less than cyberculture

One of the goals of my project is to generate anthropologically feasible outlines of concepts like cyberculture. Therefore it is necessary to take the buzz away from those buzzwords, and to gain an overview of how this words have been used and conceptualized in work already done. Quite early on in the game eBusiness consultant and visiting fellow at the Department of Computer Science, Australian National University, Roger Clarke defined cyberculture in his writings. Perfectly matching his aims he reduces it to online interaction. Here are the crucial excerpts:

‘Cyberculture’ might mean many different things to different people. What I mean by it is the dynamics of the current and rapidly mutating electronic environment in which we’re working and playing.

It’s very exciting playing in a space we don’t understand. But unless we temper that excitement, we’re going to be unable to take full advantage of the opportunity to mould a more pleasant future for ourselves. I believe that we need to undertake a serious appraisal of our emergent cyberculture. (↵Clarke 1996: Background)

A culture exists when a group of people exhibits cohesion through the sharing of values, language, rituals and icons. ‘CyberCulture’ is used in this document to refer to the concept of a group or groups of people achieving cohesion by means of the information infrastructure.

For all practical purposes, ‘information infrastructure’ currently means the Internet. That may well change; but if the telcos persist with their broadcast-style ‘cable-TV’ philosophy, with high-bandwidth down and only low-bandwidth up the line, the Internet may remain as the only basis for CyberCulture to develop.

A series of questions present themselves. Are present Internet services adequate to support the development of culture? If not, are enhanced and new services in the offing that will support culture? Is the notion of a single culture relevant; or will we see the emergence of multiple cultures? (↵Clarke 1997: Introduction)

Networking technologies have enabled the emergence of social processes over distance (‘cyberculture’), and communities that are dispersed or ‘virtual’. (↵Clarke 1999: Scene-setters)