Rediscovering the netiquette: the role of propagated values and personal patterns in defining identity of the Internet user.

Michał Piotr Pręgowski

Abstract


As Howard Rheingold (2002) put it, the “killer apps” of tomorrow will not be the hardware devices or software programs themselves – the social practices will. It becomes less important to build, expand and extend proper tools; instead, it is becoming more and more important what people think of doing with these tools. Rheingold’s statement also reveals why norms and values associated with Internet use are important for sociologists, especially ones interested in sociology of morality. Considerations about the future of the Internet in the moral context are not complete without reaching to its past, though. Netiquette can be considered as the carrier of core values typical for the early Internet culture; it also carries the propagated values (as defined by Maria Ossowska, Polish sociologist of morality) which can be seen as the backbone of social order on the Internet.

The propagated values present in the netiquette reveal the expectations toward a human in his or her social role of the Internet user. In my paper I present these expectations in the form of the personal pattern of the “appropriate Internet user”, as well as two negative patterns and social implications of formulating such.

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