The Network Society [DIGC202]

Tron_Legacy__City_concept__by_Shelest

The Tron Network [2010]

There can be no denying that we all live our lives through networks. We network with friends, peers and even our own families on a day to day basis. They are intrinsically created, almost subconsciously. Without the practice of networking we simply couldn’t achieve the feats society has achieved today. I am reminded by an old aphorism that my Dad used to say to me on many occasions which was, “many hands, make light work“. Although this aphorism is a very simplistic view of network creation, It reminds us that if we all work together we can achieve greatness.

However Castell’s asks us to take an expansive view of the creation of networks and they role that microelectronics and software based communication systems have within our technologically driven society. He lists six main points of interest in his article, one of which is his interest in the debate of media spaces.

Castell’s describes the effect of media and networks as “The elasticity and interactivity of the media hypertext, its recombinant power, provide the media space with infinite capacity to integrate and to exclude, thus defining the boundaries of society in the material world of our minds and representations” (2004, pg. 223).

Like it or not, media networks define who we are and have the power to define the boundaries in the world we live in. Take for example the role of this WordPress blog for my educational studies. It is only bound by the limitations and the digital space provided by the owner of WordPress. If placed within another network with a greater credibility and a larger audience, new limitations and boundaries are created within the mediated space.

Castell’s argument that “n
etworks matter because they are the underlying structure of our lives” (2004, pg. 224) is a very profound statement, yet can be justified by taking a moment to think about your current actions whilst reading this post.

How many networks are you connected to whilst reading this sentence? At the time of writing, I counted four.

So is it the networks that have the power or the people within the network? Who governs these networks and what are the implications for the Internet, Cyberspace and the future of communications? The debate surrounding Internet censorship is a deep and dark wormhole of discussion and is something that almost sounds like an argument that could continue forever.

References

Castells 2004, Why Networks Matter, accessed 2nd August 2013, http://www.demos.co.uk/files/File/networklogic17castells.pdf

Images

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

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4 thoughts on “The Network Society [DIGC202]

  1. I loved the inclusion of your father’s aphorism; “Many hands make light work.” It’s an optimistic view of the way networks dominate and dictate our lives. Perhaps our reliance on such networks, particularly technological in this instance, will be key to further evolution. Certainly social networks have seen us evolve to our current position at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of species. Let us just hope that our technological networks do not ultimately sabotage our status.
    This is very well written, though there a couple of minor typos. I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. At the time of reading this blog i was connected to my Facebook, two twitter accounts, word press and email. Networks whether we like it or not play a huge part in our day to day lives. I think networks have the ability to empower people. Some people may feel more comfortable connecting with others on line than in real life situations. The problem can be networks are so powerful they can maybe have too much impact on the lives of some people. just have a look around at the tables at the pub and notice how many people are on phones whilst sitting in groups

  3. I totally agree with what you say about the limitations of networks. When you count the amount of networks we are actually connected to at any given time, the limitations begin to fade away.

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