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Respect the Network

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today’s word is “network” and with this word I want to focus on two specific definitions. The first is the technical sense of network: it is the system of linking technological devices through the use of communication technologies. This is a layman’s version of the definition, but for these purposes let’s consider my definition as the techie form of network, it is the linking of computers via the network.

Definition two is culled from the community sense of network. In this form, the term “network” refers to the connections between people. We usually insert an adjective like “social” or “business” before this form of network in order to distinguish which network we are referring to.

Here again is a sign of how powerful a change the internet has rendered on society. A citizen in the connected world now possesses multiple-networks. No longer is John Q. Citizen limited to the social networks of limited connections defined mainly by common experiences, ie: same college, same employers, same geographic location. In today’s networked world we possess multiple networks. Our technical network has enabled a richer variety of inter-personal networks and, as a result, our function in society is drastically altered. Herein lies my point.

We need to focus more on using our technical network to enrich our many personal networks. Yes the network establishes them, but by recognizing that our personal lives have been drastically altered we can refine our perspective on technology and better utilize the wealth of tools at our disposal.

A network’s goal will define its inter-network interaction. If a group forms a network for social means, the members of the group will select and utilize tools that assist in developing a stronger social connection. A stronger bond within the social network is the major goal and members in the group will select and utilize tools that make this goal a reality.

Likewise a network arranged for task accomplishment will utilize technology in order to meet this goal. This group will may select different tools to achieve these goals or they may utilize the same tools in different formats or even use the social network tools in order to establish a stronger social network.

Despite such distinctions both forms of networks will use technology in order to accomplish their goals. In order to do so, each group must complete the bittersweet task of searching through the vast array of tools available. This is a comprehensive task, one that will likely create frustration and almost certainly establish a situation where the final goal of the group must be temporarily discarded as the process of locating the perfect tools are found. If successful though this search will provide the group with tools that can establish a level of efficiency beyond the most optimistic of expectations.

The term network has a dual meaning in education. We need to recognize the “networks” established by our “network” and recognize the ultimate goals of these groups. Through a clear definition each network can better understand the final goal, thereby creating focus, and set itself on a path of establishing the process and tools needed to meet success.

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Categories: Network, Society
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