Digital Dualism

The Science Communications course at the Mount Saint Vincent University inspired be to dig deeper into our perception of ICTs – especially as I am working in this field professionally, an examination of my personal mindset seemed to be in place.

While researching material for my paper on 24/7 Connectivity, I stumbled upon a huge issue in both academic and popular discourse: Digital Dualism. The perception that online is different from offline, that virtual is not physical (and hereby, less “authentic”). I don’t believe in those virtual (sic!) differences, but that we live in an augmented reality – with all its challenges.

For the purpose of this paper, I combined the concept of Digital Dualism and the Mean World Syndrome in order to analyse the current discourse on ICTs from an either cyber-utopian or -dystopian point of view.



Digital dualism & mean world syndrome 2.0:
ICTs in academic and popular discourse


Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a an indispensible factor of today’s reality. The impacts of technology on both individuals and societies are broadly discussed in an academic and popular discourse, but the conversation is strongly influenced by a dualistic mindset and an either cyber-dystopian or cyber-utopian bias. This paper examines the chronology of techno-cultural metaphors and the personification of tech companies through these terminologies, implications of digital dualism and a Manichean worldview on both an academic and a popular perception of ICTs, the bias of traditional media in illustrating social technologies, plus the danger of a nascent Mean World Syndrome 2.0. Both cyber-pessimistic and cyber-optimistic authors are analyzed in their contradistinction, and recent scientific research illustrates the need for a more culturally-sensitive approach to studying the internet. The articulation of an augmented reality rather than a dualistic philosophy are also discussed, as well as personal and professional challenges for the science communication practitioner.


Here’s the prezi about my paper: