Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World (Electronic by Ulises Ali Mejias

By Ulises Ali Mejias

The electronic global profoundly shapes how we paintings and devour and in addition how we play, socialize, create identities, and interact in politics and civic lifestyles. certainly, we're so enmeshed in electronic networks—from social media to telephone phones—that it truly is demanding to conceive of them from the surface or to visualize another, not to mention defy their probably inescapable energy and good judgment. definite, it really is (sort of) attainable to give up fb. yet is it attainable to disconnect from the electronic network—and why may we wish to?

Off the Network is a clean and authoritative exam of the way the hidden good judgment of the web, social media, and the electronic community is altering clients’ figuring out of the world—and why that are supposed to fear us. Ulises Ali Mejias additionally indicates how we would start to reconsider the good judgment of the community and query its ascendancy. Touted as consensual, inclusive, and pleasing, the electronic community is usually, Mejias says, monopolizing and perilous in its potential to figure out, commodify, and commercialize such a lot of features of our lives. He exhibits how the community broadens participation but additionally exacerbates disparity—and the way it excludes extra of society than it comprises.

Uniquely, Mejias makes the case that it's not basically essential to problem the privatized and commercialized modes of social and civic existence provided by way of corporate-controlled areas resembling fb and Twitter, yet that such confrontations might be fastened from either inside and out of doors the community. the result's an uncompromising, subtle, and obtainable critique of the electronic global that more and more dominates our lives.

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Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World (Electronic Mediations)

The electronic international profoundly shapes how we paintings and eat and in addition how we play, socialize, create identities, and have interaction in politics and civic existence. certainly, we're so enmeshed in electronic networks—from social media to phone phones—that it truly is not easy to conceive of them from the skin or to visualize an alternate, not to mention defy their probably inescapable energy and good judgment.

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Thus at a time when user-generated content supposedly rules, the single-seller monopoly has merely been replaced by the single-buyer monopsony. A monopsony, in economic terms, represents a type of market structure where many sellers encounter a single buyer (as opposed to a monopoly, where one seller has many buyers). The monopsony, I argue (or oligopsony, if there is not just one but a few competing buyers), is emerging as the dominant market structure of the digital network. If users want their content to be easily accessible (or have a chance to go viral), there is only one place to go sell or, in most instances, surrender their content: large companies like YouTube, Twitter, and so on.

Even if such a population is emerging, and we dismiss criticisms that digital networks only promote the kind of “slacktivism” that supports feel-good causes with little impact, there are still not a lot of questions being asked about the kinds of privatized environments in which civic and social participation unfolds. It is the commercial nature of social network services and its impact on new forms of social organization and participation that concerns us here. There is no denying that corporations are responsible for most of the innovation we are seeing in social networking services.

This gives form to what is known as a “scale-free network,” a network that can grow or expand easily. The second concept is that as these scale-free networks grow, they exhibit a form of “preferential attachment” whereby new nodes tend to link to older or bigger nodes, meaning that rich nodes get even richer in terms of the number of links connecting them to other nodes. 13 There are also a variety of metrics that have been developed to quantify the behavior of networks. 14 For instance, properties of the network as a whole may include • size and density, which indicate respectively the number of nodes in the network, and the ratio of actual links to possible links that could exist in the network; • centralization, which measures the difference between the centrality score (a combination of closeness and betweenness—see further in the text) of the hubs and the rest of the nodes in the network; • transitivity, which describes the degree in the network to which a triad of actors are connected in a close loop (whenever A is connected to B, B is connected to C, and A and C are also connected); and • inclusiveness, which is a network metric that actually attempts to deal with the excluded by comparing the number of actors in the network to those not included in the network.

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