Cultivating a Positive Digital Culture

The digital technology that we enjoy today is a development of information and communication technology (ICT). In just less than two decades, this technology has changed almost the entire pace of human life on earth. It is safe to say that currently all daily activities have been digitized. During the corona pandemic, for example, because people have to limit their activities, they are forced to start implementing a digital lifestyle from working (e-working), shopping (e-shopping), to school (e-learning).

It has never happened before those parents who are previously “technologically-impaired” they have now been forced to learn and get familiar with virtual classes such as "Zoom" or "Google Meet" because they have to accompany their children to learn digitally during the lockdown period. We cannot imagine what will happen to digital technology that is not as advanced as it is now, then came the corona pandemic which caused schools to close, and everyone had to do activities from home.

Therefore, the corona pandemic that meets with digital technology has given us a new experience in our social interaction. It can even be said that the pandemic plays a great role as a factor in accelerating the implementation of digital culture. Digitalization makes the world more open. They are connected to each other. What used to be considered local, it is now easily globalized. Even the local and the global are now fused. Under these conditions, all religious beliefs that were once exclusive are now encouraged to be open and have a dialogue; its motto is "to be religious is to be interreligious." Interreligious and interfaith dialogue is a necessity, even a new paradigm in religion.

The digital era will undoubtedly also give birth to digital culture. We see the practice in our offices and companies. During the pandemic, offices and companies are saved by digital technology. They can still carry out their business activities by implementing the concept of "Work from Home” or WFH system. One of the blessings in disguise of this COVID-19 outbreak is the reduction in traffic congestion, air and water pollution. It is also suspected that there is a decrease in depression levels due to the pressure of office work which tends to treat humans like machines, so that people experience isolation or alienation.

There was once a situation where big cities were completely devoid of vehicular traffic. The sky looks clearer than usual, as a result of reduced smoke from vehicle and factory pollution. In various countries it is reported that freshwater fish swimming happily in rivers flowing into the heart of the city, because the water is so clear. The impact in the household is also felt. Families can feel the warmth and joy again, or "quality time," which has been almost taken away by the activities of their parents working in the office. WFH will not, and should not, reduce productivity. A number of adjustments are needed so that work or office tasks can be done digitally (online). Digital technology has provided everything you need to make work easier anywhere.

In short, digital technology has a huge impact and a life-changing "silent revolution". What about politics? Politics and government administration, of course, never stop moving because both are directly related to the interests of the community. When the corona pandemic forces us to stay at home, public service activities can still take place because our government has involved information and communication technology in their activities. In other words, digitalization has occurred in the political world i.e. in the form of e-government, e-bureaucracy, and e-parliament, and is even e-voting, e-participation, and so on.

Actually, it is not difficult to predict that digital technology will lead politics in a different direction, and may also give birth to a new political culture. The political ways of the past, such as speeches, podiums, banners, billboards, etc., will soon be abandoned. Every political candidate or executive leader candidate is required to create new forms of political campaigns because they are dealing with a different audience, namely millennial youth who are generally "digital-minded." So, don't think about putting banners on trees or printing flyers and distributing them to people's doors, as we have seen in recent memory. That time is history.

Don't even think about gaining power by taking advantage of identity politics such as religion and ethnicity, creating polarization that divides society, because one of the characteristics of the millennial generation is that they don't like noise. In contrast to the older generation who are conditioned to a transition period full of turmoil, the millennials find it difficult to adapt to such conditions. Their minds are more driven on how to achieve their goals and a future that is still full of question marks. As a digital generation, they will only be familiar with the digital culture that they form themselves, because that is where they live, breathe, and build their future.

Digital culture, born from digital technology, actually encourages a more environmental-friendly life, creates family warmth, humanizes people at work, respects freedom and diversity, builds stronger relationships among family, friends, or colleagues who are separated by distance. However, such a culture should not be taken for granted, will not be born just like that, and will last a long time naturally. We must cultivate it with a positive digital culture, maintain and develop it further so that our lives in today's virtual world will also be that of higher quality.