The Network Society

“A network society is a society whose social structure is made of networks powered by microelectronics-based information and communication technologies”
The interdependant relationship between people and instutions are emphasizing by social networks:  I would like to share the report below as the relationship between people and new media that causes wider social change.
—Facebook and Twitter key to Arab Spring uprisings: report
Jun 6, 2011

DUBAI // The most popular Twitter hashtags in the Arab region in the first three months of this year were “Egypt”, “Jan25”, “Libya”, “Bahrain” and “protest”.

Nearly 9 in 10 Egyptians and Tunisians surveyed in March said they were using Facebook to organise protests or spread awareness about them.

All but one of the protests called for on Facebook ended up coming to life on the streets.

These and other findings from the newly released second edition of the Arab Social Media Report by the Dubai School of Government give empirical heft to the conventional wisdom that Facebook and Twitter abetted if not enabled the historic region-wide uprisings of early 2011.

In part by using the social networking sites, activists organised and publicised the unprecedented protests that gave rise to the so-called Arab Spring, which has so far seen longtime governments in Egypt and Tunisia fall, regimes in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain clash with the opposition, and leaders in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE offer more benefits to their populace.
Social media – its rise and its new activist uses – have “played a critical role in mobilisation, empowerment, shaping opinions and influencing change,” the report said.

Just how integral its role was has been debated, it said, “with some camps labelling them the main instigators and others relegating them to mere tools.”

“Regardless, it can be stated that many of the calls to protest in the Arab region were initially made on Facebook,” it said. “As the initial platform for these calls, it cannot be denied that they were factor in mobilising movements. Facebook usage swelled in the Arab region between January and April and sometimes more than doubled, the report found.

Overall, the number of users jumped by 30 per cent to 27.7m, compared with 18 per cent growth during the same period in 2010. In the past year, the number of users has nearly doubled from 14.8m.

Usage in Bahrain grew 15 per cent in the first three months of the year, compared with 6 per cent over the same period last year.

Egypt saw 29 per cent growth compared to 12 per cent last year.

Tunisia had 17 per cent growth compared to 10 per cent last year.

The exception was Libya, where usage fell by 76 per cent. One possible reason is that many there have fled amidst fierce fighting between the regime and rebels.

During the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, the vast majority of 200-plus people surveyed over three weeks in March said they were getting their information from social media sites (88 per cent in Egypt and 94 per cent in Tunisia).



This outnumbered those who turned to non-government local media (63 per cent in Egypt and 86 per cent in Tunisia) and to foreign media (57 per cent in Egypt and 48 per cent in Tunisia).

On Twitter, the hashtag “Egypt” had 1.4 million mentions in the three months of the year. Other hashtags – which are essentially search terms – “Jan25” had 1.2m mentions; “Libya” had 990,000; “Bahrain” had 640,000; and “protest” had 620,000.
The flurry of tweets spiralled during the turning points of the uprisings.

In Tunisia they peaked around the January 14 protest start date. In Egypt they spiked around February 11 when longtime President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. And in Bahrain they jumped in the days after the demonstrations began on February 14.

Government attempts to ban such sites ended up backfiring, the survey of Egyptians and Tunisians found.

Just over a quarter of those polled (28 per cent in Egypt and 29 per cent in Tunisia) said the blocking of Facebook disrupted their efforts to organise and communicate.

But more than half (56 per cent in Egypt and 59 per cent in Tunisia) said it had a positive effect, motivating them to press on and mobilising newcomers.

The authorities’ efforts to block out information, the report said, ended up “spurring people to be more active, decisive and to find ways to be more creative about communicating and organising”.


Network Society

It is an undeniable fact that the emergence of network society has been one of the central themes in 21st century since the society is now living in an information age. As Austrian-born American physicist Fritjof Capra states “the network is a pattern that is common to all life. Wherever we see life, we see networks” (Capra:2002) Below, I would like to share a chart explaining the development of the information age and network society, which just describes the fact that the more the factors such as nature, land, capital and knowledge increase in time, the more the size of the information societies. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is exactly good or bad. It is good that we have such technology and network today we can even talk with someone whenever we want and anywhere he is in the world through certain networks; but is also bad that we have once started to lose traditional or conventional values of ours from the past, such as writing a letter and sending presents in it. So, what do you think about that?

New Media and Democracy

One of the main characteristics of new media, the flows of information can be possible between user groups or individual users (Törenli, 2005: 159). It is mentioned that when participant emphasis of democracy is realized, internet is a really important tool to improve democracy. So is it really true?

According to information society thesis, while information is spaning, the power will be shared and governments will be more participant, apparent and transparent with the coercion of technology (Neuman, 1991: 32-33). On the other hand, there are some critical thoughts aganist the information society thesis. For Ellul, posibilities of civilan resistance has no chance in view of “system of technicians” which is independent and reproduce itself again and again. Actually, new technologies do not present a different thing from standadized products of culture industry. Accordiing to Schiller, there is not a thing like information society, it is just a conceptualization to reinforce market economy. Tourinne also emphasize that it is a social phase after the industirialization (Törenli, 2005: 225). For Hacker, the discourse of information society and communication technlogies turn democracy into a technical problem (Hacker, 1996: 214).

According to John Street, electronical democracy presents the model of Ancient Greek’s direct democracy (Street, 1997: 31-33). In contrary, the concept of electronical democracy is criticized. Technology can not resolve the problems of democracy. Although one of the requirements of democracy is information freedom, there is no concrete data to prove that majority of information reinforcesthe democracy. Besides, the differnce between information and knowledge is important. Information is a fact that its accuracy is polemical. The other critical thought is “to be electronical” makes nonsense of democracy. It refers to democracy is just perceived as voter behaviour (Timisi, 2003: 210-212).

Most of people believe that information is an easiliy accesiable source anymore, however it is like a fairy tale in this unequal conditions. They desregard economical and technical differences (Törenli, 2005: 220). The possiblities of new media about collecting, processing, circulating and storage of information are instrumental in activity of elites in lieu of ordinary people, so the liberalizing and participatory effect of new media is not realistic (Törenli, 2005: 219).


  • Street, John (1997). “Remote Control? Politics, Technology and ‘Electronic Democracy’”. European Journal of Communication. 12(1): 27-42.
  • Theaker A (2006), Halkla İlişkilerin El Kitabı, Murat Yaz, Çev, İstanbul: MediaCat Kitapları.
  • Timisi, N. (2003), Yeni İletişim Teknolojileri ve Demokrasi, Ankara: Dost Kitabevi Yayınları.
  • Törenli, N. (2007), Bilişim Teknolojileri Temelinde Haber Medyasının Yeniden Biçimlenişi: Yeni Medya, Yeni İletişim Ortamı, Ankara: Bilim ve Sanat Yayıları.
  • Van Dijk, J. (2004). ‘Digital Media’ The Sage Handbook of Media Studies, John D.H. Downing, Denis Mcquail, Philip Schlensinger, Ellen Wartella (ed.) . London: Sage 145-163.
  • Neuman, W. (1991) , The Future of the Mass Audience. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hacker, Kenneth L. (1996), “Missing Links in the Evolution of the Electonic Democratization”, Media, Culture and Society, 18: 213-232.

What does we get from Network Society?

Our societies are shifting rapidly from industrial to informational, so in today’s world, Network Society is gained biggest importance at all. According to Global Network Society theory, people do not have any cultural shock any more. They know everything they need to know. They have Facebook to find relationship, Google to ask questions, Twitter to follow people they do not know, MySpace to share their talents, LinkedIn to find job and etc.
In Network Society, it is not all about you but it is all about your data. What do you like to watch, eat, visit or like that. This video which I want to share with you is about positive sides of Network Society. Please click here to watch. 

On the other hand, in Network Society besides its positive effects, there is a dark side of it. Especially about privacy section. People’s private data are recorded by these social network sites, then they are used both for marketing studies and by other followers. Also, isolation from the real society is another big problem in Network Society. Please click here to watch the video about dark sides. And about privacy side, please click here to watch the video.

In 2010, The Social Network movie was released which is the movie about the establishment of Facebook. It is realy reflective movie about its rising. You can watch the trailer from here, and watch small study result on Obsession About Facebook from this link as well. .


The Network Society

In contemporary societies the basic cause for the rise of the networks is that the individual’s need of being in contact. At this level of individualization, the use of networks becomes the core concept for improving social relationships.

According to van Dijk ‘At the individual level the use of networks has come to dominate our lives. Counting the time spent on broadcast networks, telephony, and the Internet we can add between five and seven hours of leisure time a day on average in a developed society. Not to mention the hours spent with them at work and at school’ (van Dijk 2006,1)

In his book ‘The Network Society’, van Dijk gives extensive information about how social and media networks constitute a network society.


Facebook & Your Health

 According to the definition, social media is web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. It is defined as a group of internet-based applications that built on the ideological and technological foundations of the web. Social media is a new media type for social interaction as a superset beyond social communication it has changed the way of organizations, communities and individual communicate. When social media is pronounced, the name of Facebook is come everybody’s mind immediately. Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately. It has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, upload photos, and add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “People From Work” or “Close Friends”. Facebook allows any users who want to declare him or herself in many occasions. There are many discussions about the effect on Facebook, either negative or positive. One of them is related with the effects on the health. It is really interesting to see how all those “likes,” “pokes,” and status updates are really affecting the people and their family’s well-being, and how they can protect themselves from some of the potentially negative side effects.

Research shows that Facebook can:

Fuel self-esteem. People feel better about themselves after they updated their Facebook profiles. Strengthen friendship bonds. The site helped cement positive interactions among friends. Both private messages and wall posts allowed Facebook users to confide in their friends, surf down memory lane, and laugh out loud, promoting happy feelings.

Stamp out shyness and loneliness. The adults found that receiving messages from friends and consuming info from friends’ news feeds boosted feelings of connectedness, especially in people with self-described “low social skills.” Similar benefits hold true for tweens and teens: Communicating online helped improve communication skills for lonely adolescents, giving them an outlet to talk more comfortably about personal topics.

Research also shows that Facebook can:

Cause depression. When tweens and teens spend too much time on social media, leading them to turn to “substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors.”

Trigger eating disorders. The more time adolescent girls spent on the social networking site, the more likely they were to develop eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and extreme dieting. Exposure to online fashion and music content, as well as watching TV shows like Gossip Girl, were also associated with an increased risk for eating disorders.

 Soure : Wikipedia,