The Facebook Says: Culture & Technology

Graphic Type: blue background with white words "the facebook says"

SUBMERGED WITHIN THE ACOUSTIC TONES OF YOUR DIAL-UP INTERNET, 14 July — On Thursday I asked a few Facebook Friends a question about Culture. Here are the responses so far. Thank you so much to everyone who’s participated.

In a March talk at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, columnist Virginia Heffernan opined,

“Every year I become more convinced that technology is actually the masculine form of the word culture; that if you want to talk to men about culture you tell them you’re talking about technology and they’re suddenly calm.”

What is “technology” for you?
What is “culture” for you?
How are they the same or different in your mind?

For each response below, you can click on anyone’s FB profile pix to see it full size.
Also, at the bottom of this long post is a “thumbnail gallery,” if you click one of those you’ll enter “slide show” mode and can use arrow keys to scroll through all the FB images.

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jump down to a specific response link to their website
Apple Lee Apple Lee
Betty Ai Tureaud Betty Ai Tureaud
C James Fagan C James Fagan
Erynn Richardson Erynn Richardson
Lennart Nilsson Lennart Nilsson
Mat Gleason Mat Gleason
Megan Geckler Megan Geckler
Pyewacket Kazyanenko Pyewacket Kazyanenko
Rosalind Helfand Rosalind Helfand
Vanessa Bartlett Vanessa Bartlett
Yordie Sands Yordie Sands


Screen Cap of Apple Lee's Facebook profile photo
You are crazy!

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Screen Cap of Betty Ai Tureaud's Facebook cover
I’ll boil it down to this, boys love toys deep inside there is a desire to do things that can help in the hunt for more toys.
For me, technology is a washing machine where I can make clean clothes and witheout getting tired.

Culture is the interaction between humans, is whether they use technology ( toy) to interact are not the most important, but modern communications make it easier to share our culrure.

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Screen Cap of C James Fagan's Facebook Timeline cover
Here’s my ‘answer’

Technology is the pen and paper, Culture is the need for the pen paper.

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Screen Cap of Erynn Richardson's Facebook Timeline cover
the idea of technology vs. culture has become somewhat of a binary opposition. (other oppositions that persist include male vs. female, good vs. evil, man vs. nature.)
however, i find that the two cannot be in opposition with one another because they are, essentially, part of one another. technology is part of culture and culture is part of technology. to try to equate gender to each idea only perpetuates the concept of them being separate when, in reality, they are too intertwined to ever be separate.

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Screen Cap of Lennart Nilsson's Facebook timeline cover
Technology enhances the cultural rendering of anything, including art! Pure and simple 🙂

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Screen Cap of Mat Gleason's Facebook Profile Pix
Technology is what we say when we are really saying “Substitute for religion” and culture is what we say when we are really saying “Substitute for the congregation of believers”

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Screen Cap of Megan Geckler's Facebook Timeline cover
Hi Vanessa,

I think that technology is an aspect of advanced culture, but they are not consistently interchangeable. Maybe at JPL or Google, but not in our daily lives. I think that perhaps eventually we will be so plugged in that our culture, or a grand majority of it, is experienced digitally and would therefore be technological by default.

Culture implies a more broadly experienced collection of art, dance, music, etc.


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Screen Cap of Pyewacket Kazyanenko's Facebook Timeline cover
I wouldn’t want to go into notions of weather technology is ‘masculine’ or ‘Feminine’ . Thats an individuals, bias according to personal experience, interpretation.Its rather like saying ‘i believe technology of today is very ‘cat’ and not very ‘dog’.
‘Man becomes calm’ seems to be plucked out of the blue and i find this quite an annoying statement.
Technology is a Transvestite!!and culture the petri dish with the other bacteria and viral entities i bang up against.

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Screen Cap of Rosalind Helfand's Facebook profile pix
Hi Vanessa!

Interesting questions.

Here’s my response:

I see technology as a driving human need to communicate, use tools, and explore in ever new and expanding ways that results in the invention of new systems, devices, and applications.

In response to Heffernan’s comment, I don’t think technology is being used by men to replace culture, but I do think it’s become a dominant term (in primarily male dominated–I’ll give her that) news and publications that are dangerously divorced from the concept of culture.

Culture determines what technologies we choose to develop and how we use those technologies. For instance, if our culture is driven by consumerism and the desire to dominate resources to that end, we’re likely to invest in war technologies.

Culture is a many layered complex topic that is informed by the need for a common basis for communication more than anything else–and then by our individual family traditions and religion, our local and national histories, our environment, our driving economic forces, the media we create and so much more–it’s a binding soup humans create to live and relate within.

I believe we should frequently examine the complexity of our cultural motivations and how that applies to our development and use of all technologies in all of their applications for better or for worse. Without this examination, we will continue to discuss technological developments in a false vacuum–an ultimately self-destructive cultural behavior.

Rosalind Helfand

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Screen Cap of Vanessa Bartlett's Facebook Timeline cover
Well, its interesting that you set up a rather disturbing gender stereotype in the first part of the question and then abandon it in the second. Where are we going with the culture = feminine and technology = masculine dichotomy? Does yo’ man Virginia Heffernan think that fellas are not smart/open enough to deal with the word ‘culture’? The quote is taken out of context so I can’t comment further, but it sounds dubious to me.

In ‘Civilization and its Discontents’ Freud blames technological innovation for the malaise that he perceives to be at the heart of the social domain. The thrust of his argument is that technology is driving less intimate human relationships, impacting on the culture of relations.

The more pertinent question for me is: Does culture create technology, or does technology create culture? What do you think?

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Screen Cap of Yordie Sands Facebook Timeline Cover
I just made it to “Here’s the “Question” for July”… almost got lost in my endless stack of things to think about. hehe

The notion that technology is “the masculine form of the word culture” is a bit of a stretch for me. The basic idea that guys feel more at ease, no question, but I guess my knowledge base is too scattered and random for me to form a conclusion.

“What is ‘technology’ for you?”
“What is ‘culture’ for you?”
“How are they the same or different in your mind?”

ok… these are right off the top of my head:

For me, technology is about applied mechanics, electronics, engineering and things of that nature. When I think about words in this culture, I think about explaining how things function.

Culture on the other hands is about how people express themselves through all their abilities and how that expression is valued by others in a society. I think if I really, really thought about this I’d have a more enlightened response. heh

I think I’ll go crazy if I try to explain how these concepts are different. hehe

You ask very hard questions.

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click on a thumbnail below to enter “slide-show” mode and use arrow keys to scroll thru pix

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As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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