Unknown-4A friend of mine always tells us to “Go ask Uncle Google” whenever I have a question that could be answered through in Internet search.  When you type the question into the search bar, the answers come up in a long list of possible sources.  Answers do seem to be there.  This wasn’t always the case.  I’ve been online since the 90’s and availability of information was not the same back then.

Go to Google and ask the question, “What is network literacy?” and Howard Rheingold’s YouTube video shows up on the first page of a list of possible sources with the answer to this question.  Rheigold has a two-part series about network literacy that outlines some of the history of the Internet or originally called the ‘Inter Network’ and how this infrastructure is combined with social networking.


Tim Berners Lee

Rheingold explains, “When the original architects of the Internet protocol started creating the architecture for the overall network by creating the rules by which data could be sent through that network, they realized that the did not know what would be done with the network in the future.”  These architects decided to decentralize control and create the end to end principle.  This allowed someone like Tim Berners-Lee the opportunity to utilize the Internet in creating the World Wide Web. He didn’t have to ask for permission.

In Part 2 of Rheingold’s video lecture, he cites David Reed and explains how value can be associated with this network.  There’s a liner value with a sender to a receiver, a squared value from transactions, and an exponential value for facilitating groups.  This kind of group value is produces extraordinary results in regards to the amount of information available on the World Wide Web that is utilizes the Internet.  So when my friend says, “Go ask Uncle Google”, what is really happening?  We are seeking answers from the value of group affiliations.  It’s not liner, not squared, it’s exponential.  Social networking is certainly something that is innate and familiar to humans, but the availability of a network at this level is unparalleled in human history.  It’s an exciting time to live.