Technological determinism vs Cultural determinism

What I started to think whilst looking into the history of the Internet was really about what was causing the developments in technology of the years. The readings discuss a beginning spurred by war and science, but thinking about technological advancements in more recent times I struggled to determine whether they were happening in response to a societal need for these developments, or simply for the sake of ‘progress’. There are two theories related to this notion; ‘technological determinism’, which presumes that technology drives the development of a societies social structure and cultural values, and the opposing ‘cultural determinism’, which states that the cultural needs of a society leads to the further development of technology. In the beginning, the Internet developed in response to a society that sought a more efficient way to communicate with one another, particularly across further distances. But before Twitter was invented, did people really feel the need to share what was on their mind all day long to an audience largely made up of complete strangers? Or has our culture changed due to Twitters invention, so that now we want, and almost feel like we need, to partake in this thought sharing online community. Surely we cannot assume that technology has no place in shaping our culture, but it is not the ‘people’ who, at least for now, develop and control the technology we use. Personally, I can’t make my mind up one-way or the other. Does the Internet develop in response to the cultural needs of society? Or do new Internet advancements develop new cultures and practices amongst societies?

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2 Comments

  1. I think that the internet is developing in response to our needs. For example, humans love to be significant and connected. This can be a big reason as to why social media is used widely across the world. Where we post pictures and receive compliments, when others are notified of your birthday and send you a nice message and when you post an opinion and others agree, we feel that we somehow made a contribution and that others care about us.

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  2. I found your blog post very interesting which made me think more in depth about the topic to myself. I think that new Internet advancements develop new cultures and practices amongst societies. I believe people were sharing what was on their minds before Twitter although not as much as Twitter enhanced that so naturally we are sharing information all the time. I agree with your point of “feel like we need to partake” as I think many people feel they should be doing what everyone else is doing nowadays by sharing and posting things online to complete strangers.

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