Karen Stephenson

Networks are based on trust. Because trust is determined through face-to-face interactions, one needs to appreciate the profound and stark truth about networks: ‘You don’t look like me, you don’t dress like me, you don’t think like me, therefore I don’t want to know or understand you.’ This fetish for the familiar is fundamentally tribal and resistant to the heterogeneous qualities of hierarchical organization. So the last, and perhaps the most important, point to make about knowledge and networks is that, contrary to popular opinion, there is a dark side to networks.

They are exclusionary groupings, based on like seeking like, and mask a fundamental fear of differences. A network is the most natural (and most ancient) form of grouping. Its cultural complement is found in hierarchies.

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