Infinite Passport

Technology hasn’t brought the world closer together.

It’s a bit more nuanced than that. Computers, the internet, and cell phones were once thought to bring us all together, into one ‘global’ network. But even though we are all digitally tied to each other, we haven’t connected on any true level. It’s not about capability. The YouTube sensation in Vancouver, Canada is not yet conversing, without worry of language barriers or cultural differences, with the RenRen graphics designer based in Shanghai, China. The CyWorld user in Seoul, Korea, is not yet writing on the wall of the Facebook user in Taipei, Taiwan. They could, but they don’t… most of the time.

Unless there are specific interests, groups self organize. It makes sense. People native to Japan are at least the most familiar with Japanese language, customs, and culture. It is logical that languages, customs, and culture translate to the internet as well. As Americans do, Japanese internet users tend to use websites in the Japanese language which display topics relevant to Japanese people. Each culture has translated itself to the internet and interacts within the realms of its own self-defined and auto-generated boundaries. Digital communication is not a single mesh of connections. The world has not just melded into one. Rather, digital communication has become an electronic representation of each country, culture, language, and subculture. The identities of the world are preserved. The countries of the world are preserved. It’s just much easier to get from place to place.

Unless governments continue to decide that emails, text messages, and websites deserve borders, digital communication media will proceed to serve as an infinite passport to the different cultures around as. No region has evolved in forms of mobile, digital, and internet communication more uniquely or independently than East Asia. In this blog hope to document and discuss these distinct evolutions, their movements, their trends, their differences, their similarities, their reasonings, and their impact.


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Alan Sien Wei Hshieh is a software developer, user interface engineer, prototyper, web/graphical designer, and musician living in Cupertino, California, in the United States.
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