January 1997

Root Page of Article: Intercultural Computer-Mediated Communication, by Néstor G. Trillo

Use of Technology

Culture influences the artifacts that we create, whether they are bridges, or ^interfaces. As important as culture is in the technology that we create, it may prove even more significant in human-human interaction that is mediated by such technology. As emerging technology interconnects our globe in increasingly complex layers, the world seems to grow smaller. Yet, it is with this increased interconnectivity that our perception of the world as we presently know it grows and expands. Our social network begins to encompass individuals that we have never physically met before, and possibly never will. With every new link, we become subtly more interconnected with distant individuals, and distant events. It is these new relationships with distant individuals that may challenge us to expand our horizons beyond what we now know. As our social web grows via Information Technology, so does the possibility for intercultural interactions online.

To the degree that Information Technology becomes increasingly multimodal, these online interactions will also become increasingly interpersonal.

Audio, video, and Virtual Reality on the Internet allow multisensory interaction between users from not only distant countries, but different cultures. McFarland (1995) offers the Greek word agora which implies "the place where people gathered...the locus of community life, social, commercial, and political" (p.14). The Internet, by means of computer-mediated communication technology promises to create a social environment on a global scale. -- "Multimedia is not a thing, a computer technology. It is the current literacy condition of the environment...the multimedia computer is a way of revealing this environmental condition" (Davis, 1993).

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