Another Sunday afternoon hoping to read Cory Ondreijka's Collapsing Geography more thoroughly, and distracted again, by the actual virtual living out of "Collapsing Geography" that you experience in Second Life, which is of course, where he got the idea in the first place, being part of the team that coded the 3-D virtual world.
In my rentals business in Second Life, my customers reflect the international nature of this virtual world, which is said to have about 40 percent U.S. now and the rest from South America, Europe, and Asia -- but the list of countries is extraordinary (you wonder how somebody is actually logging on from Afghanistan or North Korea, or whether those are joke entries).
Cory's notion seems to me a bit of a conceit. That is, it's a kind of technolibertarian fancy, that the contiguous space supposedly interfering between real-life cultures, when removed in a virtual world and mapped in miniature and with more flexibility (teleporting, flying, IMing, groups), will simply melt away and we can all hold hands and sing "Kumbayah" or something. This is a kind of whimsy that is a sort of "geeks of the world will unite" -- because the geeks on the outer edges of their countries and cultures will find it easier to make bridges to each other and collaborate than the geeks might find even with people within their own country.
I saw this phenomenon in the international human rights movement a lot. The people who were human rights advocates, often members of minorities or classes of people who were victimized, would find it easier to contact, communicate with, and collaborate with people in other countries who matched their status of advocacy, minority, discriminated class, victim. They could talk to *each other* easier than they would with the other classes, let along ruling groups of their countries.
International peace movements (some of them built on the Comintern methods and politics, of course) would also use this hands-across-the-sea that actually amounted to a campfire with themselves. Still, it had its poignancy and attraction, and I think those holding their hands around these campfires who had found each other sometimes drew in larger circles. That's why when E.P. Thompson, who tried to lead the charge against the cold war and its military structures in the 1980s European Nuclear Disarmament campaign, resonated so deeply when he coined its slogan: "We must be faithful not to East or West, but to each other."
I think this phenomenon of hands-across-the-sea can give you a false sense of internationality that in fact might prevent dialogue not only within your own country with people in different groups but also prevent all of you in your new-found internationalism from ever gaining any significant following.