Cyberculture

February 16, 2008 at 9:16 pm 3 comments

This is a word that I throw around casually. But if viewed critically, it’s almost an oxymoron. Cyber: of, relating to, or involving computers or computer networks (as the Internet), Culture: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group (both definitions from m-w.com).

 It’s not hard to see that all things cyber have become part of our culture. If I take a step back though, this wasn’t the case even 5 years ago. What happened to move technology past efficiency tools to becoming integrated into culture? This isn’t a rhetorical question – I really want to know the answer! Well, OK – I do have one theory. Web 2.0.

Wikipedia says (at least as of this writing) “Web 2.0 is a trend in World Wide Web technology, and web design, a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies, which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing among users.” They key is facilitating creativity, collaboration, and sharing. For me, when we stopped using computers as passive ‘users’ and started using them to create, cyber began influencing our culture.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but was led to write about it today because of a Facebook group I just discovered. It’s called “I love cutting edge Judaism” and rather than being a religion, culture, or society group it’s listed under “Type: Internet & Technology – Cyberculture.” As one who works with congregations and technology, I’m somewhat sheepish to admit I missed this transition. I’ve been focused (and writing about) technology as a tool for congregations with little to say about how technology is redefining congregational culture. It is obviously redefining religious culture.

The group has a YouTube video listed that I think may be the best explanation of Web 2.0 I’ve seen (heard, read, listened to, etc.). Kudos to Michael Wesch at Kansas State University!


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Entry filed under: Religion, Synagogue Studies. Tags: , , .

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