Nodular Thinking

The discussion we had in class  a few days ago about networks was simultaneously amusing and informative.  Before really getting into the readings, my notion of networks  were limited to social media and “networking” in regards to one’s career.  I remember hearing from career advisers “you must leverage your network” in order to have more success while looking for jobs.    Those words didn’t give me much comfort years ago because I didn’t feel like my professional network was very large – I still don’t in fact.   But maybe they were right after all; there were networks all around me that I perhaps had not considered.

My notion of what a network could has definitely expanded this week; for example, the idea that online fan communities was a little eye-opening and not something I hadn’t considered before.  One of the aspects of network theory that Paul Adams points out in his piece is the “self-organizing” nature of networks.  The example of  Glee was raised in class, but I must admit I don’t have to look too far back to my own  younger days when being a fan of certain TV shows meant I was wasting time on the internet posting and reading through online forums (admittedly nerdy).  The way these online fans can rally themselves to, for instance, protest the cancellation of a show they care about is a valid, albeit silly, example of network power.

I think the role the internet plays in network formation is a fascinating topic.  Surely, there were networks before the advent of the internet.  According to Adams, “real-world networks are the outcome of spontaneous growth processes in which nodes and links are added at random (74).”  When I first starting reading the passage where aforementioned quote came from, I wasn’t sure if the internet was part of what was being described given his choice of the worlds real-world.”  Of course, I could see that it was as I read further.


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