PERSONAL COMMUNICATION in the Age of the Internet Some people are concerned about the influence the computer has, and will have,on ouraily communications. althoughthere will undoubtedly be some people who cannot bear to leave the screen, the vast majority of people will use teh computer as a means of communication with others. people can e-mail friends in faraway countries, and the reply can be swift and ,usually, succinct.In fact the very nature of communication by e-mail is somewaht casual;A sends a message of, say, four paragraphs. If e-mail communication is quick, convenient,and casual, the chat line is quicker and wilder.This is conducted in real time, which means that people can contact each other and type message ,frequently misspelt in their hurry, exchanging views around the world. the language used is brief and to the point, communication of the idea being the supreme goal.there was a time when jokes travelled around the world when international telephone operators shared them during the long, boring night shifts.those old jokes took about twelve hours to become current elsewhere. The benefits of communication through cyberspace are immense, and for some people it will break their isolation,not increase it.consider a frail older person who finds the idea of an internaional flight daunting, but who has friends in another country. this person can quickly establish contact through the e-mail, and can be fully aware of her friends' daily doings.this can be made easier as screens are enlarged and keyboards modified,but the breaking down of isolation of the old and disabled is well worththe effort to improve the machinery. There is negative side to all of this. while most people use their omputers honestly, there are some who use the innate anonymity of cyberspace cruelly. these people may represent themselves as something they are not; it can be as innocent as pretending to be one's own sister, or asvicious as gaining the confidence of a correspondent with a view to robbing them. confidence tricksters use computers too. communication through the internet is here to stay. if we are to thrive as a society we must make sure that this tool is available to as many people as possible, so that we do not develop pockets of our community who are cut off from knowledge of the net.
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