How the Internet Changed Pop Culture

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Where once the music channel, the best-advertised movie, or long-running TV shows that would direct the ebbs and flows of pop culture, we’re now exposed to just about everything and anything all at once via the Internet. Now, rather than pop culture being a generally cohesive trend, more often than not, we get splinter factions that buy into far smaller trends, with it being rare that large groups across countries band together behind one trend.

In many ways, this is great. The internet has essentially democratized pop culture, allowing anything with accessibility to become a trend – even if it’s for only a fleeting moment. Perhaps now the core of pop culture is the use of Internet platforms, rather than a genre or way of enjoying entertainment mediums. Considering it’s only been 30 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, it’s remarkable how quickly the Internet has changed everything, including pop culture.

The transformation of media

Once the internet started to take root, just about every form of popular entertainment and media was transformed in some way. Television is still a staple and remains as such thanks to smart TVs, but the once-ultimate format of satellite or cable TV underwent a serious challenge when Netflix and online streaming came to the fore in 2006. In video gaming, the most multiplayer people could engage with was split-screen co-op. With the internet, PC gamers quickly became immersed in vast MMORPGs, with World of Warcraft being the prime example from 2004. It’s been a similar case in casino gaming.

Once you had to go to a brick-and-mortar casino to play roulette or slots. They arrived on the Internet in 1994. The quality of the games quickly improved alongside the increasing power of the web, and the switch to the smaller screen. The rise in mobile casinos has seen the implementation of touch-screen controls, and now even the physical in-house casino games are being live-streamed to computers and mobiles alike. Thanks to the internet, the thousands of games that can be held appeal to a broad range of adults in a way that wasn’t previously possible.

The most popular mediums before the internet

The internet has become the host of countless hours of entertainment across many sub-mediums. The core staples used to be music television and the radio, cinema and home video players, television, rudimentary cell phone games like Snake, arcade halls and home video game consoles, board games, and the good old going outside to socialize. Most of these are still popular today, but many have shifted to digital forms to be available on the Internet. Funnily enough, it seems as though the rise of physical gaming has spurred a resurgence in physical board gaming.

The future of internet media

The grand vast internet has always had bundles of potential, but in its currently most-used state, the extent of the internet in entertainment media is using a keyboard, mouse, and perhaps a controller to play on a screen. The next stage is for us to virtually step into the 3D digital world. Virtual reality hardware hasn’t caught on as swiftly as many predictions stated around ten years ago, but with so much investment going into the digital dystopia of the metaverse, it won’t be long before the VR prices come down and countless entertainment options become available in the new setting.

The internet has changed pop culture drastically over just a few decades, and if the metaverse kicks off, there may even be a renewal of a conjoined trend with everyone donning VR headsets for meet-ups and entertainment.