The Power of the Network

Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations. It is located in the networks that structure society . . . Manuel Castells

Society is changing. We are breaking down long standing biases built into our society by leaders and dictators. Australia, the country we live in now may not necessarily but under rule of a totalitarian dictator (though lets face it, Abbott is worse) but we still have to overcome huge disadvantages in life that are still remnant of the past. The top 1% still control so much yet we are making ways to subvert privilege, devalue old forms of currency and go forward into an unbiased future, and networking plays an incredible part in it.

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Power is a very funny thing, hard to pin down and almost impossible to accurately measure, yet it is everywhere. We live in a constant power struggle each day. When you download Game of Thrones illegally you are subverting the power of Foxtel and Time Warner and saying I don’t believe access to entertainment and culture should be based on personal wealth. When you use Twitter as your main news source you are telling mass media conglomerates that you believe their “product” (as they consider it) to be sub par. These would not be possible if it were not for the global network we have formed and as an old saying goes “Information is power” and we are spreading it from person to person via signals in the air.

When looking at the world and society as a network it seems we have a pattern of breaking down centralized systems. Most people would probably agree that a distributed system is a much more preferable structure for a society than centralized. Our current society is decentralized, as centralized would require a single overseer like being or god that dictates our lives and the information we are privy to. And when we do feel the fingers of constraint grasping our informational freedom we react in a rebellious manner; see Arab Spring, Nazi Germany, North Korea and Telstra.

Networking is a way of describing connections built into our society. It’s the ropes tethering us as a people together via our information. And like all ropes if we are not careful we can get ensnared, but as long as we maintain a preference for a distributed structure of informational sharing the ropes of centralized external networks enforced on us will fall to tatters.

 

 

 

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