The Power of Connections

This semester in DIGC202 we will be exploring the concept of the ‘global network’; we will discover how new media and modern technologies have transcended the boundaries that previously structured society, changing the way that society is organised.

One of the main points that Castells makes in his afterword ‘Why networks matter’ is that power lies in the networks that organise society and our lives. In today’s society, the rapid rate of technological advancement has created a networked, interconnected society characterised by real-time communication. Our society is not bounded by geographical restrictions; we have the ability to transfer a wealth of information across the globe almost instantaneously. Communication across the world occurs around the clock in a global space provided by the Internet.

I think that these networks are powerful because as a connected society we have the power to disseminate information worldwide in such a way that the world loses its boundaries and becomes a cohesive space. An article by Mathew Ingram (2011) discusses how the Internet, specifically social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, played a significant role in the uprisings that occurred in both Tunisia and Egypt. He notes that critics of this notion believe that too much power is afforded to these platforms in a form of ‘cyber-utopianism’. However, it is impossible to deny that the Internet has provided a means for rapid communication, which inevitably is a powerful force in political uprisings. Ingram notes that the ‘real weapon is the power of networked communication itself’, and I think this is the main point that Castells makes. The structure of our society has changed immensely due to technology, and it is within these communicative networks that the power lies.

In terms of DIGC202, my areas of interest in digital media are in social media and online gaming; more specifically, I am interested in the impact that new trends in digital communication have on society and the  social interactions between people. Academics may state that we are a networked and highly communicative society, however it is interesting to discuss whether this ability to digitally communicate afforded by the Internet has had a diminishing affect on our communication skills face-to-face in the real world.

Thanks for reading!

Katie

 

Image courtesy of this page.

2 thoughts on “The Power of Connections

  1. The conflicting perspectives between the idea of social media enabling highly technologically based communication and the idea that it has resulted in a generation who lack physical social skills is also a debate that interests me. I have witnessed that some teenagers who spend the majority of their leisure time on the computer actually do lack communicative skills when spoken to face-to-face, though online they are well known by many people.
    It could be said that the internet allows those who are shy and less confident to communicate equally with others. However, online communication can be proof-read and edited before it is sent to the responder whereas physical communication requires immediate responses.
    So another question come to mind, whether virtual communication is the same as face-to-face communication…

  2. i thought your idea of “cohesive space” was really interesting. I also liked how you linked in the ‘Facebook revolution,’ also referred to as the uprisings in Egypt. I completly agree with your brief discussion about how social networking and the power it now has was the reason those uprising were even possible.. I also ended up reading the article by Matthew Ingram and found it really interesting. thanks for linking us to that.

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