The Midlife Crisis of the Network Society

Usher, Nikki; Carlson, Matt
Media and Communication

The network society is moving into some sort of middle age, or has at least normalized into the daily set of expectations people have for how they live their lives, not to mention consume news and information. In their adolescence, the technological and temporal affordances that have come with these new digital technologies were supposed to make the world better, or least they could have. There was much we did not foresee, such as the way that this brave new world would turn journalism into distributed content, not only taking away news organizations’ gatekeeping power but also their business model. This is indeed a midlife crisis. The present moment provides a vantage point for stocktaking and the mix of awe, nostalgia, and ruefulness that comes with maturity.