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[Opinion]’Loose Unity with Internet

Posted August. 04, 2002 22:26,   


There is the ‘Power of Loose Unity’ in one of the communication theories. This is a theory that, in social network, emphasizes on the power of loose unity created by the people from different groups rather than the strong unity within a group. We can get information, which we couldn’t get inside the group, through the loose unity with outsiders, and one of the examples is that we can get more useful information from the outsiders than within a group when we are looking for a new job.

▷The loose unity shows its power even in communication through Internet. We can even find more information from the loose unity through Internet, and it is also easier to find experts on particular issues without geographical restrictions. All you have to do is to throw a question like, “Is there anybody knows a solution for this problem?” What is more, we can easily ask for help on line about things that have high risk of security problems. It is because anonymous people are united loosely and not because people in a group are united. And we can have a feeling of relief when we find out that other people have same agonies as I do, and we can do a ‘reality check’ whether our thoughts or situations are normal or not.

▷If that is the case, can we say the opinions, which are posted over and over again on the discussion rooms or bulleting board on the Internet, the public opinion? When there are some social issues arousing, or a television show is dealing with a sensible issue, there ignites a debate at the Internet bulletin board. There are thousands of assertions online and answers about the assertions, objection, re-objection, and if curses are mixed up with those, it can go right before a ‘cyber-terrorism.’

▷The prediction that anyone can express one’s opinion, and democratic sharing of opinions and collection of public opinion can be possible through Internet is quite different than the reality. If we look at the contents on line, there are ones that even more strengthening their original assertions rather than ‘sharing’ opinions. If they do not like the discussion, they just scar the discussion and disappear irresponsibly. Therefore, there appears phenomenon during the process of building public opinion on the Internet that the few, who has louder voice, dominates the majority, who keeps quiet. It is an evil that the ‘loose unity’ brings in. Recently, there were heated debates about the process of endorsement of the Prime Minister and the ‘Lee, Myung-Bak Scandal’ on line. The important thing is that it is dangerous to unconditionally consider those opinions as a public opinion.

Kang, Mi-Eun, A Guest Editorial Writer, Professor, School of Media and Information, Sook-Myung Women’s University