Final Thoughts and Conclusion
As with every other journey, the one we pursued in this book is coming to an end. Here, I summarize some of the many issues remaining open for discussion and requiring our attention today and tomorrow. I start by discussing the opportunity and challenges we face with the Internet. Moreover, how the Internet may affect users such as business, government, and consumers is discussed and the potential success of efforts to create virtual communities based on issues outlined in previous chapters is assessed. Naturally, cultural, economic, political, and regulatory differences, as well as moral, privacy, marketing, and other issues discussed in this book all need further evolutionary development if the Internet is to move toward institutionalization. Finally, implications for public policy, decision makers, Internet users, and researchers are outlined.
This book discusses how ethical issues, communication models, regulation of telecommunication markets, and Internet access, culture, and also cyberspace culture, aesthetics, and marketing all contribute to and draw upon the Internet as a resource or phenomenon. Moreover, as a social reality, the process is continuing by which actions are repeated (e.g., the way we communicate or do marketing using the Web) and given similar meaning (e.g., violating or protecting of privacy) by oneself and other Internet users. The possible development of institutional norms, using the example of privacy, is outlined in this book, suggesting that we have many challenges left before we can assume the Internet has acquired characteristics of an institution such as a multinational firm or the United Nations and its agencies.