Little Boxes, Glocalization, and Networked Individualism

Here is the abstract of an interesting article by Barry Wellman

Much thinking about digital cities is in terms of community groups. Yet, the world is composed of social networks and not of groups. This papertraces how communities have changed from densely-knit “Little Boxes” (densely-knit, linking people door-to-door) to “Glocalized” networks (sparselyknitbut with clusters, linking households both locally and globally) to“Networked Individualism” (sparsely -knit, linking individuals with little regardto space). The transformation affects design considerations for computer systems that would support digital cities.

This has set me thinking about whether it is possible to have a ‘community’ with the notion of networked individualism. According to some research done by Wellman – ‘the more people that are online, the less their sense of belonging to an online community.’ That feels a bit like this course.

He also writes – ‘With fuzzy network boundaries, individual autonomy and agency become more important, as each person becomes the responsible operator of her own personal network’.

Some questions arising from this are:

  • To what extent are we responsible for other people’s learning as well as our own?
  • Will networked learning lead to increased individual feelings of isolation?

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