Posted by: sarahmeyers | November 2, 2007

Web Celebs Make Hybrid Culture

iWozIf Confucius were alive today he would hail the Internet as the greatest tool to enable the “perspective of the people.” It’s allowing for a new form of democracy from what we know of current democracies around us. The people’s voices can be heard through organization by leaders and as this all emerges with the help of new web tools we begin to see how Internet people are paving the way for an Internet hybrid culture.

People argue democracy is in the best interest of the people by the most fundamental reasons. Democracy originated in Greece where the great philosophers were the voices and leaders of all the people. Hellenic Greece was the time when democracy was culturally adapted by the people and for the people and Greece was at her highest in world domination. Great leaders came about because of large congregations and organization to engage in the teachings and conversations of the great minds such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates.

Democracy Now is an example of an organization that is working to unite one voice online for a change, but there are more in tech who are shaping how we get our information that is changing our lives. While technology advances culture so do great minds. Hybrid cultures may be large and powerful- like in the Hellenic period between the Greeks and Jews- or like Cnet the technology news empire.

The hybrid culture rejects the mainstream and tends to stick to underground cultural sources. In the democratization of media, citizen journalism is shifting from newspapers printed to newspapers online. According to Gawker media’s charts The New York Times is the number one fastest growing destinations online. Gawker media, Nick Denton’s media network, is the fourth fastest growing publication online. Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble are fine examples of two voices that have spurred off of culture yet find a vast culture developing around them as their number of visitors continue to grow.
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The Internet is a perfect place for this international hybrid culture because hybrids are not confined to any race, nationality, religion, gender, shape, size or other factor. The international culture online influences the culture’s perspective. We are able to engage in teachings and meaningful conversations, generally around one person. Leaders have emerged to gather a large following by many who want to know answers or embrace the culture. Steve Wozniak, aka Woz, is a great mind and has contributed to the intelligent conversations and statements from his early years on. He has always been a teacher through actions- never to approach others in order to enlighten them- people come to him. He is the author of the book iWoz and with the help of Gina Smith he explains how he went from computer geek to cult icon. He has a large following on popular voting sites like Digg and gadget sites Engadget and Gizmodo, but no need to go to those websites to find him, you can check him out at his own website: Woz.org.

Hybrid culture is described as an emerging underground culture not defined as a subculture. In a recent discussion between a few of my regular readers, Brando writes, “There is no definition of culture that is actually set in stone. The definition I choose to abide by is “shared, learned behavior”. The beauty of culture is that it can be as specific or broad as you want it to be. An example of culture would be those who accept technology and those who reject it. some people still don’t know what a blog is. Those people are a subculture of a broader culture. Each member of the culture and subculture is part of at least one other culture that would separate that person from the aforementioned culture. It’s a giant web of shared learned behavior.”

Someone else writes in from the Netherlands to agree, “there is no strict definition of culture, but I am not convinced to choose the “shared and learned behavior” because it leads to atomization, or a web, you name it. I reckon that if you take a certain phenomenon, a shared behavior, let’s say a group of people reading Sarah’s blog represents a culture of key values recognized by others who may or may not read Sarah’s blog. But they see it as a culture- a blogging culture or an Internet culture.”

What will the culture create? It’s what cultures leave behind that will leave an impact on future generations. Steve Wozniak’s personal computer will live on and Apple will be one of the icons they look back to describe our time. What will they say about the international counter culture, the freedom of choice and the voice of the masses uniting, historically, for the fist time? Will the hybrid Internet culture fade out or will it evolve into something far greater and more advanced? This is the time of podcasters and ipods! Live it.


Responses

  1. Excellent article, Sarah. I agree, the video blogging and podcasting are the next step. But, it will be short lived. The live interactive and instantaneous broadcasting that you have pioneered with others is the future. The recent earthquake in California was known to me the moment it happened. It was on the news channels 30 minutes later. That’s way too long for something that important.

  2. Yes Bobby- a half hour is way too long. In emergency situations we need immediate contact with our loved ones and contact to organize the chaos. The interactive web tools that come will be what really changes the future.

  3. Your blog is really very informative.

  4. Thanks Katze. I looked at your blog and saw a cute kitten. aww.


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