CULTURE The Jewish State of the Net

dementiaBy Ada Treves

“Jewish State of the Net” is the workshop dedicated to the Jewish presence in the world of internet and the social networks, organized by Pagine Ebraiche in Turin. The second edition, which will take place this coming Monday and Tuesday, gathers journalists, sociologists and web experts to discuss “Minorities, networking opportunities and threats of the digital dementia”, theme of this year.

The growth of internet represents a tremendous opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the world, and for the dissemination of information. It opens the way for new editorial micro-initiatives and weakens the monopoly of the big economic groups. It is indeed a great opportunity for everyone, but it is more so for cultural, social and religious minorities, if they prove themselves capable of new ideas and learn how to grasp the possibilities offered by the new instrument, that are so much flexible and economical.

Beyond the apparent plurality of information, networking and the influence of social networks are a powerful instrument of social and cultural pressure. They are also a factor that risks to transform the variety of cultures in a dominant and monotonous repetition. The phenomenon that many psychiatrists now call openly “digital dementia” threatens our freedom of conscience, freedom of criticism and the ability to grow in different directions.

Behind large social networks there is a partly dissimulated market that sells personal data and information. In their virtual world hate propaganda, prejudices against the other are common. There is also a depletion of the critical spirit, a fall in the values of research, criticism and confrontation, less space for good manners for tolerance. Amidst opportunities and dangers, new journalistic professionalism and deprofessionalisation of journalistic work, minorities are called upon, to put together their forces and defend their future and the future of the plural society .

The speakers will be Paolo Salom (Corriere della Sera), Giuseppe Bottero (La Stampa), Simone Spetia (Radio24, il Sole 24 ore), Gionata Tedeschi (Accenture), Paolo Prestinari (I-Side), Alberto Giusti (web marketing strategist), Paolo Naso (Università Roma La Sapienza), Maria Immacolata Macioti (Università Roma La Sapienza), Beniamino Pagliaro (Ansa e State of the Net), Luca Maria Negro, (Riforma). Moderator will be Guido Vitale, coordinator of the departments of Information e Culture at the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.