Response to Stephen Talbott’s Networks and Communities Someone first reading through Stephen Talbott’s “Networks and Communities” might see it as a vehement denial of the existence of any true form of community being formed through the internet. This however, I would argue, is not Talbott’s main, or even his major goal in writing this essay. Instead, it reads more of a warning against the veneration of the technology. Several times, he warns against seeing the internet as a solution to all the problems of society that existed. He cautions against the idealistic thinking that the internet, through its existence, will lead to a better, more equal society.
Talbott’s writing highlights three main points. First, that the physical presence of a connection does not equate or encourage the presence of a community. Second, that though people argue the internet will solve people’s issues with a lack of community and even morality, this is merely wishful and naïve thinking. Third, that the nature of the internet actually leads to a fragmentation of community itself, not the fusion he states some see it to be. While all of these are interconnected, Talbott spends time specifically picking apart each of these ideas, though it is hard to separate his thinking about the other two ideas when discussing…show more content… This is what he sees as the popular opinion of networks, saying that “The assumption that networks constitute some sort of positive realization of, or at least predisposition to, community and democracy is incredibly widespread” (Talbott 2). He argues that while the connection allows people to communicate in new ways, it gives no thought to the differences in how they relate to each other over this connection. In fact, Talbott states that internet can cause people to become more isolated than ever before, shunning the real building of