According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “networking” is, “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions” and the definition of “network” is, “a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other.” In the Information Age, infrastructure and technology has been created to allow the rapid sharing of information between parties, but it has not always been so. While the exchanging of information has always been consistent, the methods by which this task has been carried out is constantly changing relative to the time period in which the demand occurs and situation causing the demand. Over this paper, we will examine the ways networking has changed the past, present and future for 3 topics: war, commerce, and lifestyle.
PART 1: WAR
Edmond Burke once said “all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.” As prevalent as periods of peace are, there are periods of war to maintain such peace; in periods of war, the necessity to transmit information efficiently, effectively, privately, and accurately is the difference between victory and defeat. In ancient warfare, armies fighting on the battlefield by a series of banners, drum beats, smoke signals, and horns. In the armies of feudal Japan, warriors would have banners on poles attached to their backs signifying what position they were. Soldiers also carried flags in their hand, and by various waving patterns/positions, or certain faces of the flag, troops would know whether advance, send in the calvary, etc. In the Civil War, a bugle call was used to signal retreat, tracing its origins back to the Crusades. This way of transmitting information was not entirely effective because in the heat of battle soldiers could become disoriented and not register the signals being relayed, or a wrong note played or twitch in the arm could signal something that was not supposed to be so. Also, instant updates and communication were not always possible, thus commanders had to prepare and understand the strategy completely beforehand. In the situation where tactics needed to be changed, notifying the chain of command was slow and the message sent may not have been the message received. Lastly, lines of communication on the ancient battlefield was flawed as larger empires had armies of multiple different nationalities and ethnicities; with many different languages and dialects spoken, the process of transmitting information had to consider translations between two parties so both could understand what the other was saying. Information was not just transferred on the battlefield in ancient history, but also over vast distances, sometimes the entire empire. To do so, a network of messengers had to be set up to receive and send information across the land. This happened in the form of horse messengers, pigeons, camel messengers, etc. In ancient Rome, runners would run vast distances to transmit information; legend has it, there was a soldier named Pheidippides who ran about 150 miles in 36 hours from Marathon to Sparta to call for aid against the Persians, back to Marathon, and then 26 miles to Athens to notify the city of victory, right after which he collapsed and died. While a captivating story, from a logistical viewpoint that network of communicating information was very insecure: the messenger could have been attacked by soldiers or wild animals, could have been delayed due to weather, gotten injured or extremely fatigued, etc. There was no guarantee that the message would be transmitted and successfully reach its destination. The same goes for horse messengers: there is a story of Sybil Ludington from the Revolutionary War who rode throughout the night of April 22, 1777 to notify the Americans of the approaching British battalion. Fast forward about a couple centuries later, WWI & WWII occurred which changed the way that wars were fought. After the discovery of harnessed...
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