Networked individualism

…communities have changed from densely-knit “Little Boxes” (densely-knit, linking people door-to-door) to “Glocalized” networks (sparsely knit but with clusters, linking households both locally and globally) to “Networked Individualism” (sparsely -knit, linking individuals with little regard to space).  The technological development of computer-communications networks and the societal flourish of social networks are now affording the rise of “networked individualism” in a positive feedback loop. Just as the flexibility of less-bounded, partially dispersed, social networks creates demand for collaborative communication nd information sharing, the rapid development of computer- communications networks nourishes societal transitions from little boxes to social networks” (Barry Wellman)

Do you think iPhone is latest technological gadget that will fuel the “network individualism” to new heights?


6 Responses

  1. That depends.

    What it depends upon is whether the iPhone platform will support collaborative applications. Don’t know enough to say just yet.

  2. Hello Grant… would you agree with the notion that technology has paradoxically made us more isolated from our neighborhood and at the same time connected us to people who are quite distant apart from us (geographically, culturally etc.)

  3. Glocal people knows the importance of network pluralism culture, a network which consists of enabling individualism, hierarchism and egalitarianism ways of life. Technology is dead but the people behind the use and implementation of such technology is a living being.

    Technically, the limitation of iPhone itself can be seen as a constraining factor, but its functions can be seen as enabling factors that facilitate the use of such technology.

    Socially, it is the people’s culture, beliefs, values and skills behind the use of such technology that determine whether or not iPhone is useful in building social capital.

    Therefore, you need a combination of socio-technical know-how to fuel ‘network-pluralism’ to a new height.

  4. Kenny, thats very insightful. I appreciate your attack on technological determinism.

    Its always people who chose or choose not to use technology. However, after a while technology becomes a given. For example, the earlier generation had an option of whether or not to use telephone but for current generation it is given. They grow with it and in Heidegger’s term it becomes “ready to hand” instead of “present to hand”. We stop thinking about effect or implication of technology and use it as if “technology is neutral” without realizing about “constraining” or “facilitating” aspects of technology.

  5. Hello,

    It’s an interesting question. I agree with all of comments here. We don’t know the potential of iPhone (promising though…), since it may be highly dependent on how it can be used…



  6. I have problems with this theory of networked individualism for reducing the complex social morphology of human life to a simple binary of groups vs. personal networks, see my paper abstract on this:

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