Rather than the centralization that some pessimists had predicted , the new communication - the world wide web, e - mail , fax - machine , mobile phones and pagers, satellite - TV, cable, and a whole range of office electronics, including photocopiers, answering machines, word processors and varied electronic networks will lead to decentralized communication. (Benjamin D. Singer, n. d.)
In the field of banking, physical interaction, once the hallmark of any bank, has been relegated to the background. The emphasis is on the use of electronic messages for money transfers and the use of automated teller machines for cash deposits and withdrawals. Stock exchanges and other such institutions, which entail vast flow of funds, are being replaced by electronic entities, like web pages which simulate bank counters or stock exchange counter.
The German words Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft denote community and society respectively; Gemeinschaft encompasses increase in cohesion between members of a community and requires a greater deal of shared values and beliefs amongst them.
In a community greater emphasis is placed on the community than on the individual. In direct contrast to this we have the concept of Gesellschaft wherein the self interest of the individual is paramount. A community, by its very nature, decreases individualism, envisages constant monitoring of its constituents and engenders homogenization. Some examples of online communities are chat rooms, bulletin boards, etc. The internet has been instrumental in bringing about increased civic participation in various communities.
The evolution of the organized media adversely affects the natural or traditional structure of the community. In general this process entails the loss of distinctiveness of social organizations and the consequent breakdown of systems. The final outcome of this process is the irrevocable endangering of human relations. Human relations are the foundation on which the system in its totality is dependent.
The major risks faced by members of online communities are that the very anonymity leads to all kinds of crimes. It is very easy for a criminal to become part of a newsgroup or chat room and then acquire information about the various members of the group. Further, the lack of barriers bred by the internet leads to a break down of conventional etiquette and basic civility.
Communications seek to rebuild communities. However, we do not believe that a return to villages or small towns in America is necessary. What is needed, rather, is the strengthening of the bonds that tie people to one another, enabling them to overcome isolation and alienation. Above all, it is necessary to reestablish in communities the moral voice that leads people to encourage one another more virtuously than they would otherwise. (Amitai Etzioni, 1995).
Laura J Miller in her book Shopping for Community emphasizes the importance of bookstores as places where community gatherings rather than places where mere book sales take place. The concept of community as usually understood is at once nurturing and stultifying; which promises