E-Culture: Renewing Cultural Ties

Indian culture, American culture, Music culture, Pop culture are some of the many cultures that have taken shape in the fast growing world. And here comes one more culture E-culture which is still in its infancy, given the great potential that it holds for the future.

E-culture is not just ‘something to do with computers.’ The cultural implications of this culture are far greater than the mere instrumental exploitation of technical opportunities. It is all about a new, digital dimension; a new and – until recently – undreamt-of medium with which existing culture must seek to interact and in which new culture is being generated.

This new culture had engulfed the whole world in itself just with a wink of an eye. It had opened the door for new forms of expression, how the cultural heritage is presented and made accessible the way in which new media and information technology are practically incorporated and utilized in society. Also it encompasses the rise of new media, spearheaded by the Internet. In short, this form of culture affects the entire spectrum of culture production, distribution bringing with it promise of cultural renewal.

E-culture also plays an important role in the development of networks between people and organizations. Because this process is not bound by space or time, national boundaries no longer play a role, which means digitalization is a catalyst for the ongoing process of internationalization. Few years back our social activity was determined by the number of people whom we met and got in contact with through meetings, letters and telephonic conversations. But today a drastic shift has been made with social activity triggering even if a person is sitting alone in a room with a computer, with the availability of easy to use means like innumerable social networking sites- Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Hi5 and the list is increasing fast. The contact list in our cell phones is not a proof of our social activeness instead number of friends online some being known and some being unknown determine the new social circle we are a part of.  The development of the new culture gives way to new ways of living but still the old ways continue to coexist in the digital age, although their interrelationship is what changes.

One more culture that E-culture promises to bestow in front of us is the visual culture. Almost all consumer and leisure domains are to some extent affected by our growing desire for a swift interchange of stimuli, exciting stories, or thrilling experiences. In the real world, a visit to a shop seems to be gaining the same status as a visit to a funfair, museum or cinema. Catering to our urging demands the technology have provided us with 3-D movie watching experiences and E-shopping experiences providing 3-D view to the user of the shopping store he wants to shop from. Today everything can be expressed in bits and bytes and in combinations of text, images and sound. Once visual and other information exists in a digital format, it can be presented on various platforms and made accessible to many different categories of users.

Other examples include: internet bookshops; the presentation of, music, poetry, and other forms of artistic expression on the web; and the digitalization of the entire broadcasting process. The rise of visual and experiential culture has gone hand in hand with a reassessment of tranquility, tradition and originality. The Internet, with its many niches, personalized and interactive services, and communities, both exemplifies and fuels this culture making it more appealing especially to the younger generation.

But opinions vary as to whether the sum total of this development is negative being socially less cohesive and less controlled or positive providing more opportunities for interactions and freedom of choice. But with this culture spreading and gaining more and more of acceptance even if once it was a fad now it is getting converged in the realm of reality. It has become an inevitable process that has provoked its own response whose implications is getting difficult to assess. So the need lies in devising ways to keep a check on this ongoing process as a part of the responsibility that it imparts on all those being a part of this culture to differentiate between using or misusing the activities that this culture professes.

Manisha Rana

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilyaericlee/386750120/]