Week 8 – Networks

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Honestly, after reading the first paragraph of Castell’s article, my head was spinning and I figured there was just no point going on.  As my eyes reached the definition of ‘network’ I thought ‘yea ok, this sounds plausible enough for me’ until Castell begins to link one thing to another (nodes, flows, streams?).  It started to sound like some kind of physics or informational technology (IT) essay to me!  What I could basically gather from quick eye skimming of the article was that a network society is made up of networks that are powered by intricate technologies.  Additionally networks constitute the fundamental pattern of life, in which I found was indeed true.  The evolution of technology has introduced to us a more convenient form of communication including networking via the Internet and the mobile phone, which now constitutes our daily networking life.  Speaking from daily practice, Facebook and MSN are without a doubt the two largest networking programs that constitute my social network via Internet.  It wasn’t long ago that I remember sitting in a shifty little Internet Café in Asia weighing the benefits of signing up for Facebook.  It was the eventual egging of a friend that I consented to the inevitable and now that I look back, I’m glad I signed up for FB because I can’t imagine what I would indulge in on my spare time, especially a favourite guilty past time of mine, FB stalking friends’ statuses.  MSN also plays a similar role in my daily networking. While many find MSN or FB a means of procrastinating from homework and assignment – I find them actually quite useful in the process of doing my assignments, particularly group assignments.  Through FB and MSN, I’m able to conduct a quick conversation with a group member about our assignment to find information on the status of our assignment or if we’re having any difficulties with it. As Castell stresses networks are beneficial as they benefit from three major features of networks: Flexibility, Scalability and Survivability.  I found these three features essential to the social networking of today’s era namely because technology offers a plethora of convenient and flexible modes of networking that prolongs networking survival in addition to catering to social networks of society. 

The other two articles were easier to digest than Castell’s although both shared similar views.  Rizzo’s article analyses the ‘flow’ of networking in broadcasting corporation, or as she describes it in her own words, as ‘their playlist’.  Traditionally, large broadcasting corporations have for many years, have controlled what the audience has watched, however since the introduction of YouTube and FoxtelIQ, there has been some difficulty in preserving the status quo of power.   Rizzo analyses William’s definition and comes to conclusion that it is rather outdated.  She then embraces the concept however explaining that there is a contemporary definition to ‘flow’ and that it should be adopted.  Brun’s article also analysed the effects of new technologies that are overtaking the conventional use of the TV, as we are now able to choose what WE want to watch.   He speculates that the TV’s inbuilt network is bias and likes to preserve power and that because it is for this reason; the TV is losing the majority of its audience.  Certainly, YouTube has become a success at securing a large audience due to its vast channels of videos that TV does not offer, it is because of the control of the TV that I now find myself embracing YouTube as an alternative to watching my favourite television shows.

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