Week 13: A Networked Society: Where’s it going?

The shift from traditional mass media to a system of horizontal communication networks organized around the Internet and wireless communication has introduced a multiplicity of communication patterns at the source of a fundamental cultural transformation, as virtuality becomes an essential dimension of our reality

The network society itself is, in fact, the social structure which is characteristic of what people had been calling for years the information society or post-industrial society. Both “post-industrial society” and “information society” are descriptive terms that do not provide the substance, that are not analytical enough. So it’s not a matter of changing words; it’s providing substance. And the definition, in concrete terms of a network society is a society where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processed information networks. So it’s not just about networks or social networks, because social networks have been very old forms of social organization. It’s about social networks which process and manage information and are using micro-electronic based technologies.

The global economy is now characterized by the almost instantaneous flow and exchange of information, capital, and cultural communication. The smartphone as a user’s best friend in the urban jungle, helping people to take better advantage of what the city has to offer and making them better equipped to deal with unexpected eventualities. The networks themselves reflect and create distinctive cultures. Both they and the traffic they carry are largely outside national regulation. Our dependence on the new modes of informational flow gives to those in a position to control them enormous power to control us.



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Week 13: A Networked Society: Where’s it going?


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