The maturing of the Internet and mobile telephony has given rise to a new societal condition known as network culture, which highlights broader societal structures, just as concepts like modernism and postmodernism did in the past. This shift in society is subtle yet real and radical. Digital networks have become the dominant cultural logic, profoundly transforming not only culture but also the economy, public sphere, and even people’s subjectivity. In contrast to digital culture, network culture makes information less the outcome of discrete processing units and more of the result of the networked relations between them, of connections between people, between machines, and between people and machines. It is in this context that networked publics are created.
The internet is an unprecedented global artificial world (I call it Internesia) in which social behavior has looser rules and less serious consequences than the world of modern society. If you’re at a job interview, or at a party, or even just going to the store, the rules are tighter and the stakes are higher than when you’re goofing off anonymously in some comment thread.
So what happens to someone who spends more time on the internet than out in society? The easier world becomes the new baseline, and what used to be the normal world now feels difficult and frightening. As the social internet grows, this happens to more and more people.