The Scale Of Cyberspace Essay

1172 words - 5 pages

Geographical space, as we know it, is undergoing significant changes in its perception. It is in a state of continuous redefinition caused by the increased use of technologies that provide access to cyberspace. Although cyberspace has no physical dimensions, it is very real for the many of us who use modern technology. Whether it is the Internet, accessed through a computer or cell phones, or other private networks such as MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games), cyberspace is increasingly the site of choice for social and business interactions. There is a dynamic relationship at work, just as neighborhoods affect the cities around them, so does cyberspace affect the geographical spaces of its users. Because of this, cyberspace should be included in understanding a complete world-view.
In “Cyberspace and Cyberculture” Ken Hillis describes cyberspace as “imaginary and metaphorical” (Hillis 324) and cyberculture as “the cultural practices which occur in cyberspace” (Hillis 324). To which he claims that cyberspace and cyberculture are must exist as a pair. Because cyberculture must happen in a space, this space is by definition, virtual, and so it must have no physical dimensions (Hillis 324-325). Nevertheless, cyberspace is still space: A place where people can gather and share ideas. This is particularly true in reference to the Internet. Environments such as facebook.com, the fading Myspace.com, and specialty sites such as Last.fm, which cater to music enthusiasts, all operate in an effort to lubricate human interaction, and depend on those interactions to stay active. Their business depends on it. For example, Facebook.com is worth an estimated 300 million US dollars a year (Forbes).
Ken Hillis further characterizes cyberspace as the result of a utopian ideal. He compares the advent of virtual spaces to the industrial revolution. Just as the introduction of industrial machinery was believed by North Americans to bring beneficial changes to culture, cyberspace is also said to bring a new age of culture, politics and increased consciousness (Hillis 325). Hillis argues that spaces accessed through digital technologies are not the only kind of false but collectively driven and mutually deceptive environments. He explains that places such as “CityWalk” at Universal Studios are utopian environments intended to serve the same pleasurable deceptions that are provided by cyberspaces. These deceptions provide the collapse of time and space. This results in a space with the illusion of being crimeless, and is flush with memorabilia from baby-boomer era youth (Hillis 326-327). Space such as this is of course also intended to profit the owner, Universal Studios. Profits earned directly through the admission fee and indirectly through foods and products sold on the ground are the driving factors in shaping this space but the deception, is, again, voluntary.
According to Philip Crang, the experience of time-space compression is a characteristic of...

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