DIGC202: Global networking Introduction .

Date: 31 July 2012

Hello, my name is Ram Peow Loong Naidu and this is my University assessment blog and I will mainly discuss the subject of Global Networking and some of my expectations of doing this subject. In the first lecture, we were introduced to the subject of Global Networking.

According to the lecturer, Mr Faizal, the subject is about global information network, knowing the purpose of the Worldwide Web or Internet, what cybercultures are, and the impact of cybercultures on the contemporary social practices.  Our lecturer presented the outcomes of learning this subject which include an understanding of the evolution of contemporary cybercultures, new media industries in the context of global information networks; and a demonstration of digital communication skills thorough a capacity to establish and maintain an online presence and finally, a demonstration of skills to research, present and write reports both individually and in a team.

I wasn’t too surprised at the outlines of the subject.  I do admit that it is rather different from what I expected but not radically. I find the subject rather interesting and look forward to learning more. From the course outlines, we were recommended to read an article by Manuel Castells entitled “Afterword: why network matters” (Castells, 2004). Castells opines that networks seem to be the organising form of life, including social life.  However, networks have only advanced to the fore front of social practice only recently, thanks to the development of microelectronics and software-based communication technologies. Castells reminds us that technology does not determine society but some social structures cannot develop without specific technologies. Castells calls this a network society, rendering the terms “information society or a knowledge society” so yesterday.   Castells explains that our society is identified by its specific social structure which is powered by microelectronics and software-based information and communication technologies (Castells, 2004).   Consequently, our network society explodes, breaking boundaries, and laying the foundation for globalisation and global networking.  Long-distance relationships have been sustained and even nurtured, thanks to Skype, Facebook, twitter and MySpace, at minimal cost and lightning speed.  Indeed our lives have been transformed; a sharp contrast to those of our forefathers. 

Global networking has “compressed” our big, wide world into one borderless village, where news and information from one corner of the earth can be received almost instantaneously by the rest of the world.  Castells expounds that all countries are influenced, shaped and ultimately dominated the multidimensional network of networks structuring people’s life worldwide.   He asserts that the successful businesses are those that are based on networks and flexible partnerships (Castells, 2004). Networking among nation states, supranational associations, international institutions, local and regional governments, and quasi-public non-governmental organisations have also facilitated global governance to a certain extent.  Perhaps the most significant outcome of global networking is the reconstruction of civil society.  The Arab Spring comes to mind.  Another note-worthy event happened right smack in my nation – Malaysia.  Called the “Bersih” (meaning clean), this movement calls for fair elections in Malaysia. Castells opines that power lays in the networks that structure society. (Castells, 2004) My understanding from this first lecture is the power of global networking in uniting the world, its implications on our lives and how it reconfigures our society.  Indeed, we live in a borderless world; the only thing that separates us is politics, bigotry and cultural and religious intolerance. The phenomenon of global networking is testimony of our human intelligence and creativity.  Can you imagine a world without global networking? 

Reference:

Castells, M 2004 ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world?, vol 1, no.1, pp.221-224, accessed 21/7/2002 http://www.demos.co.uk/files/File/networklogic17castells.pdf.

Castells, M (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp.221-224)  http://www.demos.co.uk/files/File/networklogic17castells.pdf.

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