Apr 1, 2011

Killing or fortifying the culture?

Marshall McLuhan said on his book, Medium is the massage that “the wheel is the extension of the foot. The book is the extension of the eye. Clothing is the extension of the skin. The electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system (…) When these ratios change, men change.” What about in the present time? Did we change? Today, what is the extension of the eye? Is it the book? What is the extension of our thinking? Internet?

With the starting point on “Is today’s internet killing our culture”, I intend to explore the dichotomous positions/ideas presented on this online debate, which was performed by Andrew Keen and Emily Bell. Emily Bell defends the inclusion of the user on the Internet, giving him an active paper in what can be assumed by a “democratization” of the Web, where the technology appears like the key to the proliferation of information. On the other side, there is the doubt about the democratic use of Internet. Andrew Keen defines Internet as “chaotic” and the declination of the Man as an element of reception of information.

The Internet appears as a part of a culture evolutionary process, almost like an answer to its desires and wishes – the necessity of communication, information and knowledge. With a period of living shorter than two decades, the use of Internet expanded by hundreds of millions users all over the world. These users, rapidly, get familiar with the technology and they began using it for every kind of activities. After its global acceptance, the Internet have been changing dramatically our quotidian and affecting our traditional concepts of culture. The new technologies, more and more accessible, are making easier the tasks on other times complex revolutionizing the way information is published, transmitted, searched and accessed.

I pretend, on this essay, to show how Internet changed our view about the world. How the culture of Internet has become the new counter culture too, which opposes the mainstream and the conditioning of the general order. The shock is inevitable and the critics and discuss about our future/end is quite common. “Is internet killing our culture” (Andrew Keen, 2007)


KEEN, Andrew, BELL, Emily (2007), Is today’s Internet killing our culture? , August 10, 2007


RUSHKOFF, Douglas (1994), Cyberia


CARR, Nicholas (2005), The Amorality of Web 2.0, Nicholas Carr’s Blog, October 3, 2005


CROW, David (2003), Left to Right: The culture shift from words to pictures, Ava Publishing, 2003

POSTMAN, Neil (1985), Amusing ourselves to death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Methuen

MCLUHAN, Marshall (1962), The Gutenberg Galaxy: The making of Typographic Man, University of Toronto Press

MCLUHAN, Marshall, FIORE, Quentin(1996), Medium is the Massage, Penguin Books

VIRILIO, Paul (2000), The Information Bomb, Verson

MANOVITCH, Lev (2001), The Language of New Media, The MIT Press