Why they will not stop the networked society

What we’re living today is probably the core and hardest point of social change generated by Internet and the so called Social Web. We are in the deep consolidation of the Networked Society in which network technologies are undermining an organizational model based on the centralized power control, in favor of a more distributed power. Despite many governments try in different ways to “arrest” this process through direct or indirect control, we can say that the networked society has passed the point of no-return. In order to understand why It’s impossible to go back, we need to travel through again the path we walked till today.

From Globalization to the Information Society

The first stage of this change has been realized at the end of ’80 when the Berlin wall’s falling closed the Cold-War and, as we know, this disintegrated the USSR. Falling down the soviet block, also many of threats and limits felt down. In the middle of nineties, WTO born with the intent of supervising and liberalizing international trade. In those years China started to increase its economy and it will has become the largest economy in the world. Europe was moving fast forward to open internal borders and to create the European Union, facilitating people and goods exchange between States. The Globalization was born.

In the meanwhile (1993), Internet abandoned the “reasearch” stage becoming the World Wide Web. The major change introduced by this technology was that “borders” would have no more meaning. Now any information can be produced anywhere and used, consumed and spread despite the place and time. It’s a about permanent information stored somewhere and ready to be access by anyone around the world.

In nineties we entered completely into the Information Society age. People living in different countries had the opportunity to communicate each other without any limitation. In few years, the number of connected people grown up from 16 million (the 0.4% of world population as in 1995) to 361 million (5.8% of world population as in 2000) to reach about 3 billion in March 2014 (41%) [source: History and Growth of the Internet from 1995 till Today at Internet World Stats].

On one side we had the free circulation of people and goods. On the other side we got the opportunity to have the free circulation of ideas.

 

Social Media and Internet penetration have a causal and negative impact on corruption: this is the conclusion of the research conducted by Chandan K. Jha and Sudipta Sarangi, fellow researchers at Louisiana State University’s Department of Economics. According to the research conclusions the more Social media and Internet penetration in a Country, the less the corruption rate of that Country.

Published on March 2014, The Louisiana State University’s paper is probably one of the very few researches aimed to investigate the relations between communication technology and corruption, especially considering Internet and  Social Media as a part of these technologies. Because the limited access to social media data, researchers used Facebook as a proxy for social media, so they investigated if there is (and which kind of) relationship between Facebook penetration and the World Bank’s Control of Corruption Index (CCI).

Using different dataset and stressing data in order to test the robustness of their inferences, researchers found out that the larger Internet and Facebook penetration, the lesser is the corruption in the country. Research’s results also suggest that these effects are sizable making them effective tools against corruption. Indeed they observed that a 1% increase in the internet penetration is associated with an improvement in the corruption index by about 0.027 points.

Download the paper “Social Media, Internet and Corruption

 

 

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Simone Favaro

Blogger, author, marketing and business networking strategist helping companies to build their online strategy and strong relationships using the social web.

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