I’ve just finished a draft of a paper by this title for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Programme on Globalization, UK Poverty and Communities. My thanks to Bianca Reisdorf for assistance with the analysis, and Teresa Hanley for her valued comments.
Worldwide diffusion and use of the Internet is changing how we communicate, but also reconfiguring patterns of local and global communication — shaping what we know, and whom we know. Rather than undermining social networks and local communities in the ways feared by many critics of new media, use of the Internet is empowering ‘networked individuals’ and their communities – local and global. This general theme is based on a synthesis of empirical research, and analysis of data gathered on the use of the Internet by people living in Britain and around the world. Longer-term outcomes will depend on how networked individuals and institutions will use the Internet in a rapidly evolving regulatory context that could enrich or undermine digital Britain.
The paper is posted and available on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1673426 Comments would be valued, as I expect to have an opportunity to revise this following a meeting at the Rowntree Foundation.