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.
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