Digital Media- The Power of the Network

During this weeks lecture we looked at the ideas around networks; we all exist in a network and are part of a network, for example our bodies are networks. We are also part of the huge network that is the Internet; networks form interconnectivity and this can be seen in the case of the Internet, we now have access to people and information that would not be possible if it were not for the Internet.

We also looked at Ludwig von Bertalanffy, his General Systems Theory in the 1940s, that was an attempt to map hard sciences, social sciences and humanities, technology and art. He employed a set of descriptive notions:

  • System – the way it works
  • Network – the structure it takes
  • Metabolism – its evolution/organic nature
  • Openness/closure – can it be impinged on from the outside?


We then looked into the more specific area of social networks, these are just a small area of online networks. Social networks allow us to talk to people through an online medium, they allow new connections to be made as well as developing existing connections. The use of social media can be seen to have its draw back such as the ideas around catfishing and whether you really know who you are talking to in some cases, but the majority of the time they allow a great community in the digital world. Social networks have begun to effect the way we work, you can contact future employers through mediums such as LinkedIN and share your professional profile online as well as a physical CV.

The idea of social networks leads on to the idea of being connected in real time, our messages and conversations flow as though were are sitting next to each other; the use of instant messaging has allowed instant response, however this can be seen to have a negative effect on the art of conversation as people would rather message then pick up the phone now due to convenience.

We used to passively watch telly, now we are part of the narrative, it is a much more interactive world. Participatory culture that has created this network of sharing allowing everyone to get involved if they wish. Interactive system allows us to engage more and so we feel part of a culture or network.

Finally we looked at the idea of networks in relation to the human brain; our brains are probably one of the most complicated networks. The network of the brain is very similar to the network of the Internet visually; it could be questioned is this a coincidence? The Blue brain project, created a human brain in terms of recreating the amount of links within a brain.

In relation to my work this term I want to make sure I connect all my networks, such as social media and my blog work to my website, allowing an easy following network of my work. Furthermore I questioned, in relation to my artefact work, am I creating a travel network, for a small sample of my family? I believe to an extent each persons journey over two weeks could be seen to combine to create a network of their travel.


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