The Internet: A network of networks and culture of cultures

The internet is often described as not just a network but a network of networks. Over the last 10 years we have seen it change and evolve at an incredible rate. Alongside this a new internet culture has emerged and there is increasing melding of it with more mainstream culture.

The catalyst for this is, of course, (surprise, surprise!) social media! While online communities have existed for a long time on the internet, they had an almost silo-like existence with limited contact with other communities.

With social media those online communities or cultures are more easily able to communicate with each other crossing national, social, political and other boundaries. This is creating a new culture of cultures in which more cross-fertilisation of people and ideas occurs. Social media is also impacting the way news is reported and consumed. The online social media communities are all potential publishers and news gatherers. Interesting and engaging news can be shared within communities and across communities with ease in real-time.

Ideas and news are generated and evolve at a lightening quick pace. They are shared between individuals, communities and wider communities of communities. It is even possible now to observe social graphs of connnections for yet more insight. Of course there are some closed communities and countries that may not like this new openness (think about the trouble Google has had in China and the recent blocking of Facebook in Pakistan). However, they may find it increasingly difficult to maintain a 'walled-garden' approach in the future. When you get on to the global stage the shear number of people and connections are staggering. It is not possible for one government or other entity to completely control the internet for their own interests.

In my eyes, this new emerging global culture of cultures is the quite possibly the next stage in our evolution but it is currently still in an embryonic stage. As communities and cultures increase their interaction with each other maybe we might actually realise and more greatly appreciate that we all have one fundamental thing in common - we are all human..