Internet Culture - David Porter

I found a book in the library titled "Internet Culture" (published in 1997) and enjoyed a lot of its (somewhat outdated) musings on the title subject. Here are all the quotes I made note of, mostly to do with the topics of community and identity on the internet:

David Porter
  • "The culture that the Net embodies, rather, is a product of the peculiar conditions of virtual acquaintance that prevail online, a collective adaptation to the high frequency of anonymous, experimental, and even fleeting encounters familiar to anyone who has ventured into a newsgroup debate." - pg. XI
  • "The majority of one's correspondents in cyberspace, after all, have no bodies, no faces, no histories beyond what they may choose to reveal." - pg. XI
  • "In a medium of disembodied voices and decontextualised points of view, a medium, furthermore, beholden to the fetishization of speed, the experience of ambiguity and misreading is bound to be less an exception than the norm." - pg. XI-XII
  • "What continues most powerfully to draw people to the Internet is its power and novelty as a medium of person-to-person communication." - pg. XII
  • "As participants adjust to the prevailing conditions of anonymity and to the potentially disconcerting experience of being reduced to a detached voice floating in an amorphous electronic void, they become adept as well at reconstituting the faceless words around them into bodies, histories, lives: an imaginative engagement by which they become fully vested co-producers of the virtual worlds that they inhabit, and the boundaries distinguishing "real" from "virtual" experience begin to fade." - pg. XII
  • "Where only electronic fragments are to be had, a more substantial being must be fleshed out in a reader's mind with all the familiar markers by which he or she might be "known." In a medium that presents such boundless opportunities for experimenting with one's public personae, the "accuracy" of these imaginary projections would seem a matter of little concern. Far more important is the fact that they arise consistently and even necessarily as a very condition of the medium's appeal. The defining interaction of Internet culture lies not in the interface between the user and the computer, but rather in that between the user and the collective imagination of the vast virtual audience to whom one submits an endless succession of enticing, exasperating, evocative figments of one's being." - pg. XIII
  • "How does the Internet affect our understanding and experience of community? What is the sociology of so-called virtual communities and the precise nature of the communality they claim to embody?" - pg. XIV
  • "What can be said about the psychology of virtual personhood? What are the implications of anonymity and role-playing online - are identity, agency, and subjectivity reconfigured in their cyberial incarnations?" - pg. XIV
  • "What does communication become in this new cultural dimension? What effects does the Internet have on our practice or conception of reading and writing, and how does it color social interactions between individuals and within groups?" - pg. XIV
  • "...anthropologist Mizuko Ito focuses on the fragile and even collapsing boundaries between the physical and the non-physical, real and virtual, machine and organism so characteristic of these intensely consuming environments." - pg. XV
Virtual Communities
An Archaeology of Cyberspaces
Virtuality, Community, Identity
Shawn P. Wilbur
"We use words as tools, as individuals and as scholars. On the internet we use little else. Whatever else Internet culture might be, it is still largely a text-based affair. Words are not simply tools which we can use in any way we see fit. They come to us framed by specific histories of use and meaning, and are products of particular ideological struggles." - Subheading: The Right Tools for the Job, pg. 6
  • "I suspect there is some truth to the suggestion that the experience of dislocation in time and space - an effect of immersion in Internet culture - can help individuals to see their own identities in a different perspective." - Subheading: The I in Cyberspace, pg. 11
  • "The persona that appears in cyberspace is potentially more fluid than those we assume in other aspects of our lives, in part because we can consciously shape it." - Subheading: The I in Cyberspace, pg. 12
  • "But then the phone rings at midnight and a strange voice speaks your name, or a letter arrives in the mail, or you find yourself with an airline ticket to spend the week in a distant city, crashing on the couch of someone you have shared text with for a year but have never - that is, never "truly," as your friends will remind you - met." - Subheading: The I in Cyberspace, pg. 14
  • "For those who doubt the possibility of online intimacy, I can only speak of births and deaths that have shaken the list in a variety of ways - of hours sitting at my keyboard with tears streaming down my face, or convulsed with laughter." - Subheading: Follow the Bouncing Donuts, pg. 18
Community and Identity in The Electronic Village
Derek Foster
  • "Increasing numbers of people, upon discovering the Internet, are enamored by the technology's ability to publicly legitimate their self-expression and by the freedom it provides from traditional space and time barriers." - pg. 23
  • "Solipsism, or the extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's own inclinations, is potentially engendered in the technology." - pg. 26
  • "That which holds a virtual community intact is the subjective criterion of togetherness, a feeling of connectedness that confers a sense of belonging." - pg. 29

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