Although the techy lingo made it sometimes tough to read the Nayar reading about cyberculture, I found it fascinating that the author always made a point to say that all that happens in cyberculture happens in the actual culture. Hrm. Better let the author better explain that.
"Cyberculture, cyberspace, and virtual reality remain deeply embedded in very material conditions." - p. 3
"Cybercultures are driven by material considerations of profit and power, and affect people in their real lives. All this goes to show how technology must always be seen as contextual, and treated as technoculture where meanings, values, and functions are integrally associated with the object. Culture and technology are therefore not distinct but linked." - p. 6
For some reason, while reading this, memes kept popping into my mind. If you're not familiar with memes, here's what Wikipedia has to say:
A meme ( //; meem)) is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.
In my mind, the definition to meme is found at the website memebase.com. Basically, people take pictures and put funny captions on them. Yep, that's pretty much it. But the fascinating thing about memes is the culture that has developed around them. There are now over 20 niche sites branched off of memebase.com: LOLdogs, LOLcats, etc. There are also more colorful memes, such as Bachelor and Bachelorette Frog, Good Guy Greg, Depression Dog, and Paranoid Parrot, just to name a few. Some people--like my husband, for example--check membase as often as they check their Facebook account. It truly is a cyberculture.
The interesting thing about memes is that, for the most part, they express elements of the human experience, things that we can all relate to because we've experienced them, too. For example, one of the first memes I ever saw was about Google-ing a symptom you are experiencing and thinking, based on the search results, that you're going to die. Because--and let's be honest--who doesn't Google migraine symptoms and think they're going to die of a brain tumor?