Understanding the network society paradigm
Cyberspace is recreating our world’s social structure. Who shapes cyberspace? We do. It is said by Castells (2004) to be ‘microelectronics and software-based communication technologies’. Simply, our communication networks are powered by technology. The fact that it is universal means we as humans are redefining ‘freedom, structures of self government, definition of property, nature of competition, conditions for cooperation, sense of community and nature of progress’ Dyson (1994). This all sounds liberating, however, in this blog I’m going to reveal the negative effects of a distributed network flow.
“Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here”.- Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of CyberspaceURL
The thing is we don’t know who is shaping this new and rapidly rising communication paradigm. We are all nodes at the end of the network, broadcasting to the entire world. So when this is the case how do we preserve the information flows? As Barlow (1996) expresses there is ‘no elected government’ in cyberspace, therefore we are condemned to a network of freedom and exist as one big happy family, right? Wrong. According to the ‘The Innovation of Loneliness (2003) looking pragmatically on this idea of the online social network will show we are all headed for a lonely life. This is because an unnoticed demand is placed on people to have a ‘social’ networking life. We are sacrificing our physical interaction for the mere feeling of connection through media platforms.
Let me show you what the video says about this new civilisation:
-it can’t be compared to a conversation which takes place in real time
-you can control what you’re about to say
-we edit ourselves
-we are obsessed with self promotion
In terms of social media, we are shaping a new world. Castells (2004) says because of this idea networks matter as they are the ‘underlying structure of our lives’. This may be true in the life of cyberspace however there are social implications in real life. ‘The Innovation of Loneliness talks about the notion ‘I share, therefore I am’ where we are slipping into the feeling of connection through networking online. We expect so much from technology that we believe the connection will make us less lonely when in fact in the end ‘we are ONLY going to know how to be lonely’….
Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. (1994) Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age
YouTube,. ‘The Innovation Of Loneliness’. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.