Thursday, April 3, 2008

Intro

The World Wide Web has created something no other advancement of any kind has before: a worldwide community. And a community, it is.

While there are millions of sub-sects across the Web, those of us who login regularly are part of what's come to be called "The Online Community." The younger amongst us are known as "The Internet Generation," even though cellphones are their preferred method of communication. And though almost none of us can agree on anything, the fact of the matter is that a very distinct community and culture has evolved rapidly since the Web's establishment in its current form (commercialized and for use by the private-sector).

Though cyberculture has invaded every facet of our lives - from television to movies, literature and music, the world's workforce and economy, fashion, our everyday speech and vernacular, ad infinitum - the real cyberculture exists within the screen at which you are looking and the real Netizens are those of us who actively and regularly participate in the smaller communities, develop websites and memberships, contribute to wikis, write and maintain blogs, and otherwise live virtual lives. We shape and create the information you receive and entertainment you see online. While it is reckless to say that we control the Web, it is accurate to note that, without us, there wouldn't be one; while larger corporations and companies provide access to, and forums for, the Web, as well as other Internet functions (e-mail, FTP, more), we Netizens - the regular and most active users online - create, edit, and maintain the content; without us, there would still be a Yahoo!, there just wouldn't be anything on it.

While anyone who "Googles" something or uses e-mail is generally considered part of "The Online Community," the actual Online Community is comprised of us Netizens who literally live online: we work online, shop online, network socially and communicate online, meet friends and collaborators online, meet dates and significant others online and have "virtual" sex with people we never physically meet, our entertainment venues exist online - our lives are online; we live online.

And we wouldn't have it any other way; we enjoy our virtual lives and constantly seek to maintain and improve them.

Our MySpace profiles tell friends and potential friends who we are as individuals; our LinkedIn profiles tell potential co-workers and employers about our careers, professional accomplishments, and work experience; our eBay and Amazon accounts allow us to purchase whatever we want or need whenever we want or need it - regardless of whether or not the local shops carry it or are open when we want or need to buy it; our e-mail accounts keep us in touch with our friends and family and our spam-e-mail accounts collect ads we never asked to receive; we game online, watch TV and movies online, listen to music online; we socialize online - to the extent that we meet sex partners and significant others and move them in or marry them; we research where we want to move, what we want to purchase, where we want go, people we've just met or known for a lifetime, actors from movies we're watching while we're watching them - along with the movies themselves; we memorialize our thoughts and feelings in online journals - almost everything we are and everything we do exists online.

We are the ones who develop and dictate the real cyberculture and it is my job, as The Cyberculturalist, to document and discuss it all - or at least as much as I care to.

But I'm no mere historian. I am a guide: an armchair sociologist, a trend-watcher, a trendsetter, a journalist, a reviewer, an editor, an advisor, an observer. I am an expert on neither the Web nor the Internet, so I am not here to give you an "expert" opinion or "expert" advice on anything; I am simply a guy whose every waking moment is spent online. And I have been online for over 15 years, I ran a BBS before that, I run The Weirding website now, and I am a member of most every, major website across the Web - as well as a host of those less well-known; I have been around just about every site, function, and application worth finding online for a very long time.

I listen to the radio online; I watch TV and movies online; I order the books I cannot read online and movies I cannot watch online through online stores; I order my groceries online; I play games online; I met most of the friends I talk to on a regular basis, as well as the last few people I went out with, online; and I pay for all of it with money I make online. I will share tips, tricks, advice, and sites that I find or discover on my own, as well as discuss all aspects of cyberculture and, along the way, create a living historical document of the Web's development and direction for posterity and reference.

But more than that, The Cyberculturalist will be an actual Internet and cyberculture resource - not exactly a portal (since you can't create your own spaces or profiles or access your online information from here), but a singular resource which will point you to other great online resources, portals, sites, and functions that will enhance and improve your online experience and efficiency. And if this sounds like a sales-pitch, it really isn't; my firm belief is that computers and the Internet should make things easier to accomplish, and that this is not presently the case, nor has it ever been.

As a Webmaster, Problogger, and former Sysop, I suppose I am amongst the haut monde of the online set, but only when compared to your average user; as a struggling online worker (I certainly don't make millions a year - nor even hundreds of thousands!), I am no "Web-Made Millionaire" or anything like that. I am, in fact, just as much a Netizen as are you - though probably more active and regular. In fact, you could say I "have no life," but that would be a total lie; I have a very rich, very vibrant, very active - and extremely busy - life.

Online.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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