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Cyberculture

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Definitions Edit

Cyberculture is

a collection of cultures and cultural products that exist on and/or are made possible by the Internet along with the stories told about these cultures and cultural products.[1]

Manifestations of cyberculture Edit

Manifestations of cyberculture include various human interactions mediated by computer networks. They can be activities, pursuits, games, places and metaphors, and include a diverse base of applications. Some are supported by specialized software and others work on commonly accepted web protocols. Examples include but are not limited to:

Qualities of cyberculture Edit

First and foremost, cyberculture derives from traditional notions of culture, as the roots of the word imply. In non-cyberculture, it would be odd to speak of a single, monolithic culture. In cyberculture, by extension, searching for a single thing that is cyberculture would likely be problematic. The notion that there is a single, definable cyberculture is likely the complete dominance of early cyber territory by affluent North Americans. Writings by early proponents of cyberspace tends to reflect this assumption.

The ethnography of cyberspace is an important aspect of cyberculture that does not reflect a single unified culture. It "is not a monolithic or placeless 'cyberspace'; rather, it is numerous new technologies and capabilities, used by diverse people, in diverse real-world locations."

It is malleable, perishable, and can be shaped by the vagaries of external forces on its users. For example, the laws of physical world governments, social norms, the architecture of cyberspace, and market forces shape the way cybercultures form and evolve. As with physical world cultures cybercultures lend themselves to identification and study.

That said, there are several qualities that cybercultures share that make them warrant the prefix “cyber-“. Some of those qualities are that cyberculture:

  • Is a community mediated by ICTs.
  • Is culture “mediated by computer screens.”
  • Relies heavily on the notion of information exchange and knowledge exchange.
  • Depends on the ability to manipulate tools to a degree not present in other forms of culture (even artisan culture, e.g., a glass-blowing culture).
  • Allows vastly expanded weak ties and has been criticized for overly emphasizing the same.
  • Multiplies the number of eyeballs on a given problem, beyond that which would be possible using traditional means, given physical, geographic, and temporal constraints.
  • Is a “cognitive and social culture, not a geographic one.”
  • Is “the product of like-minded people finding a common ‘place’ to interact."
  • Is inherently more "fragile" than traditional forms of community and culture.

References Edit

  1. Larry Clavette, Social Media and the Air Force II (Nov. 2009).


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