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Internet and collectivistic cultures

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    Predrag TASEVSKI

Internet and collectivistic cultures. How the Internet affects the psyche of the people from collectivistic cultures?

Nowadays everyone has a computer at home, work and even a carrying device, example: laptop, notebook, mobile phones, IPod etc. All the devices that are making our life easy in everyday tasks are able to connect though the Internet. Which affects our psyche and people around. It not only influences the thoughts, behavior and personality of individual but it has lobby to the group of people that we socialize. Thus, in other words the collectivistic culture beside.

Cultures by the membership are typically divided into two categories: collectivist and individualist. Individualistic cultures, people are expected to develop and display their individual personalities and to choose their own affiliations, where in collectivist cultures, people are defined and act mostly as members of a long-term group, such as the family, a religious group, an age cohort, a town, or a profession, among others (Deb, 2011).

Moreover, individualism pertains to societies in which ties are loose: people are expected to look after themselves and their immediate family. In addition, collectivism pertains to societies in which people are integrated into strong, cohesive groups from birth onwards, protecting them in exchange for unquestioned loyalty (Hall, Menno, & Steehouder, 2004). Cross-cultural studies have provided empirical evidence that the individualism-collectivism dimension is the most important dimension for pinpointing differences between cultures (Ting-Toomey & Gao, 1998). Furthermore, both collectivist and individualist cultures have their failings. People in individualist cultures are susceptible to loneliness, and people in collectivist cultures can have a strong fear of rejection (Psychology Wiki, 2011).

Specifically the emphasize of groups in family and work goals in collectivist cultures, such as those of East Asia, parts of Latin America and some countries from Europe, like: Greece and Portugal (Psychology Wiki, 2011).

To illustrate the traits of collectivism is that each person is encouraged to conform to society, to do what is best for the group and do not openly express opinions or beliefs that go against it; group, family or rights for the common good seen as more important than the rights of individuals; where rules promote stability, order, obedience; fitting in or conforming to group or society is required; where distinctions made between in-group and out-group and working with others and cooperating is the norm. Refusal to cooperate and wanting to be independent or stand out is seen as shameful. Everyone must rely on others for support. Therefore, stereotype of a ‘good person’ in collectivist cultures is trustworthy, honest, generous, and sensitive, all characteristics that are helpful to people working in groups (Psychology Wiki, 2011).

At the present day, users of the online social networks are more collectivistic, because of the apparent benefits to networked interaction. Given this rise in popularity, a significant amount of prior work has examined the social behavior and attitudes of the users that engage in Internet network. Proponents argue that community building technology is useful because it improves knowledge interaction among users, enhancing interpersonal relationships. Specifically as weblogs, playing online or through Internet network games, wikis such as Wikipedia, social networking such as Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, etc. and micro blogging tools such as Twitter, in particular, have attracted attention ( Dayne, Sigi, & Hart, 2009).

For instance, I do not know all of my friends in my social networks Facebook,, twitter, myspace, etc. Yet I do like to build a community where I can share my other activities, such as sharing my new photography that I have taken in Estonia or somewhere else, share the event when I am going to perform a music show in clubs in Tartu or Tallinn. Sharing links of my new blog posts or my site update. Therefore, still I have seen this people face to face, or at least I have had a face to face conversation with most of them. I do rely on their support to show in events that I am performing, or get a feedback on the photography that I have posted recently. All the above, creates my own society group network though Internet my own virtual world family, where relationship permits classification in the in-group, which relied on collectivistic culture.

On the other hand, when collectivists meet another person, the first thought they are likely to have is, “What is my relationship with that person?” If the relationship permits classification in the in-group, they are likely to behave very positively – cooperating, supporting, going out of their way to help. In contrast, if the other person is classified as an out-group member, they are likely to be indifferent or even hostile. Such sharp differentiation of in-group and out-group is not found among individualists. Collectivists use action verbs, rather than state verbs, because they prefer to use context in their communications. Sometime even show a generosity rule when exchanging with in-group members, where their acceptance of paternalism and to emphasize the importance of the nurturance of the leader. And for further more information see (Individualism and Collectivism, 2001, p. 35).

Therefore, the Internet drastically changes the psyche in-group and out-group communication, relationship, supporting, cooperation, etc. in human culture. Nevertheless, Internet has influence on psyche in collectivist culture behaviors but affects the individualist. Nowadays people are communicating through the many sources available on Internet and develop new relationships, groups and community where they can share and feel positive, classified, into larger groups.


Dayne, F., Sigi, G., & Hart, D. (2009, November 9). Individualist and collectivist factors affecting online repurchase intentions. Retrieved from School of Accounting and Business Information Systems, The Australian. Link.

Deb. (2011, March 27). Geert Hofstede. Retrieved from Link.

Hall, M., Menno, d., & Steehouder, M. (2004, November 1). Cultural differences and usability evaluation: individualistic and collectivistic participants compared. Retrieved fromHighBeam Research. Link

Psychology Wiki. (2011). Collectivist and individualist cultures. Retrieved from Collectivist and individualist cultures – Psychology Wiki.

Ting-Toomey, S., & Gao, G. (1998). Communicating Effectively with the Chinese. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

TRIANDIS, H. C. (2001). Individualism and Collectivism. In D. Matsumoto, The Handbook of CULTURE & PSYCHOLOGY (p. 35). Oxford: Oxfrod University Press.