[Air-L] What is web culture?

Charles Ess charles.ess at gmail.com
Thu Jan 17 15:12:04 PST 2008

I guess, even after all the helpful and interesting replies, I'm still not
at all clear as to what "web culture" would be.

It may be that my understanding is too fritzed up by too many years with
Hall and Hofstede - see Jose's most recent reply.
But I'm also missing the basic element: what do we mean by "culture"?  U.S.
anthropologists quietly dropped this term from their conceptual vocabulary
sometime back, because despite a century of observation and theoretical
debate, no working definition seemed to emerge that couldn't be undermined
one way or another.
I'm not quite ready to go that far ...
but in the meantime, some additional resources and an advert

1) a special issue of JCMC was devoted to "Culture and Computer-Mediated
Communication: Toward New Understandings" - exploring both the ways in which
Hofstede and Hall could be used to some effect in analyzing online
communication from a cultural perspective, as well as their limits and
failures (Jose is more than right).
the introduction can be found:

Ess, C., and Sudweeks, F. (2005). Culture and computer-mediated
communication: Toward new understandings. Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication, 11(1), article 9.

No, that's not the advert ...

Forgive my inability to resist noting:
At the upcoming CATaC'08 conference, Jose Abdelnour-Nocera and Connie Kampf
will chair a panel provisionally titled "Beyond Hall, Hofstede, and
'culture', understanding diversity from the top-down to the bottom-up and
I'm absolutely confident the panel will be first-rate, and pretty darned
sure that those interested in matters of culture and the web will find it
inspiring and ground-breaking.

hope this helps,
- charles ess

> 1) How would you define web culture?
> 2) How is it unique, in comparison to other cultures?
> 3) What are some good/classic resources on the web describing and defining
> web culture?
> ... Thanks ... Richard

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