Networked: The New Social Operating System

“The social requirement of the age of networked individuals is to be connected and findable”.(Wellman and Rainie 2012)

Networked Individualism, as described in their 2012 book has arisen from a confluence of events they identify as the Triple Revolution. This revolution consists of the Social Network Revolution, the Internet Revolution, and the Mobile revolution.

Rainie and Wellman state “The networked individuals who thrive have a combination of talent, energy, altruism, social acuity, and tech-saviness that allows them to build big, diverse networks and tap into these networks when they have needs. They are mastering a new set of literacies to navigate the network operating system.” (Rainie and Wellman 2012)

Here, briefly, are the 8 literacies:
1. Graphic literacy– as more of life is experienced as communications and media on screens you need to know how to participate in digital conversation and creation,
2. Navigation literacy– you need a sense of “Internet geography” and understand the “non-linear realities of hyperlinked, networked information”.
3. Context and connections literacy– learning to weave together information and chatter to create meaning.
4. Focus literacy– to be able to minimize inevitable digital distractions without losing sight of goals and objectives.
5. Multi-tasking literacy– to do several things simultaneously.
6. Skepticism literacy– the ability to evaluate what you encounter online.
7. Ethical literacy– you can build trust and value “by being accurate and thoughtful with the information (you) create and pass along.”
8. Networking literacy– know how to move comfortably through your network operating system–personal, institutional, and digital–without getting locked into one world.

A few very short years ago most of us would not have predicted what networked individualism would look like. Alan Kay, who was an early pioneer in computer programming and the architect of the modern overlapping windowing graphical user interface famously said “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.

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