As a tool of communication and technology sharing, the Internet has become a powerful force that is difficult to control. According to Castells the Internet has become the center for libertarian values of privacy, freedom, and openness. Castells believes that the interaction between four types of cultures resulted in this: the techno-meritocratic culture, the hacker ethic, the virtual communitarians, and the entrepreneurs. The author believes that with time the flexibility of the Internet will be used in commercial interests to change the culture of openness of the Internet into the culture of control.
Castells in the chapter Virtual Communities or Network Society reflects on how the internet has changed the way people communicate with each other. The author speaks about how most people’s social interactions increase, rather than decrease, which is the general opinion of the internet. A major criticism against the communication through the Internet is that there is little time for communication in a real time. According to Castells studies this fact is wrong and he rejects it. Then the author mentions such a notion as networked individualism. This means that people build their networks on their own interest. In other words, the author points out that nowadays the society is no longer organized according to the geographical location but on the choice that a person makes via the Internet.
Castells reflects on the connection between the iIternet and the government, on civil society, democracy in the society in the chapter The Politics of the Internet: Computer Networks, Civil Society, and the State”. The author brings up such aspect of the relation between government and the Internet as China. In this chapter he tells about a new version of the search engine made specially for China by Google. Besides, the chapter discusses the role of the government in the aspect of absolute freedom in communication.
When developed countries with technological infrastructures were joining the internet, developing countries began to experience a Digital divide separating them from the Internet. China went on to make its first global Internet connection in 1994, between the Beijing Electro-Spectrometer Collaboration and Stanford University’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In the chapter The Digital Divide in a Global Perspective” Castells gives a detailed analysis of the usage of the Internet all over the world. Then the author examines the connection of the digital divide and the Internet. According to Castells research, connectivity is an obligatory element of economic development and the netiquette is the code of effective communication via the Internet.