In Counterculture to Cyberculture, Turner discusses the evolution of computers and technology from the 1940’s-1980’s. He describes how the technology has changed from primarily Governmental/military use during World War 2 to the beginning of individual use in 1984 when Apple computers first advertises their Macintosh.
Along with the changes and advances in technology, Turner also discusses the individuals who played vital roles during the counterculture movement and decades that followed. One important figure at the very beginning was Stewart Brand. Brand was involved in New Communalism, a counterculture social movement, which was “devoted to the ongoing pursuit of increased man-computer integration” and focused on the collaboration and sharing of ideas and information (Turner, p. 104).
The counterculture movement and involvement with computer technology wanted to get away from mainstream culture and create an environment were ideas and information were free and flowing. However, the movement eventually collapsed. It is interesting to observe, that this lead to the development and evolution of the Internet we know today, which is ironically, a huge part of mainstream culture.
Even though the New Communalism movement collapsed, their aspirations for collaboration and sharing of ideas can be seen throughout many online media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
In the book, Here Comes Everybody, Shirky explains how platforms such as Facebook have allowed people to come together and speak out. He states, “Consumers now talk back to businesses and speak out to the general public, and they can do so en masse and in coordinated ways” (Shirky, p. 179).
While it is clear that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have the ability to connect people and facilitates an environment for collaboration and the dispersal of information, do the masses actually use it for that purpose? Originally Facebook was for staying connected to friends and family, has it shifted into a more political interface? If so, does political/activism involvement online transpire into actions?