Week 4/5: Hackers Today

Hello everyone and welcome to my 4th blog post on cyber culture,  This week we focused in on Hackers. In class we disused the once perceived image of a bored teenager hacking into myspace, has now turned into a subculture with an annual underground hacking conference “Def Con”.

To dive into dive into this topic a little further I have researched the following TEXx – Top hacker shows us how it’s done by  Pablos Holman, in this TEDx talk we see how easy even our credit cards can get hacked!

When hacking was first introduced in film and television, it was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today. The threat landscape was years away from becoming what it is now, so hacking and cybercrime wasn’t quite the household name it is today, therefore, there was a wide unfamiliarity of it within the public eye.

Directors and writers have struggled with how to portray hacking in film simply because the act of hacking in real life is not very interesting or visually compelling. It’s just lines of code scrolling down a computer screen. In order to keep the viewer entertained they used cheesy visuals and animations to portray the mysterious act of hacking. Unfortunately, the viewer didn’t really learn anything, and hacking was used more as a device to help move the plot forward.

As cybercrime is now grabbing major news headlines, the entertainment industry is trying to jump in on the popularity of the subject, however it’s still not terribly accurate. As a

cyber culture at work

result, we have seen an influx of hacking-centric television shows popping up across our screens.

In the past few years we have seen television shows such as CSI: Cyber, Person of Interest, Scorpion, Numb3rs, Mr. Robot and more. While many of these have stepped away from the cheesy visuals, and have accepted the fact that hacking is what it is, most still don’t portray the real reality of cybercriminals- it’s much more than frantically typing keystrokes across a computer keyboard.

Can Hackers be hero’s?

In class we disced how hackers have changed technohgy we use today, If a hackers only intent is to fix a flawed system then they aren’t doing anything wrong. In my opinion they play a vital role within the technological world. Hackers expose flawed systems that others think are impenetrable. People are providing personal information over the internet through websites that are “secure” but every so often you here a major company had a

Credit: QuickMeme

security breach. They are essential to keeping classified information safe. This goes further than just online shopping, it also goes for national security. If a hacker can break into government files then that system needs to be fixed. In my personal opinion professional hackers who are capable of breaking into the most secured systems need to work for the government because they need those skills.

Therefore are hackers doing something wrong if they only want to perfect flawed systems? I think it’s an ethical question, and the tricky problem that comes into play is that the hacker is the one deciding that the system is flawed. What gives her/him the right to decide that? We have a LOT of flawed systems out there, but perfection oftentimes is a relative thing. If we were to say, “yeah, as long as they’re trying to fix something, then it’s fine” you get into the trouble of things that you don’t think are broken being fixed. Plus, it puts the power in the hands of the people with the “weapon,” that is, the ability to hack.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, tune in next week as we dive further into the cyber culture world


Week 1: What is Culture?

I am currently taking an interesting module in cyber culture, as a weekly assignment I will be writhing blogs on what I have learnt in each class.

Credit: Krayz of walzark

To begin with, what is culture?

“Culture, or civilization, taken in its broad, ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” – Tylor, Primitive Culture (1871) What is Cyber Culture? Cyber Culture is the culture that has emerged from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment and business. It is also the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication, such as online communities, online multi-player gaming, social gaming, social media and texting.

Is Technology changing culture?

Technology changes communication methods, it makes people live in two worlds, it allows for instant delivery of entertainment and news and it allows for easy political discourse. In some cases, technology makes for a more reclusive culture because people can simply

credit: Thinkist

explore the world from their computer instead of actually going out into it. Technology is allowing more people to work from home. Co-workers now communicate via email and co-workers from all over the world are now able to easily communicate with each other. Technology also allows for people to quickly access information and learn. Studies also suggest it could reinforce a greater sense of community.

Has Technology always changed culture?

Since the smartphone boom put tiny computers in hundreds of millions of pockets, there’ve been countless critics eager to point out that invasive technology is changing our lives for the worse, and worse, changing who we are. Turning us into selfish, anti-social automatons, they say, again and again and again.

Here’s a group of fine young lads hanging out in Chicago in 1907, enjoying the paper. Look familiar?

Students on their phones in hallway waiting for class
Are students really unsociable today ?

Looks an awful lot like these college students killing time, right?


And while there’s no doubt the world is changing…. …our behavior remains very much the same.

Need more proof? The webcomic xkcd collected a whole host of quotes from the past 150 years that show how we’ve always been afraid of change.

Here’s one I found very interesting very!

“The art of conversation is almost a lost one. People talk as they ride bicycles — at a rush — without pausing to consider their surroundings…What has been generally understood as cultured society is rapidly deteriorating into basebsss and voluntary ignorance.Capturegnm.PNG The profession of letters is so little understood, and so far from being seriously appreciated, that…Newspapers are full, not of thoughtful honestly expressed public opinion on the affairs of the nation, but of vapid personalities interesting to none save gossips and busy bodies.

-Marie Corelli, Free Opinions, Freely Expressed, 1905.

So if you think we’re terrible now, it’s probably only because you didn’t realize we were terrible before.

Lastly to discuss, What about cultural Lag?

Technology, in social change probably received most emphasis in the work of William F. Ogburn. Whisch we discussed in class. It was Ogburn, also, who was chiefly responsible for

credit: William F Ogburn Credit: TOMK Pinterest

the idea that the rate of invention within society is a function of the size of the existing culture base. He saw the rate of material invention as increasing with the passage of time. Ogburn believed that material and non-material cultures change in different ways.


Change in material culture is believed to have a marked directional or progressive character. This is because there are agreed-upon standards of efficiency that are used to evaluate material inventions.

Credit: AssemblePane.net

I found a very interesting example on line that explains this:  In relation to airplanes, we keep working to develop planes that will fly, higher and faster, and carry more payloads on a lower unit cost. Because airplanes can be measured against these standards, inventions in this area appear rapidly and predictably. In the area of non-material culture, on the other hand there often are no such generally accepted standards. Whether one prefers a carrots, broccoli , or Brussel sprouts , for example, is a matter of taste, and styles. Similarly, in institutions such as government and the economic system there are competing forms of styles, Governments may be dictatorships, oligarchies, republics or democracies.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, please feel free to leave a comment, tune in next week where we look at social media in Cyber Culture, bye for now! 🙂

Week 3: Forget social networks, think social impact

Hello everyone and welcome to this weeks blog post. this week in class we focused on 140528083034-google-entrepreneur-activist-wael-ghonim-time-gala-2011-620xasocial media to make a change with the positive use of activism.

We looked at a very interesting TEDx talk where we saw how Wael Ghonim anonymously
created a Facebook page which helped spark the Egyptian revolution.

I have chosen to focus on a talk by This talk was given by  Celine Schillinger at a TEDx . We see here an inspiring story of an actual, positive transformation powered by social networks.

Imagine living in a country where with one single bit of a mosquito and you could die. Through the disease Dengue.  Half a million people contact this disease each year and are hospitalized.

So how do we make this less troublesome fore those people? Communication campaigns are a usual response. they are effective, but at a limited scale. in this day and age it would have to be social Media.

Celine Schillinger went back to the fundamentals, We need to listen to people communicating online because they can tell us the spots we are missing.  Traditional health care has been uncomfortable with that.

So what did Celine and her team do to begin stepping outside this comfort zone? Over 3 months they collected data and posts where people where talking about the world “Dengue”. ( 250,000 comments in total)

They then mapped out the comments seen here below:

DATA (conversations) 

The results showed that No institutional activist was in a “Dengue” conversation.

The Big Black Hole
Capturesdver.PNGReason of social space where noting was escaping, this are was made up of thousands and thousands of people, but they were talking to no one but themselves. An untapped pool of engagement. A striking absence of colorization,  the team figured out be simply harnessing out these conversations and connecting the people, Voices, brains they could contribute to fighting that disease. in took 7 months in total to connect these voices.

This then created ” Break  Dingue” which is an open platform non profit that connects all       people to help emCapturedsf3r.PNGpower their initiatives.

This is a prime example of a global social network leveraging the power of social media.

Therefore by bringing people together we can help fight even the greatest battles

Credit: Makeadiffernec.net




Thank you for taking the time to read my blog I hope you enjoyed it!

Week: 2 Social Media

Cedit: SocialMediatips.com

Hello everyone, this week in class we focused in on social Media, we looked at many elements but one caught my eye in particular, the idea of ” a second self”

This got me thinking during our class discussion,  thinking about the user in social software and social media, from a designer’s perspective, and thinking about the user experience behind participating in these systems. Wondering, for example, how this all becomes “social.” Wondering how to integrate the fact that social media are in some respects anti-social. Or a-social. That the “social interaction” they engage is, at the end of the day, constructed from individual user experiences, from users blogging, posting, commenting to an audience they don’t see, and in some ways presenting a self that’s as much self image as it is some kind of true self. It’s strange, all of this. Here are just a few thoughts on the matter…

  • Social media engage us, provide us with a means to express ourselves and to communicate with others. It is the potential for any contribution we make online to become communication (if it is picked up by another), that holds our principal
    Photo credit: Soshable.

    interest in it. From My own experience, It is a fantastic way for companies to engage with their customers online in a fun approachable manner.

  • When we don’t actually engage in a round of talk, through discussion posts, comments, or what have you, we’re aware at some level of an audience.Having this audience, as an audience of real friends, family members, and peers; and of those we will never meet, supposedly motivates us to continue participating.
  • There is remarkable power in the possibility of communication, of recognition and acknowledgment by others. As there is also in the motivating power of an audience that reads, bookmarks, tags, andc licks much more than it actually comments substantially. We could call it the power of the social in its absence and distance.

Therefore does technology change culture?

Social attitudes have changed with the effect that citizens of a society now expect the various elements of that society to be better informed than previously. They also expect to be able to access more information about a specific product, service or organisation so that they can make informed decisions with regard to their interactions with that entity.

Research conducted by Pew Research Center states that at least 50% of social media users have shared a news-related story, image or video; and 46% of users discuss current events on their channels. Technology we now have at our fingertips, we are all becoming news reporters. Stories are being broken before the traditional media even get a chance to arrive at the scene. Look no further than the outbreak of Ebola for example.

How Culture and Technology Create One Another:

Ramesh Srinivasan, Associate Professor at UCLA in the Department of Information Studies, studies and participates in projects focused on how new media technologies impact political revolutions, economic development and poverty reduction.

When I was researching for this blog post I came across this very interesting TEDx talk by
Ramesh Srinivasan, He tells the story of how a friend from India, Living in a village by the cost. They use their  Mobile phones to hunt crocodiles at night rather than using electricity for lights, I thought this was an interesting example of how technology has a positive effect on peoples lives





Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, please feel free to leave a comment, bye for now! 🙂