Media and cultural aspects of civil society
Aleksandra Uzelac (Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for International Relations (IMO), Zagreb)
Virtual Networks in Culture: Between Citizens and Consumers
Rapid growth of Internet, in number of its users and available information and services that can be accessed through it, indicate the importance of activities taking place in the virtual domain. Culture, as glue to our everyday life, is reflected in the cyber space through initiatives undertaken by the cultural institutions but also through many citizen initiatives in the form of virtual communities, discussion forums, etc. Interactivity is a characteristic that mostly defines new ways of communication through Internet, but its potential must be realized by building adequate services to serve the citizens/users.
What kind of information society shall we live in depends largely on balance achieved between money-driven, for-profit incentives and public domain services that ensures that everyone can participate and use available knowledge to their own benefit. Virtual networks in cultural field are one of the tools for organizing available information to targeted users and for voicing new initiatives and ideas. Values that are hoped to be achieved in the information society, on a global level, like democracy, tolerance, cultural diversity, pluralism, etc. must be ensured by planning of the concrete structures that support knowledge dissemination and allow participation of users. We shall analyze how virtual networks in the field of culture contribute to this process.