This volume examines the Internet as a communication system. In this view, the Internet is the single most pervasive, involving, and global communication system ever created by human beings, with a host of political, economic, cognitive, and sociocultural implications. The Internet crosses all cultural boundaries and is the fastest growing global communication system ever witnessed. For example, Facebook is now approaching one billion members, and globally a growing percentage of the world’s population in the developed countries surfs the Internet on a daily basis. In this context, on a global level, The Pew Internet & American Life Project reported at the end of 2010 that “although still a relatively young technology, social networking is already a global phenomenon.” Based on this survey of 22 nations, Pew (2010; see also Global Digital Communication, 2011) reported that social networking is:
especially popular in the United States, where 46% say they use sites like Facebook and MySpace, but other nations are not far behind. At least four-in-ten adults in Poland (43%), Britain (43%) and South Korea (40%) use such sites (respondents were given examples of sites that are popular in their country). And at least a third engage in social networking in France (36%), Spain (34%), Russia (33%), and Brazil (33%). While involvement in social networking is relatively low in many less economically developed ← vii | viii → nations, this is largely due to the fact that many in those countries do not go online, rather than disinterest in social networking....