The Future Internet-Based Society as an Ecosystem

In a possible future, the network society may be deepening to become an Internet-based ecosystemic society. What are the social consequences of the “media disruption” from the perspective of the media ecology tradition?

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In an ecosystemic economy, companies work in closer collaboration and share information more freely. As the Internet further penetrates all spheres of society, the metaphor of the ecosystem could serve as a metaphor for the entire society, not only for the economy, argue authors Juho Ruotsalainen and Sirkka Heinonen in their European Journal of Futures Research article “Media Ecology and the Future Ecosystemic Society.”

One of the most central themes of the media-ecology tradition is how different areas of society--such as private and public, work and leisure time, and various institutions and organisations--begin to interlock as a consequence of the spread of electronic and digital media. In business ecosystems, separate firms begin to merge (informally) into each other and into the rest of society, as a consequence of open information exchange and cooperation. Because it blends written text, speech and audiovisual media, the Internet is a place where different cultural expressions and spheres morph into each other. Thus, the media ecology of the Internet and the ecosystemic economy point toward a future in which the whole of society organizes itself around ecosystemic principles. This kind of society forms an organic whole, where different actors and spheres of life are intertwined in novel ways through the information flows of the digital media.


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