Updating Cyber Times: It’s Time to Bring Our Culture Into Cyberspace

February 26, 2006

Barry asked me to contribute to this a long time ago, but never said what it was for. He’s always up to ‘no good’.

Updating Cyber Times: It’s Time to Bring Our Culture Into Cyberspace
I like to listen to classic rock on the radio: the good stuff from the 19150s through the 1970s (i.e., Bill Haley, Rock Around the Clock through The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers). One day, Elvis’ Return to Sender: Address Unknown came on. It jarred me: who sends letter mail anymore? It also resonated, because an email had just come bouncing back, marked “User Unknown”. The juxtaposition flashed an “A Ha” at me, leading me to realize how much our technology and social relations have changed subtly in the past 30 years.
So I decided to translate song titles into contemporary cyber times. Movie and TV titles –– and other snippets of – started flashing at me, and these joined the list. Most are modern updatings. However, some are just for fun, as in 409/419 and Godzilla/Mozilla.
In one situation, this diversion has turned out to be useful. When Jennifer Kayahara and I were stuck for an opening to our forthcoming Journal of Computer Mediated Communication paper (“Searching for Leisure High and Low”), I thought of the refrain to The Coasters’ Searchin’ to represent traditional pre-Internet search behavior.

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