Community and the internet are different concepts, the same way identity is.
When the technology and the network platforms started rising, bringing us the highly advanced technologies, we started to get exposed to a vast amount of information. We were able to see and gain knowledge about different parts of the world without traveling anywhere.
The whole world started appearing in front of our screens and it gave us “imaginations” and perceptions about how our community is like, how the other community must be like or “feels” like depending on the information the media has given to us.
The media and the network introduced us to our own community we live in. We were able to compare our own identities in the scale of the world with the help of the network.
However, as the media and network started to take place all over the world, we started assuming the whole world including our community and our own identity is inside the media, in fact, is the media because everyone we knew was using it too.
Majority of the people believe the network and social media is the community itself because those platforms “show” them the community and people have the tendency to believe whatever they see.
One should know how to differentiate between the idea of the network and the real community because it could impact us to imagine the community in a distorted image by how the network reveals it to us which are not often true.
What we do not often fully comprehend is that media is merely a platform. It is a tool we use to expand, and notify the community but it is not the community or the world itself. The world is out there, not in your screen. Those in your screen are merely the reflections of it.
One sentence that grabbed my attention from Tom Boellstorff’s article is “No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind”. When the nation is inserted in the sentence, it brings such strong distinction from the rest of the mankind because the word “Nation” is a strong definition of something within the borders, something to be protected from the outside forces. The essence of the word “Nation” makes us feel secure and if someone who does not belong in our nation tries to take it away, we rile up to fight and that has been the history.
Nevertheless, if we replace the “nation” with “one”, the result is different.
“No one imagines himself/herself coterminous with mankind” is not relevant in today’s world where we as individuals constantly trying and begging to feel connected and be coterminous with mankind more than before.
It is as if when it comes to the principles of the nation, one prefers to be secluded, however, when it comes to an identity of us as individuals, we strive to be more connected and transnational and for some strangely they simply want the badge of “Global Citizen”.
But the diversity of ideas behind the global citizen, the very essence of transnationality goes beyond what we see in our screens.