The Internet and Intercultural Communication
Modern technology has the potential to increase intercultural communication in the global economy. The internet, as a relatively new communication tool, has a greater ability to do this than traditional media. However it questionable whether this potential can be fulfilled. The internet combines a mixture of group and interpersonal communication, information and advertising. Unlike most media, it offers the facility for two way communication. In this essay I will look at how group communication can facilitate intercultural communication, the barriers to this, and the role of multi-national corporations and their influence on information flow in the global world.
The internet draws people from all ages, ethnic and social groups and provides a platform for global communication by giving users the opportunity to become involved with other cultures simply by clicking their mouse. However as part of the mediascapes described by Appadurai (1990, p.299), the internet does not sit in a vacuum, but in collaboration with the other dimensions he described; (ethnoscapes, technoscapes, financescapes and ideoscapes). The conflict that arises from the combination of these forces serves to limit the internet’s potential as a truly effective intercultural communication tool.
People post messages on email lists and web forums and talk to one another in chat rooms. Discussions that take place in these forums facilitate the flow of information and ideas that can raise awareness about issues facing other cultures that perhaps have not been considered before. According to Zwingle (1999, p. 17) there are 800 million teenagers in the world. Teenagers generally are avid technophiles and big users of the internet. Young people of today are the decision-makers of tomorrow. The things they learn today from people of different cultures in far away places have the potential to influence their opinions and actions when they move into...