The Network Society Paradigm

The Network Society Paradigm

Discussing the network society paradigm we come across a range of theories and concepts that can be carried through the online world. The network society idea is strongly linked to the understanding of globalisation’s social effects and the role of electronic communications technology in society. Manuel Castells, a Spanish sociologist who is the creator of the network society theory. The main concept developed into the theory is how power is a from of control and has influence in communication. Discussing power, economy and how the world is shaped by globalisation. The organisational arrangements of humans in relationships that may also be referred to as social structure, represents production, consumption, reproduction, experience, and power through meaningful communication codified by culture. (Castells 2004) The main theory that will be focused upon is the networking of centralised, decentralised and distributed. 

The Three Networks

The three main networks of centralised, decentralised and distributed are an enterprise of networking and has become a major aspect in business. A centralised network starts simply with a central network owner – this meaning that the ‘centre’ is the  main contact point in terms of sharing information, processing data and storing other digital data such as user information, we can be accessed by others. By being a centralised network holder, it creates a bridge way for users to access information, creating requests that go through this centre network owner. A example of centralised networks could branch from major online platforms such as Google, YouTube, FaceBook and even the app store. Through these platforms a third-party authorisation becomes the main effect of networking.

A decentralised network unlike the centralised has multiple centres. The multiple owners share the distribution of information and data across multiple centres, this creates a copy of recourses to each main point. Each individual point has a purpose and on its own creates a centralised network which ill connect with other points individually. A main difference between decentralised and centralised is that when a point fails in a centralised network the whole thing will shut-down. As with a decentralised network if one point fails the other centres are able to continue to work and interact with the other points, this meaning that the ability to give access to user data and the network as a whole will have no major effects and will continue to perform like normal. 

In a way the distributed network can have similar aspects to a decentralised network. Although the distributed network is completely cut off from any centralised networking. The network is show to be reliant on equality, meaning the main idea of the distribution is that everyone gets access and its equal. Meaning all data ownership is shared equally through all points of distribution. As simple s possible the distributed network can be described as a distributed geographically, but may follow a top-down node hierarchy model. The equal access to data can create a ‘burden’ as data is passed across the network and is processed to all users. The layout of a distributed network creates a solid foundation making it quite secure and doesn’t leave much room for error. An example of a distributed network coul be found through a phone and data (cellular) company network. 

Advantages and Disadvantages 

Each of the three main networks have their advantages and of course their disadvantages, this of course including their differences and their mutual attributes. Starting with the distributed network, there are both a number of advantages that come along with this equal theory network. Like discussed above being able to be a solid foundation and quite like a distributed network, if one point fails it isnt going to effect the entire network. The distribution of the points will make up for the failed point and reconnect, once again equally sharing the users data. The speed of data processing is unmatched in the distribution network. This follows with the solid foundation and of cousre the equal sharing creates an open and transparent platform, which means there is the ability to loose, censor and even destroy data almost impossible. The disadvantages of a distribution network include high maintenance costs, unlike a centralised network as it is in need of more resources to keep the network together. It is a difficult system to adjust and can create problems around design and debugging. 

The centralised network is a simple concept which creates a quick seamless approach. Less communication with others means authorisation is minimised. The ability to drop, add and move points connected to the centre node, also keeps the simplicity of this network. A centralised network comes with a budget-friendly maintenance. To be able to keep minimal change and smooth process of updating and addressing issues in the platform. The simplicity follows through to the ability for the main point to be an easy connection to interactions between the main point and users. This can overall create positive users and an experience that is worth their time. The disadvantages of the centralised network can include issues of privacy and security. In relation to the decentralised network which has a well-organised direction in terms of privacy for data. Disturbances from cyber attacks, as if the main point is affected the whole network may come crashing down. 

Finally, the decentralised network has similar advantages to both the centralised and distributed networks. The similarities come from the performance of the platform. It has a strong base and the flexibility of being able to have zero chances of failure to the whole network meaning that the decentralised network is easy to scale. The main points in the decentralised network allow for seamless and fast performance in high volume areas. The privacy of a decentralised network is unmatched. Due to the multiple centres, it creates a protective barrier for data. The disadvantages include the issues with high maintenance costs that occur due to the excess amounts of labouring costs as they are more reliable on multiple devices. 

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