HOW CULTURE, ATTITUDES, AND BELIEFS INFLUENCE THE USE OF THE INTERNET
Part I of this book focused primarily on hard facts, that is, how the Internet functions, regulatory matters, and Internet policies as well as economic and access issues. In part II, the focus is more on what could be called soft issues. For instance, as chapter 4 outlines, infrastructure (e.g., telecommunication) is the objective side of culture as is the regulatory framework. However, both can change over time. In addition to the objective side of culture, there is also the subjective one including people's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (see Fig. 4.1) possibly being moderated by norms, rituals, and values.
Part II focuses on better illustrating how cultural similarities and differences in conjunction with infrastructure and policies as outlined in part I may influence the organizational and private use of the Internet. Chapter 4 discusses a cultural framework and outlines these issues in how they may affect communication and CMC in particular by comparing Internet communication to television and other media. Chapter 5 brings this a step further and outlines the moral and ethical issues we face with CMC and how, based on cultural similarities or differences, we may communicate in various ways. This chapter illustrates how difficult it is to develop some institutional characteristics for the Internet because even though geographical boundaries may no longer be an obstacle to people communicating with each other from far away places, misunderstandings due to culture are plenty to be found. In addition, regulatory frameworks taking these cultural differences into consideration are very difficult to develop.
The final chapter in this section is chapter 6, which focuses on how ethical and moral understanding across nations may result in differences in how