Online Sharing, Changing Culture

Marshall Mcluhan believes that extensions, or new technology that enhances and expands a limited human function, influences culture. Social media then, as an extension of physical human interaction, could certainly change our culture, although he says there is a risk of over-extension, meaning there are potential downsides to over-use.

Rachel Botsman’s TED talk on collaborative consumption claims that social networking sites have wired us to share, which is bringing us closer together and allowing for massive collaboration. She explains that social media and real-time have created a large-scale village-style connectedness by demanding trust from strangers, and has allowed sharing to become easier and more efficient than owning. Social networking has extended our ability to connect, share, and trade, which has helped to begin a shift from a commodity owning culture to an open access culture.

Vincent Miller’s article “New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture” argues that online media culture is becoming increasingly dominated by routine networking rather than information and dialogue. He describes social media as useful for data collection, promoting consumerism, and maintaining networking. Miller is also describing a shift in culture but his point of view probably leans more towards the pitfalls of an over-extended use of social media where the content shared is no longer as meaningful as having and sustaining a network.

From Botsman or Miller’s perspective though, social networking as an extension of the traditional human interaction is changing online culture and physical culture.

Miller, Vincent. “New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture.” Convergence 14.4 (2008): 387-400. Web. 25 September 2013

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