Castells’ (2004) opening sentence in his book ‘networks are the language of our time’ is an exemplary introduction to sum up my perception on global networks. In our daily lives, we are consumed by networks, whether it be on a physical level within a group of friends, local community or family network, or wether it be focused on a technological level through a social network, an employee network at work or an educational network such as e-learning at university, we all utilise the technology as a means to communicate – as a basic interconnecting language. While we as individuals, have taken advantage of the new connections: to earn, learn, trade and travel, it seems almost as if society fails to understand their logic, or appreciate the deep sense of meaning and reaction that a network connection can hold.
Globalisations a key indication of the rising use of global networks and the use and misuse of the elements. As the world has moved from virtual segregation into interconnection and interdependence, the rise of communication networks has been exponential. Positive outcomes such as the rise of social networking and e-commerce are just two of the numerous results from this increase. However, such networks have also created negative effects, including the turmoil created by the Global Financial Crisis. Hence, there is evidence to support the power and potential behind these networks, but also the learnings which are yet to be made in regards to this.
Castells (2004) provide an interesting perspective on this, stating that;
‘Only under the electronics based technological paradigm can networks reconfigure themselves in real time, on a global–local scale, and permeate all domains of social life. This is why we live in a network society, not in an information society or a knowledge society’ (p.221).
While I can appreciate the point being made, I struggle to completely accept it. On a personal level, I feel that our society encompasses all three of these aspects, and the networks within this global-local scale act to disseminate meanings developed within the information and knowledge societies. While all three are considered separate notions, advances in technology and communication networks are making it possible for the concepts to merge together through interconnecting facets.
Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224) [http://www.demos.co.uk/files/networklogic.pdf].
Techno Tuesday 2010, Techno Tuesday, Image – ‘Virtually Connected’, accessed 27/08/2012, http://www.technotuesday.com/?p=308.