I’ve been learning a lot about the cultural anthropology of the internet lately, specifically youtube.com, from Michael Wesch of Kansas State University. I think one of the reasons why I’m so interested in the internet is that I’m totally a ‘net kid.
In 1995, in grade 5, at 10 years old, I was ushered into my mom’s office at the London Public Library, and she put me in front of a computer and showed me http://www.yahoo.com. From there, I spent 3 hours surfing the web, sucking up the information about X-men, Reboot, and various cartoons. Soon afterwards, we got our hook-up and I was surfing the web and sucking as much info as possible on what little time I had on the system.
Fast-forward into Highschool, 2000-2001. I’ve become a master of Napster (before I realized it was wrong), ICQ, and MSN messenger. Geocities is still going fairly strong and I finally make my own website. My website is all about the culture and slang of my highschool. Boom. It’s a hit. It eventually died off, and I’ve tried to find it every since. It’s probably been archived somewhere…
At this point, I’m probably clocking in 3 hours a night on the internet to some capacity.
2004-2008. I’m part of, (and, I believe integral to) an online community that began on a band’s site, and eventually became a whole autonomous internet community. Awesome. But sadly, defunct. At the peak of this time, I’m connected to the internet upwards of 12-13 hours a day.
I say this because the most of my life has been spent connected to the internet. How has this affected my life vs. people even 5 years older than me, and what about the kids 5 years younger than me? What is it like for them?
We live in an increasingly digital society, and we need to understand how this will change communication and culture in (mostly) Western Society. Can people connect at a deep, meaningful level, solely through the internet? How will this affect the learning styles of children as we move from taxonomies (categorizing everything – think old yahoo) to folksonomies (tagging everything, think youtube, amazon, del.icio.us)? What is the effect of no-effort knowledge?
I’ve asked a lot of questions: Questions I hope to answer at some point here. I need to know answers to these, because I think my future may lie within those very questions
I’m going to leave you with this video by Michael Wesch, The Machine is Us/ing Us: