Critically Comment on the Rise of the Network Society; What Are the Key Changes for Either Companies or Individuals

Topics: Sociology, Social network service, Facebook Pages: 7 (2396 words) Published: March 1, 2011
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Assessment 1: Critically comment on the rise of the network society; What are the key changes for either companies or individuals. |


In this essay I will critically comment on the rise of network society based on the impact it has made on individuals and the key changes it has caused over the past years. I will look at the main online communication methods – such as Facebook – and analyse the changes it has made peoples social situation. The term “network society” has been used for decades playing a significant role in our lives as well as the lives of every community in the world, whether we are talking about a small group of people or a huge organisation. One of the first people to introduce this term to us was, professor of sociology and communication science, Jan van Dijk. In 1991 he wrote a book“De Netwerkmaatschappij” (The Network Society) where he wrote about a dramatic acceleration in the use, demand, and need for telecommunications, data communication, and mass communication transmitted and integrated into networks. Since 1991 a lot of things have changed and evolved but the concept of network society has stayed the same. One of the other authors that have analysed and discussed the topic of network society was Manuel Castells, he wrote a three volume book titled “The Rise of Network Society” (1996). In his book he wrote: “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, if you wish, 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”In his book, Manuel Castells argues that it is not purely the technology that defines modern societies, but also cultural, economic and political factors that make up the network society. According to his definition as well as many others, every aspect of work or social lifefor the average person in the 1st century is based on online communication. Gaining new clients, contacts, friends or simply keeping in touch with your family is predominantly done through the internet, via online networks. For the purpose of this essay and to fully answer the question to critically comment on the rise of the network society and its key changes for individuals, I think it is important to first present two different hypotheses regarding this subject. At the end of this essay I believe I will be able to agree with one of the listed outcomes or present an alternative. Hypothesis 1: “Network societies such as Facebook have a positive impact on society and it has brought people closer from around the world.” Hypothesis 2:“Network societies such as Facebook have bad impact on people and it destroys interpersonal values among people around the world.” -------------------------------------------------

The Beginnings of Social Networking
Not widely known, the birth of social networking is based for back in the late 70s with the BBS (Bulletin Block System), far from the Facebook or MySpace era. It was the first computer programme that allowed you to enter a social network through the internet, opening many doors into creating network societies. Unfortunately back in the 1970s and 80s computers were as rare as you could imagine and not a lot of people had one or even...
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