THE NATURE OF NETWORKS

"But I have eyes. And ears. I see everything in all the Hundred Worlds. I watch the sky through a thousand telescopes. I overhear a trillion conversations every day." She giggled a little. "I'm the best gossip in the universe." —Jane, a sentient being created from the world's digital network in 'Speaker for the Dead' by Orson Scott Card


Network as paths.

If websites are houses, then a network is the path that connects one house to another. Just as there are multiple ways to get to my physical home, so there are multiple ways one may arrive at a particular website.


Network as communication.

But if I would like to send a message to a friend who lives far away, it would be much easier for me to give them a call than walk the many miles to their home. In the same way, networks allow us to relay messages from one site to another without having to visit our destination.


Network as relationships.

Of course, whether I go in person, or send a letter in my proxy, paying a visit to a friend reinforces our bond to each other. Our digital networks are thus virtual imprints of the real, yet less tangible, connections that bind us all.