n. The division of the Internet into narrowly focused groups of like-minded individuals who dislike or have little patience for outsiders.
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The Internet became the ultimate tool for finding like minds and blocking out others long before supporters of candidates began seeking one another out on With online dating sites where searches can be tailored by age and income, e-mail forums for the most narrow band of subjects, bookmarked sites and even spam filters, the Web allows users to tailor the information they consume more than any other medium. Social scientists even have a term for it: cyberbalkanization.
—Amy Harmon, “Politics of the Web: Meet, Greet, Segregate, Meet Again,” The New York Times, January 25, 2004
A growing body of research suggests that on-line participation by so-called e-citizens may be qualitatively different from off-line forms of civic engagement and participation. The personalization features of the Internet provided by various filters and customization tools have the potential to lead to the ''cyberbalkanization'' of the on-line public sphere into increasingly insulated groups of like-minded ''interest-based communities'' who increasingly know and care more and more about less and less.
—Graham Longford, “Canadian democracy hard-wired?,” Canadian Issues, June 01, 2002
1997 (earliest)
In this paper, we show that an emerging global village represents only one outcome from a range of possibilities. It is also possible that improving communications access through emerging technology will fragment society and balkanize interactions. In particular, we focus on the potential balkanization of preferences, including social, intellectual and economic affiliations, analogous to geographic regions. Just as separation in physical space, or basic balkanization, can divide geographic groups, we find that separation in virtual space, or "cyberbalkanization" can divide special interest groups.
—Marshall Van Alstyne, “Electronic Communities: Global Village or Cyberbalkans?,” MIT, March 01, 1997
This term combines the familiar prefix cyber- (meaning, in this sense, "online") with balkanization (1920), the division of a region into smaller and often mutually hostile subgroups.
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