Image attribution: Gerd Altmann. Retrieved from Pixabay

How do McClure and Rheingold’s views on network literacy differ?

What do you see as having changed between these authors’ definitions of being ‘network literate’?

McClure’s 2004 network literacy focus was on information and being able to interpret and manage information in its connected digital context. In 2009, Rheingold emphasised the power of the human aspect of the networks, being able to connect with others to make an impact on the world through a global digital context.

The essential element of change that would seemingly impact the difference in these two researcher’s perspectives is the advancement of the internet from an entity based on a one-way flow of information, to a two-way interactive network providing scope within web 2.0 for users to interact with and impact the flow of information. Now, even more so than in 2009, the internet has evolved further to fully integrate an online life into our real world existence.

Although an integrated digital life has become the norm for many, others still engage in daily lives quite effectively without tapping in to the rich network of information and connection that is now at our fingertips and would argue that there is little reason for them to do things differently. However, there are very few jobs of the future that will exist without the necessity for people to be flexible, adaptive, connected, creative problem solvers and those reluctant to adapt may limit their options and find themselves without the skills to reinvent themselves amongst ongoing change. Educators who do not adapt their pedagogy to include some level of networking for learning, perhaps risk hindering their students’ preparation for continual societal change.

Lifelong learning is tiring! It is certainly not easy to try and remain vital in a world that won’t stop still; however, personal networks that support each individuals’ needs are likely to ease the burden, create social connection for learning together and provide networkers with time-saving resources and connections from whom answers and advice can readily be sought.


McClure, C. R. (1994). Network literacy: A role for libraries? Information Technology    and Libraries, 13(2), 115-125.

Rheingold, H. (2009).  Network literacy part one: The internet’s architecture of    freedom. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2009). Network literacy part two: Sarnoff, Metcalfe, Reed’s    Laws. Retrieved from