In class today we will discuss chapter 1 (introduction) in Network Logic. (Remember to post the required weblog entry on the reading before class.) To help with your understanding of this (and future) material, I provide the following rough definitions. Be sure to review them and be aware they may appear on a quiz or test.
Network: A network is an interconnected system of things or people. A network is usually understood as a set of points (nodes) that are connected to other points in some meaningful way. Networks can be isolated or interconnected with other networks.
Two major types of networks are particularly important to us in this course:
Telecommunication networks: A telecommunication network is a series of points (nodes) interconnected by communication paths. We can see these as technical networks used by people for communicating. (Examples: Broadcast network, telephone network, cable network, and various types of computer networks such as LANs [local area networks], WANs [wide area networks] and the internet [a network of computer networks].
Social networks: A social network is a way of understanding relationships among people as complex connections among individuals which together help to define a group. Some examples of social networks include families, friendship networks, professional networks, and different kinds of communities or groups.
We will be most interested in the intersections between social networks and telecommunications networks.
In our reading we have begun looking at networks. For your weblog entry this week, consider the following quotes from our reading:
“(Networks) are all around us. We rely on them. We are threatened by them. We are part of them. Networks shape our world, but they can be confusing: no obvious leader or centre, no familiar structure and no easy diagram to describe them. Networks self-organise, morphing and changing as they react to interference or breakdown.” (McCarthy et al, 2004: 11)
“Networks embody a set of fundamental principles for the ordering, distribution and coordination of different components, whether chemical, natural, social or digital. Network principles help to explain not just the distribution of wealth in monetary economies, but also the distribution of molecules in cellular systems. If we can recognise and detect these patterns more accurately, we could learn to use them for organisation and decision-making, to make possible new forms of coordination and collective action.” (McCarthy et al, 2004: 12)
Keeping the ideas from this quote in mind, describe a network you are part of and discuss ways in which it reflects (or not) some of the characteristics suggested in the quotes, or how the quotes might help us understand our networks. Consider what the network is like, how you got to be part of it, how it is important to you, how it connects to other networks, and so on. (These are suggestions to give you ideas of what to write about your chosen network–you may discuss other issues if you wish.)
Your entry should be approximately three paragraphs long and completed and posted before the beginning of class on Tuesday 8 February. Once you have submitted your entry, post a link to our facebook group.