I finished Week 8‘s reading with Manuel Castells‘ Afterword in the Demos publication Network Logic (2004). I was trying not to start with the Afterword. I hold Manuel, Stephen and George responsible for my involvement in CCK08. Saving up the Afterword made this week’s readings delightful.
I enjoyed William Dutton’s (2007) paper on the Fifth Estate. I noted in particular his discussion of a “space of flows”, Internet-enabled networks and the reconfiguration that is occurring in regard to people services and technologies. I thought Table 1 provided a useful guide to the scale of the Fifth Estate.
I read the entirety of the second reading this week, Network Logic. The title for this post comes from the frontpiece to Karen Stephenson’s Chapter 3. I think the suggestion that:
Reciprocity is key to the power of networks, the alchemy of mutual give and take over time turning to a golden trust…
is the essence of CCK08. I believe unequivocally that a space of flows flourishes when ego is subsumed in collective flourishing. Dr Perri 6’s network signatures framed this thought for me in Figure 1 on page 135.
Given Manual Castells’ protest background, I was drawn inexorably to Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs chapter. I liked in particular his assertion that:
The ‘killer apps’ of tomorrow’s mobile infocom industry won’t be hardware devices or software programmes but social practices.
I enjoyed reading about Paul Skidmore’s six characteristics of leadership and these resonate with my own thoughts about energy giving in reciprocal relationships in flat organisations (a legacy of my Celestine Prophecy days!).
Then to the Afterword. Reading it reminded me of the Jerzy Kosiński novel (1971) and Peter Sellar’s film Being There. (Some YouTube links to the film here.) I noted with reverence the conclusion to Manuel’s chapter:
Networks matter because they are the underlying structure of our lives. And without understanding their logic we cannot change their programmes to harness their flexibility to our hopes, instead of relentlessly adapting ourselves to the instructions received from their unseen codes. Networks are the Matrix.