What is Digital Culture?

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I may not look it, but I am 35 years old. This means I grew up with things like Merlin, Speak n’ Spell, and Atari! I surround myself with toys even to this day, including on the Internet. There are people my age, however, who don’t use mobile devices or even the Internet. In this day and age, that’s unheard of!

We are now living in a digital age – the age of information. I’ve been online since 1992, and doing so professionally for 12 years now. This IS my life. I received an email from a guy named Chris, who is taking a course named Digital Culture. They are learning about how digital culture is changing every arena of human experience. For their final project, they were creating a website devoted to digital culture and its influence. One component of the site features thoughts of people like myself, who are immersed in the digital lifestyle. They wanted to know what exactly digital culture means to me.

I think that digital culture is pervasive technology. What I mean by that is just assuming a solution is going to be there. Back in the days of dial up when I would travel, I would have to carry with me some type of telephone cable. I had to dial in to the Internet, and usually pay for the time I used that line. These days, you take it for granted. If you go to a hotel, you expect you can get online. It’s a given, right? You know it’s there!

Could you sit in front of a computer today and use it without an Internet connection? You could – but what would you do? The Internet unlocks so many experiences. It’s there, and it’s pervasive. It actually helps with the flow of things. Imagine not having email, or knowing someone who doesn’t have it. It’s frustrating. You’ve potentially grown up with it, and you’re just used to the convenience of it!

When I think of digital culture, I think of it as a part of ourselves, and an extension of society. What it means to me is a step in mental evolution, and social responsibility. The phrase that explains the idea that technology connects us as humans which I coined is “Human Circuitry” – which is now the theme of my Gnomedex conference.

Digital culture is amazing to me today as it was back when I first began my journey. It gives rise to a different kind of relationship between people – and it’s one that I treasure.

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