Create or be Created: How the Internet Cultural Renaissance is Turning Audience Members into Artists
by William Butler O'Connor (1997)
The amazing ability of the Net to hurl text, images, and sound around the globe with tremendous speed, efficiency, and affordability--in combination with a wide range of powerful digital tools--is making it much easier for the average person to create, share, and experience culture. Until now, most people tended to enjoy culture created by others--what I call "experienced" culture--rather than creating it themselves--i.e., "expressed culture." However, Internet is now dramatically shifting this ratio in favor of more "expressed" culture. Thus, the title of this essay--Created or Be Created--refers to the process of individuals declaring their "cultural independence" from "professional" culture creators, choosing instead to enjoy a blend of both expressed and experienced culture.
The move towards a more expressed culture will extinguish this traditionally dichotomous cultural landscape, inspire entirely new forms of and ideas about culture, and enrich the life of the so-called "average" person enormously. In short, what we might call the "Big Bang" of the Internet's birth is bringing into being an Internet Cultural Renaissance.