Week 9: A network where everyone has equal status, working hand in hand and sharing information is a form of utopia

After reading Manuel Castell’s network logic, it seems that he is predicting a future where social hierarchy cease to exist, but is replaced by a society organized by networks. The world then functions on a joint collaboration, where globalization is no longer a darn word by some protectionist activists, but something beneficial. And most of these will take place within the media space. It is power to the people online! Without dominance of a particular group, information can flow freely, no more copyrights restrictions, blah blah.

But think about it, isn’t this state of the world a little too far fetched? Without copyright, where is the motivation for innovation? There’s no free meal in this world, you need to pay for the technology that brings you the free stuff on the Internet too! Sure, I have benefited from the free stuff on the Internet by P2P networks, but there must be balance between what is supposed to be shared and what is not supposed to be shared.

For instance, when we think of freebies, we often think of them as low quality and unwanted. And when a product is priced, it adds value and credibility to it. Hence, when everything is free and with no value attached to it, it brings us back to the age of communism where products are badly produced by workers who have no incentive to work hard. Similarly, a network society is like a communist state. There is no motivation to move up the social ladder.

Yet, I am not totally against Castell’s vision, because it has some weight in what he says too. But that is only if the networks are social networking services, wikis, community-based classifieds, online phone services, and my favorite of all times, open source software such as NeoOffice that allows me to enjoy “Microsoft” at zero cost.

But I don’t want my government to run on an open source concept! I don’t want to have other politicians from other countries editing any constitution any way he likes. For a society to function, there must be some sort of dominant institution that oversees the running of it, while still allowing a network of feedback to flourish among the grassroots. Hence, not all situations can succeed under a network system.

Questions:

1) How can we back up our data that is stored on Web 2.0 style service in the event that the creator does a disappearing act?

2) How would you envision a future where everything is link by networks and run by communities? How successful would that be?

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One response to “Week 9: A network where everyone has equal status, working hand in hand and sharing information is a form of utopia

  1. Pingback: week 9 - questions « Social Technologies, Media and Politics

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