“According to the sociologist Manuel Castells (2000), society in the early twenty-first century is characterized by a social structure he calls the “network society”.

...

[In his book Communication Power] Castells distinguishes between several distinct kinds of power in social networks. He argues that the paramount form of power in the network society is the power to constitute networks - to connect individuals and institutions to these networks, or to exclude them, and to interconnect different networks.

...

In addition to power as domination of others, which arises from conflicts of interest, as we have seen, there is another kind of power - power of empowerment of others. Whereas power as domination is most effectively exercised through a hierarchy, the most effective social structure for power as empowerment is the network. In a social network, people are empowered by being connected to the network.

In such a network the success of the whole community depends on the success of its individual members, while the success of each member depends on the success of the community as a whole. Any enrichment of individuals, due to increased connectedness in the network, will therefore also enrich the entire network. In social networks, the hubs with the richest connections become centers of power. Because they connect large numbers of people to the network they are sought out as authorities in various fields. Thus, in a social network the centers of power are centers of both empowerment and of authority. “

The Network as the most effective socia…