'cyber-cultures, 'etiquettes' and way of speaking or communicating came into existence online. When Internet was introduced, access itself was stratified across the US as well as across the world, as people with certain SES and class having access. These people could have contributed to the culture or communication etiquettes that exist online today, as no one else or hardly anyone else is online. There could have been a homogeneous group of people who shared ideas and opinions. There seems to be a socialization process taken place, where 'their' way of communication becomes the dominant culture, and these homogeneous people could have set benchmarks and standards for textual communication. Hence defeating the idea itself that Internet is more democratic medium as compared to others, at least in cultural and societal expression arena. This reflects back to 'Intra digital divide', a divide in the online culture or community per se, as to what is acceptable and what is not, and who set these rules.

2. O'Brien's murky conceptualization of how genders transcribes from offline to online behavior with embodiment needs to be discussed more and carefully explicated; there are certain aspects of it she has completely avoided. For example, embodiment includes all bodily actions and their relation to cognition and perception. The way 'you' sit, move 'your' hand to type on keyboard, the 'movement' of mouse, your bodily state at that particular time is all embodied in the actions you perform, and since all these actions are gender specific and at some abstract level influenced by gender, one would expect some effects of embodiment. Also, she contradicts the embodiment approach by moving back and forth into the body-soul, and body-mind dichotomy. I am not sure if I have explained this in a clear manner, but hey, embodiment itself is an abstract philosophical concept!

3. I have been in chat rooms like IRC, or on programs like Pirch. Almost all programs offer an option to protect your identity if you register. Your age, gender, and location are not known. However, when I been in discussion and sometimes I felt the need to ask the person's gender, the person would reply, "does it matter?" and I would say "no". Now this has happened to me several times, it makes me question that; personally your perspectives, ideas, and opinions online could be influenced by gender, but how much does it matter to other people? Is there a shift in the gender paradigm?, Do peoples' perception of gender online has been changing?

Thank you, see you later.


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