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What is Cyberculture?

By Sun Hee Yoon
  Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment and business. It is also the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication, such as online communities, online multi-player gaming, social gaming, social media and texting. 
  The earliest usage of the term "cyberculture" was listed in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1963, "In the era of cyberculture, all the plows pull themselves and the fried chickens fly right onto our plates." However, cyberculture is the culture within and among users of computer networks. It may be purely an online culture or span both virtual and physical worlds. This is to say, that cyberculture is a culture endemic to online communities; it is not just the culture that results from computer use, but culture that is directly mediated by the computer.

Qualities of cyberculture


Post image for Impacts of cyberculture on reading and writing  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 culture “mediated by computer screens.”

 - Relies heavily on the notion of information 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 (John C. Dvorak).


Types of Cyberculture

Types 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. Through these types of Cyberculture, Internet language is used widely. Examples include: