The Internet and the World Wide Web have shaped the way people relate to each another and run their business globally. In the West, for instance, the establishment of new means of communication, the mass media, have transformed the way people conduct their affairs as well as business.
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In fact, businesses have also changed their strategies pertaining to the way they communicate with the internal and external publics. Even though the two variables have changed people’s activities globally, not all the places in the world enjoy Internet services. In the contemporary world, the term globalization is used variously to mean different things.
In fact, it has turned out to be a social buzzword with a number of explanations and meanings. Since the introduction of the Internet in the early 1990s, global communities have been forced to embrace change politically, economically, socio-culturally and technologically.
Before trying to understand the effects of the World Wide Web and the Internet on globalization, it is worth explaining the meaning of the term globalization in order to get the clear picture of the issue.
From a theoretical point of view, the process of globalization could be understood through two major ways, the outward meaning and the inward meaning. The outward meaning of the term is related to geographic space while its inward meaning is correlated to societal culture.
In this case, the outward variables include buying and selling, cross-border manufacturing, venture, expertise, synchronization of courses of action and institutions.
According to the International Monetary Fund, this is closely related to the increasing harmonization of the financial systems globally, specifically by means of movement of raw materials, finished products, services and wealth beyond the borders of one state. It may also include the free movement of individuals and expertise from one region of the world to another.
Regarding inward definition, the variables to be analyzed include social specifics of globalization that may, perhaps, affect the quality of lives and employment statuses of people. Things, such as nationality (identity), culture, family cohesiveness and the unity of communities, are to be evaluated under this perspective.
In the view of the World Health Organization, cultural dimension would refer to the relationships among cultures, nationalities and ideologies across the state boundaries. These relationships result from the utilization of contemporary communications that change the living standards of humanity.
According to these two perspectives, globalization can be defined as the process where trade barriers are eliminated, inter-state communication is facilitated, and exchange of cultures is encouraged globally.
As per the above definition, globalization can be viewed as a variable that exists to improve the living standards of people across the world. Furthermore, it offers opportunities and increases the rate of growth among the states.
Effects of the Internet and World Wide Web on Globalization
Global bodies, such as the UN and the WTO, claim that contemporary technology has played a critical role in enhancing globalization. In 2005, one of the global organizations, referred to as the OECD, argued that distribution of information and the presence of information channels had facilitated the process of globalization since information could be moved from one part of the world to the other easily.
The United Nations is another organization that has always argued that the World Wide Web as well as the Internet is the most important instrument as far as financial and wealth creation is concerned. These two tools facilitate the betterment of the living standards of people across the world since they improve people’s health and save time.
The two instruments help in improving people’s knowledge, financial power in society and innovativeness. The Internet and the World Wide Web facilitate in sharing the cultural and educational information, which increases people’s awareness, regarding disease prevention, economic opportunities and political issues.
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Through the Internet and WWW, the world’s population is strengthened in terms of social development, economic development and technological growth. In other words, the Internet and WWW permit the growth of expertise, which is an important resource in terms of economic growth. The Internet and the World Wide Web work hand in hand with other globalization agents, such as MNCs, to bring about wealth in various nations.
Thussu (2006, p. 15) notes that communication is taking place at a pace that many could not predict before. In fact, the speed at which changes are happening in the world is amazing, given the fact that each society is embracing an innovation. This is influenced by and attributable to the World Wide Web and the Internet.
Thussu focuses specifically on the growth of the medium and telecommunications companies within the macro-economic framework of free enterprise making the economies open. Thussu analyzes the impacts of the Internet and the World Wide Web on cultural aspects of globalization, ranging from regional to nationwide, as well as worldwide effects.
For instance, the scholar talks about the effects of the organizations, such as Al-Jazeera, the Bollywood and the reality TV, on the lives of people. The mass media has played an important role in society since it educates people on their rights and freedoms.
Through Al-Jazeera, for instance, the scholar notes that many people were empowered and started to demand for their rights that they had been denied by dictatorial leaders for a long.
Thussu utilizes China as a case study to show how the Internet and the World Wide Web have shaped the relationships between the ruled and the ruler. The ruler must always consult the ruled before coming up with important policies that may affect human life. This is attributed to the existence of the World Wide Web and the Internet.
Dijck and Nieborg (2009, p. 855) have a different view regarding the impacts of the World Wide Web and the Internet on globalization. The two scholars set out to explore the effects of the two variables in terms of shared culture, mass originality and co-creation exhortations. The three factors have profound effects on the economic performance of a country and cultural discourse.
Due to the introduction of Internet services and availability of the World Wide Web, modern systems of production are replacing the unclear, top-down models. This may result in transparent and democratic systems that facilitate power-sharing arrangements within the organization.
Furthermore, this system of administration allows company employees to share responsibilities based on their dexterities. To these two scholars, some manifestos, such ‘Wikinomics’ and ‘We-Think’, are responsible for the digitalization of commerce worldwide. In their article, they evaluate how Web 2.0 affected the management systems of organizations and companies around the globe.
They state that the new model helped in democratizing leadership in organizations, which would further lead to improved production and distribution of goods and services. In this sense, the Web 2.0 has worldwide payback of a democratized and socialist digital freedom.
They unreservedly support an idea of public communism that is utilized fully within product culture. The idea of Wikinomics and ‘We-Think’ directly demands for deconstruction because it affects the digital culture through its typical cultural hypothesis.
As per the reasoning of Carpentier (2009, p. 407), the popularization of the innovative Internet-based medium has facilitated much sanguinity, regarding the communal and participatory-democratic latent of the medium leading to speculation in the termination of the mass communication model and its substitution by a many-to-many expansive model.
As it might be expected, the reassessment of participatory-based communication has led to a number of intangible, hypothetical and pragmatic problems. Participation has turned out to be at least partly an entity of commemoration ensnared in a reductionist discourse of originality, separate from the response of its spectators and de-contextualized from its political- ideological, expansive-literary and expansive-structural frameworks.
These commemorative viewpoints on participation wrap up a number of the essential ideas of the mass communication models that are still exceptionally energetic, offering the discursive structures for the welcoming of previous and innovative media products.
Carpentier (2009, p. 408) shows the diligence of some apparatus of the mass communication archetype through a study of the effects of two north Belgian participatory media instruments. The scholar conducted an extensive research to establish the effects of the Internet and the World Wide Web in north Belgium. One of his studies is based on the effects of YouTube referred to as 16 plus.
Another study focuses on the old concept of Television access, particularly on the 2002 program referred to as Barometer. Through his analyses, it can be observed that people have never unconditionally accepted participatory services, but the services were appreciated owing to the fact that they were intrinsic to the lives of people in many ways.
According to the views of Carpentier (2009, p. 410), the two important concepts including professionalism and societal relevance are valued by people as far as participatory practices are concerned. In other words, it can be observed that people are cautious about the existence of new media since some are harmful to them.
In trying to understand the public service communication and its effects on online users, Moe (2008, p. 220) concludes that European media has always faced scrutiny from the government and other non-state agencies mainly because of its effects on society.
The Internet media is occasionally blamed for causing societal problems that are sometimes difficult to handle. For instance, the Internet is accused of posing new challenges to parents since they can no longer play their socializing roles as it used to be in the traditional society.
The role of parents has always been to socialize their children to become good members of society, who always obey the law and respect the societal morals. However, they are failing to perform this socializing role as it is shifting to the media due to the availability of the World Wide Web and the Internet.
The Internet media is taking over the responsibility that has always been reserved to parents. The scholar notes that the public service media providers have taken advantage of the Internet and the availability of the World Wide Web to contravene the rules and standards set by local and regional authorities in Europe.
To bring out his reasoning on the effects of the Internet and the World Wide Web, the scholar undertook a comparative study of the three European states. He used three public service providers to bring out the universality of the modern mass media. In other words, the effects of the Internet and the World Wide Web on the lives of citizen were similar across the divide.
Moe (2008, p. 225) sets out to discuss the role of the Internet in society. He also tries to establish how the media companies use the Internet to outdo each other in the market. He concludes that the mass media should be controlled. Through online media, society has lost its socializing role.
Consequently, the rate of the social crimes has increased meaning that the Internet contributed to the promotion and development of the crimes, such as prostitution, abortion, domestic violence and drug abuse. It is not surprising that even the publicly funded media is involved in offering socially unaccepted services (Freedman 2006, p. 90).
Some scholars, such as Rettberg (2009, p. 459), are optimistic about the Internet and the World Wide Web since they shape our lives in society. In this case, the impact of the two variables in society is positive and productive. The Internet helps people reveal their feelings via the social sites and identify their nationality (identity formation).
The Internet has the ability to filter the unwanted information about an individual and portray only the positive data that may be desired by an individual. In his simplified article, Rettberg (2009, 461) argues that the Internet can help individuals to generate sensible data from the raw information that do not make sense. Furthermore, the Internet helps individuals present their data in a more presentable way.
For instance, politicians now convince their supporters to vote for them using social sites, such as Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook. Through such social sites, leaders can link up with their supporters and iron out issues that can affect their relationships. Furthermore, parties and pressure groups utilize the Internet to sell their manifestos and agendas to the public.
These results to improved lifestyles and improved living standards in various societies globally. The government and societal leaders are utilizing social sites to educate the public on their civil responsibilities and rights.
Due to the Internet and the World Wide Web, people rarely identify themselves with certain races or ethnicities, but they associate themselves with certain ideologies and perspectives.
This has modernized world affairs since it is possible to see an Afro-American person relating with an Asian or a White because they share a common idea. Due to realizing this, Barrack Obama was elected as the President of the United States of America (Beer 2009, p. 985).
It can be concluded that globalization is a concept that is understood differently in various societies. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web have affected globalization in the same way. Due to the Internet and WWW, the management systems have changed. In fact, many leaders are currently embracing participatory-based model.
In other words, nowadays, each individual is allowed to exercise his potential in the organization unlike the previous years when managers a up with policies and expected their juniors to implement them without any changes. Social sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and many others, which are used to connect with the citizens of other countries, have completely changed the behavior of individuals in the world.
Due to the Internet and WWW, trade is now conducted on a global basis since distances have been greatly reduced. In conclusion, it is worth noting that the Internet and WWW work hand in hand with other globalizing agents to improve people’s lives in the world.
List of References
Beer, D 2009, “Power through the algorithm – Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious”, New Media and Society, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 985-994.
Carpentier, N 2009, “Participation is not enough: the conditions of possibility of Mediated Participatory Practices”, European Journal of Communications, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 407-512.
Dijck, J & Nieborg, D 2009, “Wikinomics and its discontents; a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos”, New Media and Society, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 855-912.
Freedman, D 2006, Media and Cultural Theory, Routledge, London.
Moe, H 2008, “Public Service Media Online? Regulating Public Broadcasters’ Internet Services, A Comparative Analysis”, Television and New Media, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 220-275.
Rettberg, JW 2009, “Freshly Generated for You, and Barrack Obama’: How Social media Represent Your Life”, European Journal of communication, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 451-467.
Thussu, DK 2006, International Communication: Continuity and Change, Arnold, London.