The invention of the printing press was widely regarded as the most influential event in the second millennium AD, revolutionising the way people conceive and describe the world they live in. Fast forward to the present day or to ‘The Age of Connection’, as labeled in The Human Network reading, and we find ourselves in the midst of the new media revolution. New technologies have allowed us to connect with one another, which has major implications for society as a whole.
Marshal McLuhan first noted the retribalizing effect of electric technologies in saying, “they collapse space to a point, effectively recreating the continuous, ambient (aural) awareness of the tribe. The tribe is completely connected. All of its members have direct access to one another; there is little hierarchy, instead, there is an intricate set of social relations” (McLuhan, M. 1964).
The reading talks about hyperconnectivity, which refers to the number of people any given person on earth can reach directly. It explains the city as being a network as much as it is a residence. Hyperdistribution allows us to maintain and strengthen social bonds through language.
In the first reading, Shirky explains how social tools such as Facebook and Twitter support group conversation and group action in a way that previously could only be achieved through institutions. He argues that with the advent of online social tools, groups can form without the previous restrictions of time and cost.
This wordpress sight allows me to publish my ideas and opinions online, which is available to anyone who has the Internet. If I wanted to gain a higher readership I could tweet or update on Facebook and create a link to this page. Previously, to obtain that kind of attention I would have needed to submit a lengthy proposal to a publishing house like this one in order to even be considered.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook allow users to communicate to people within their network instantly and simultaneously. These sites have become part of the toolkit for people working in the media industry. PR professionals, Marketers, Advertisers etc are able to construct a temporary public in a matter of seconds.
The table below is from the book Connect!: Web Worker Daily’s Guide to a New Way of Working.” It shows some of the major contrasts between knowledge work and web work. As we shift into a world that is dominated by the Internet and less reliant on organisations, it is interesting to see how we organise ourselves.