CybercultureHad this thing in my mind for a while. The title of this post sounds too wide and generic. And the word cyberculture is a lot more than cyberculture jargon or how technology shapes and (re)creates a new (form of) culture. Anyway, however, the sole reason I’m posting this is a quote from a Youtube user’s comment on some video. Unless you are not familiar with internet slang, what that user was doing is trolling. Troll(ing) is, to steal from Wikipedia: “An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.” Anyway, this Youtube user says:

This is Internet Wonderland. You can say whatever you want about anything even if you don’t make an idea about what you are talking about.

When it comes to Internet, the phrase freedom of speech has more connotations than it does in real life. Let’s think it this way first: Suppose you were to read this post in a book. You had no chance to reply me here. But now, thanks to the internet and interactivity, you can post a reply and say whatever you want (does not mean there’s no censorship on my part tho:) Anyway, this might sound trivial, but the thing is, the fact that you can reply to posts [whether on (video/photo)blogs, portals, forums, etc] is also related to what Roland Barthes calls the death of the author: We no longer have the authorial power that puts a distance between him/herself. Now, everyone’s an author (or, author is an ugly word: rather blogger, forum user, commentator, etc). We can now respond to someone else in seconds after we see the post, we can disagree, flame the poster and so on. Also, on forums, there is no hierarchy of a thread. The most recent post gets to the top, or a recent reply bumps the post to the top. If it’s old, it’s usually only accessable through search (engines). So, on the internet, it doesn’t really matter if you are Lacan or Alper (that’s me!).

Similar with search engines… I don’t know if they changed it yet as it has been criticized because it was a hierarchical way to do so (or even canonical, maybe), but Google (I don’t know how other search engines work) uses Pagerank, which prioritizes the pages that have more links from other pages to show up before all others in search queries. In other words, your little personal homepage does not have a chance against a huge portal. Compare this idea with small newspapers/magazines and big media companies. Another thing is, you can easily (if you got the money) exploit this Pagerank system by paying companies to increase your Pagerank, and boom, your page is at the top with certain keywords. So, it’s seen undemocratic (democracy is overrated anyway).


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