Coined in 1981 by sociologist and social psychologist Stein Braten used the ‘network society’ in order to describe society powered by networked information and communications technology.
Manuel Castells then argued that the network society emerged as human societies moved from the industrial age to the information age. In this transition, capitalism is no longer centered on the production of material goods but on information and knowledge. The Network society refers to the social structure of this new age. Castells termed its economic manifestation the global informational economy.
According to Castells, networks now form the new architecture of society and are the dominant mode of organising social relations.
In more simple terms, the network society is used by Manuel Castells to refer to the social infrastructure of the information age, which is controlled by a system of nodes, creating a decentralized network.
Social networks are driven by micro-electronic communication technologies, such as the internet or mobile phones. This suggests that we are less bounded by physical locations because it is organised around new forms of time and space that are not geographically bound, timeless time and the space flows. This is how the idea of the information age came about, a society that is now powered by information and technology.
Castells believes that the global society becomes more productive, connected and liberal because of the network society, which he is so optimistic about.
The network society had inundated many parts of the journalism industry.
In terms of our magazine production module: Pitch, Produce, Publish, we would have developed a website and app if it were to be published to professional standards. We did this to make sure that the audience were less bound by physical locations, for example, having to go to a shop to consume the magazine. Being less bound by physical locations leads onto the idea of space flows. Meaning that the information in the magazine is not restricted by the magazine in print itself, the content (information) is also online and available on the app, so it is not restricted to just print media.
This links back to Castells idea of capitalism being centered on the production and movement of information and knowledge, therefore the information age.