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"A network, defined minimally, is a system of interconnected elements or nodes, where each node represents an intersection of flows.

- Every social system can be described in terms of a network

- It is not only a way to describe a social system, but also a model to organize them

(source: Ulises Mejias)

P2P Definition

“Networks are voluntary connections between autonomous peers.” [1]


From David Snowden at :

  1. If it's a network, you can draw it.
  2. Every network has an underlying purpose and every network creates value.
  3. We can create a language of networks that enables us to identify, create, and alter its properties, boundaries, and environment.
  4. We can approach working with networks by understanding them as complex systems.
  5. Everyone in a network can influence the relationships in it and its outcomes.
  6. Norms, especially reciprocity and trust, are required for networks to be successful.
  7. Success networks are generative and reflective.
  8. All networks are alike (have the same fundmental discernible properties) and all networks are unique (in how they express those properties)

Characteristics of P2P Relational Networks

Discussion of the definition:

“Networks are voluntary connections between autonomous peers.” [2]

Gideon Rosenblatt:

"Let’s break this definition down; first, autonomy. You can think of this important idea in terms of self determination. Organizations are ‘autonomous’ when they have final say over their own future. People are ‘autonomous’ when they have final say over their lives. I might be autonomous at home but not at work, by the way, just as I’m free to decide who I vote for in an elections or what movie to watch this weekend but not to decide whether to merge my organization with another one. That latter type of decision is checked by an organizational reporting structure, so I’m not acting autonomously when I make it. Similarly, a division of a corporation isn’t autonomous because final say on important matters sits outside, in the parent corporation.

What does this have to do with networks? Hang on, we’re getting there – but first a word about relationships that are voluntary. As an employee, the connection I have with my organization is not voluntary – it’s part of an institutional hierarchy just like the corporate division that reports to its parent. These relationships are power relationships – institutional power relationships, to be specific. They’re not voluntary, and they’re usually backed up by the force of law through things like employment contracts and corporate bylaws.

Networks are an alternative organizational structure to hierarchies. You join them voluntarily and they connect you, not to a reporting structure, but to peers. Networks are the connections that allow peers to work together. They do this by helping peers voluntarily shed a little bit of their autonomy - just enough to be able to get work done with others.

To illustrate, let’s talk about a partnership, a simple form of network that connects just two entities. True partnerships are between equals. When two people decide to marry or move in together, the resulting partnership is voluntary and between equals. When two firms decide the advantages of ongoing collaboration outweigh the costs of coordination, the resulting partnership is voluntary and between peers. In true partnerships, the relationship between partners is definitely not a reporting relationship where one controls the other. It’s much more complicated and nuanced than that – just ask anyone whose been married or in a significant relationship for any real length of time. The same is true for partnerships between two independent companies. It’s also important to note that if a third party were to force the collaboration, the connection between ‘partners’ wouldn’t be voluntary and they wouldn’t really be acting autonomously. In networks, there is no external controlling force." (


See Network Metrics


  1. Network Typology
  2. Network Topology
  3. Network Sociality
  4. Customer-build network infrastructures
  5. Network Advocacy Model
  6. Network Graphs
  7. Mesh Networks


Video-sharing Network


Network Neutrality

Network Discrimination

More Information