Often we hear things about ‘how far we’ve come’ due to our advances in technology and how we are not only improving our way of life but we are also becoming more connected to one another through different mediums (social networking, telephones etc). In short, this is known as globalisation, the breakdown of barriers.
Castells states that, “..the network society expands on a global scale. This is the structural basis for globalisation.”, meaning that network society and globalisation go hand in hand and work together.
But the question is, is the network society and globalisation good or bad?
Globalisation has made things possible that were almost unimaginable a couple of hundred years ago. We are now importing and exporting products all over the world, communicating with people thousands of kilometres away, receiving information instantaneously worldwide and the list of things that are now possible due to globalisation goes on.
However there are also countless negatives to having such a connected world. On the extreme side of the scale there is the exploitation of workers in less developed countries, this is happening due to the ability to export and import products. While one pair of shoes may cost $30 to make in the US, in Vietnam they may cost 5c because labour in developing countries costs far less than in developed nations. Many people may look at this as a positive because we are creating more jobs in developing countries and giving opportunities to people less fortunate. However many of these labour factories are known as sweatshops and make their employees work outrageously long hours while getting payed pittance. This is exploitation and is a majorly negative result of globalisation.
On the less serious side of things one could say that the network society and globalisation is allowing for us to be too connected. Nowadays everybody has a facebook/twitter/reddit/tumblr (as well as countless others) profile, and while some may use these sites in a productive and informative manor, many do not. I personally get unreasonably angry when John Smith updates his status to “eating some cake” or Mary Jones invites me to give her my number even though I only met her once at that party two years ago. Nothing seems to be a mystery anymore, everybody knows what everyone else is doing and it is getting to the point of unreasonable. Even if I do not check facebook or tumblr, chances are that the next time I see one of my friends they are going to bring up something that they saw on a social media site, even when you disconnect yourself it’s almost impossible to avoid social media.
Also, I recently read a blog post titled, ‘All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up’ by Maureen O’Connor, and would highly recommend it for anybody who’s interested in what I’m saying above as O’Conner explains this in much more detail than I and really shows how connected we all are, even if we don’t really realise it at times.
Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224)
O’connor, M. (2013) ‘All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.’ The Cut, [blog] 21/07/13, Available at: http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/07/texting-exes-social-media-generation.html (Accessed: 30/07/13)