In a 'virtualized' society

On the night of October 11, 2007, 'netizens' texted each other about the fresh film of the lead actress in a hit movie showing on national television. That night, the link to the video sharing site containing the video is almost congested. Two days later, the local press was busy about a new scandal, on forums (forums), blogs (blogs) immediately appeared rude comments, only compliments enough. - forming a fever in the public opinion.

The case did not settle down, telling her to waste the ink on the 'Tea-Lemon' lawsuit that kept a singer and a female reporter around one of her articles on her own blog that she said had 2 million visitors .

There are many similar cases, showing that in urban areas, our country is forming a new social phenomenon: 'virtual social network' (virtual social network). In that virtualized society, people exist, interacting with each other by sharing their feelings, thoughts, and conceptions in a relatively free, unbounded way of space and time, even though they must adhere to Real world rules and human behavior rules. In our country, the new virtual social network is fast but quickly becomes a phenomenon because it meets the needs of being voiced, expressed and shared by the people.

The first manifestation of virtual social networking is the spread of private web pages (blogs, weblogs). Appearing in the world at the end of 1999, it exploded in early 2000 mainly among young people, blogging was introduced to Vietnam around 2004 with the spread of Yahoo's online messaging services. At the end of 2006, a girl nicknamed Crys Baby wrote on her blog a not very good feeling about a visit to Hanoi, sparking a huge wave of protests, and from then on people started pay attention to the blog. 2007 was the most developed blogging time. Although there are no official statistics yet, the information technology community estimates that the number of bloggers (bloggers) in Vietnamese is not less than a few million, each blogger creates several blog sites located on different networks, writing all kinds topics from stories to hot issues.

Not only the explosion in numbers, the blog trend is also changing in quality. From personal records of sad joys in life to sharing with close friends, blogs are becoming a deeply social media channel and have a strong impact on the community. The blog of knowledgeable, enthusiastic and responsible citizens has attracted the interest of many people, not badly in traditional newspapers. Many well-known journalists have used blogs to address issues where the framework of an official newspaper cannot be published. In the US, the blog series called TMP (Talking Points Memo) of 38-year-old amateur journalist Jossh Marshall has a regular audience of up to 700,000, of which 84% have college degrees or higher, the ability to create public opinion not inferior to major newspapers, causing Los Angles Times to exclaim: 'Blog can stops the presses' (Blog can stop the printer from running).

Picture 1 of In a 'virtualized' society If the blog is primarily a circulating personal media that primarily holds people who know each other, then the forum (forum) is more social. As in real life, the forum is a place where people with similar interests in a certain area discuss issues that they care about. But unlike real life, the Internet forum is a virtual space, where members hide behind nicknames, avatar images . Thanks to this anonymity and equality. , members can speak frankly, honestly what they think without fear of being followed or bullied. It can be said that after a virtual mask, many people can live with their thoughts, feelings, share and receive sympathy from people who do not know - which is not easy to get in the real world.

Compared to traditional newspapers, virtual forums have the ability to transmit information by means of images, sound, video quite attractive, fast information rate, tolerating many views, many ways to look at sometimes contradictory create a rich, free and democratic living environment. All of these factors attract young people very strongly, many young people participate in many forums, discuss all issues. Not only discussing some of the members' labor mobilization forums on activities of a clear social nature such as disaster relief, helping poor children, gathering historical materials, translating and disseminating those foreign research works. The social movement of virtual forums is probably the activities to assert Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos in early December 2007, including many members of the forum. Different networks join.

Of course, not all phenomena in the virtual world have a positive meaning. Newspapers have repeatedly criticized the 'black web' and 'dirty blogs'. A few months ago, the country used to be shocked when the press uncovered dozens of strong people to entice light-hearted people to invest their money in illegal currency trading through websites like Colonyinvest . Unfortunately. It is in thousands of victims that many people do not know what the Internet is, and the State has not prevented illegal business activities of scammers, nor warned people of risks. they may encounter when investing in an activity they do not know well. However, fraud should not be identified with the nature of virtual social networks. Scammers or criminals are everywhere, they are in the real world and are not absent from the virtual world.

What is more interesting is that virtual social networks are posing challenges for the spiritual activities of society such as newspapers, publishing, ideological culture, even schools, making these institutions no longer available. can be at ease, and in that sense, promote innovation. These organizations are no longer 'exclusive' to provide information and knowledge to the people, but are forced to 'compete' with the virtual social network in capturing the hearts of the public. In education, for example, today's students have many channels to absorb knowledge, formulate and rubbing views with others in a virtual society, which forces universities to change to adapt. The press could not close their eyes and ears to events in life because if that incident really made sense, even if the press did not mention it, there would be many people writing about it, commenting on it online. virtual society and cause public opinion no less than traditional newspapers.

So, it is time to be indifferent to the development of virtual society, it can not be considered as simply the game of the young class 'sooner or later'. It should not be considered a potential 'risk' that needs to be prevented by all kinds of firewalls, network police (net-cop) . In China, after spending a lot of effort and money to building and operating a giant firewall (Great Firewall) to prevent people from accessing information about taboo topics such as Tiananmen, Falun Gong . now the authorities realize that the firewall has The most effective is in the hearts of the people, in the future youth owners of the country, not in sophisticated technical systems. Europe is also a remarkable experience in planning flexible policies to promote the positive of social networks in serving the community and promoting social progress.