Jim, and All, great!
On a personal note, I think that your 'Pure Democracy' involving the internet involves an every-vote-counts approach, and that while as a whole (e.g. a given collective vote) they are one ("I would melt into the system losing all semblance of individualism"), each person, or voice, who votes is an individual vote and each voice (your "a thought within the human consciousness") is a significant consciousness. The distributed internet, - accessible via the familiar nodes of laptops, desktops and mobile phones +, - now in all 242 + countries, extends such collective consciousness in the form of group decision-making, and eventually voting (both metaphorically and actually), via communication power, among many other ways.
Per Rainie and Wellman's "Networked," their argument is specific for Networked Individualism as a new development in social theory vis-a-vis the internet. See their chart on page 38 in Chapter 2, distinguishing between Group-Centered Society and Network Individualism. How to come richly into conversation with this chart is something I think we'll find fruitful for this course.
Whereas Manual Castells brings individualism vis-a-vis communalism into conversation, theoretically and sociologically, i.e. as social theory - see http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/Castells/castells-con6.html - Rainie and Wellman characterize something new between the two, thanks to the information age and the internet.
Hi 'Information Technology and the Network Society' course friends around the world,
Very nice to see all of you in both Second Life and in a G+ Hangout.
2nd hour -Aparna (India), Swati (India), Jessika (Indonesia), Khushboo (India), myself (SF Bay Area - west coast), Cristian (Brazil), and afterward Bilal/Max (Germany), were all able to meet in the Google + group video Hangout = 7 people. ... which is great and amazing. Sound and image qualities were quite good. Here's the video of this - https://www.youtube.com/
1st hour -
Aparna, Swati, Jessika, Khushboo, myself, Cristian, Bilal/Max AND Jim (Massachusetts - East Coast) were all able to meet on Harvard's island in Second Life = 8 people.
You'll find the definition of technology I mentioned at the end of the G+ Hangout here - http://socinfotech.pbworks.
com/w/page/30045719/ InfoTechSoc1_2010FA - and accessible here - http://socinfotech.pbworks. com/w/page/17175578/FrontPage .
I invite you to read Chapter 1 of Rainie and Wellman's "Networked" for next Thursday's course meeting beginning at 7am PDT (west coast time).
And please share a paragraph (toward a certificate) about your 'I.T. and Network Society' research interests and how they might dovetail with this course to - information-technology-and-
the-network-society@ googlegroups.com - which is asking:
What is information technology, broadly conceived? How did it develop? Who did it? What has been the process of diffusion into the economy and society? How and why did the Network Society take shape? What of the implications of networks in the Information Age? In this course, we’ll analyze the interaction between society and contemporary information technologies, in a multicultural and comparative perspective. In doing so, we’ll examine what data and evidence are in the social sciences, how it is used, and how it is interpreted (http://
worlduniversityandschool. blogspot.com/2013/09/ information-technology-and- network.html).
And please take this course as an opportunity to write further, weekly or daily even (http://www.blogger.com/ ? - are any of you already blogging), vis-a-vis your various, academic, research questions, and share this in the IT at NS Google Group ... information-technology-and-
the-network-society@ googlegroups.com ... which, of course, you can then use in your own academic research.
I hope we can all find ours ways into an academic writing / generativity (in video, too?) modality, as well in this course.