Leung Man-tao: Netizens And Netfiriends

Renowned Hong Kong cultural and political critic Leung Man Tao published a commentary on the Southern Weekend. Roland Soong translated on his EastSouthWestNorth blog:

When the Internet first entered into our daily lives, many people imagined that this would be the mythical “public space”: there are no entry/exit requirements to this public space; there is no central authority to regulate the space; personal backgrounds do not matter; all information is exchanged freely; and everybody discusses rationally. Disagreement is allowed to exist and, through discussion, a consensus will be formed gradually. This open platform that is unfettered and distorted by any authorities will soon bring a unprecedented democratic era to humanity.

… The Internet is an infinite treasure trove of information. We seek out that information that we need and we develop our own interests; but the Internet does not necessarily make us understand each other better. On the contrary, it may disrupt the potential for that. When the Internet replaces the one-to-many mass media, we may have more freedom and we may become the expert in specific fields; but we may also lose the so-called “public space.”

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