From the beginning of this information age, networks of communication have wormed their way into the regular workings of society. Fifty years ago, telephonic technology would connect some people within the network but not much more than that. Today, networks have permeated through cultures, communities and industries to the point that in 2012 fifty five percent of Americans primarily accessed the internet from their mobile device.
At the end of 2013, it was believed that 2.8 billion people where ‘online’ (accessed the internet regularly). Over a third of the worlds population is accessing this global network. with such a large proportion contributing to this network it’s not far-fetched to see that the internet has not only been shaped by us but is now conversely, having an effect on us. This paradigmatic shift in society from scattered communities to a global network, as Manuel Castells describes, has many consequences such as, Networks having no boundaries means that they are a global phenomenon that transcends national differences, in doing so the internet allows for someone to communicate with, essentially, the world. This makes the world a seemingly smaller place where social injustices become an issue of all people and not just their country of origin. Networked organisation having the capability to outperform any other organisation through communication speed and simple information aggregation. Bureaucracy becomes almost instantaneous when information con be extracted and sent to as many people as possible with no time delay. The consequences of the network paradigm continue but I’ll move on. If you’re interested in reading more refer to, “Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations.It is located in the networks that structure society . . .” (Manuel Castells, 2004) or for a simpler reading, here.
What This Means To Us
It has come to a point where one doesn’t even have to ‘be online’ to witness implications of the network paradigm. The economy for example, affects multiple facets of our lives and it’s documented and powered almost entirely online. Pop culture is cultivated so heavily online now that popular trends are developed and shared daily from the web. Information aggregation allows news to be up to date almost all the time and the now integration of crowd sourcing information allows for far greater research power than ever before seen.