The new technology and its rapid growth are transforming our society every second. We have never witnessed a gap between the cultures of two generations being as large as the current one. The Internet has become a vital part of our lives as we are all connected in the Network Society.
A network is a decentralized system, through which communication can occur and the information is not restricted by either time or space. According to Castells, networks now form the new architecture of society and help us to understand the new social order. They have always been the most powerful element in society. Networks used to be limited by science and geography, networks were local, not global. Today we rather belong to the ‘information society’ without borders and limits.
Castells argues that these new network societies are highly efficient, their rise has also led to changes in social dynamics and personal relationships. Access to networks is no longer dominated by one person or social group. The difference in today’s network society is that the process of managing information is achieved by using technology, such as mobile phones and internet. As a result, societies don’t have to be attached to a specific geographic space, but simply to the space of communication and information flows.
Castells’ theory is very optimistic; he believes that the network society has a positive impact on all the spheres of life. Furthermore, his idea of Network Society is very idealistic, many critics explain that the Global Internet Penetration is 42% which means that the Network Society doesn’t exist. Also, the effects of technology don’t occur at the level of opinions and concepts. Considering the Western legacy of the Internet, in terms of structure and influence over the time, Social media has ‘globalised’ western opinion and influence. Anyway, did we ever really have an equal voice?
Before Online media-fueled globalization, the process of gathering, producing and consuming news was very linear…since the Social media, where this process is increasingly convergent. The rise of information technology and electronic recordkeeping led to a changing approach to privacy. Before the upcoming of modern technology, physical boundaries combined with rules, customs and distinctions between the ‘public’ and the ‘private’. But as technology progressed, physical barriers became less effective in protecting privacy, making legal protection more important.
While developing our magazine 360° we were not restricted by time or borders, we could interview someone by the phone or Internet, the person could be on the other continent, and we would still create a good article, due to the Network Society. Moreover, we started to give publicity of our magazine, developing Instagram and Facebook pages. Social media allows people to interact with the magazine and to be a part of our mission – to save the planet. Since the printed magazine is not a part of the Network Society because it cannot be published anywhere, we decided to provide the information through the Internet. Making it reachable to all the people in the world, or rather to those who have Internet access, we still can find our place in the Network Society.
To conclude, I would say that Manuel Castells’s theories help us to understand how the “Internet came into being, and how it is affecting every area of human life-from work, politics, planning and development, media, and privacy, to our social interaction and life in the home.
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