The York/Habitat Networking Initiative showed that in the absence of resources allocated to promote collaborative activities among people busy with their own current endeavours, it is very difficult to maintain interpersonal interactions. A great deal of organizing must be done by those most involved in establishing a new network, especially one that links people across several traditional fields.
The Native Computer Communications Network Project was a good example of how a focus on creating a network of computers does not necessarily ensure the interpersonal networking of the potential users of that technology. If the people were not communicating with each other before, developing another method of communication doesn't mean they'll start.
Habnet was a project that tried to overcome the limitations of these initiatives. It succeeded as an exploration of the potentials of online interactions, but failed to thrive when it ceased to grow. It again showed how difficult it is to create an online network without sufficient numbers of people to maintain enough interaction, and thereby enough interest, to make it worthwhile to use.
Computer communication, it seems, will become a much more useful networking tool when large numbers of people with similar interests acquire access to the technology. Though it can expedite the formation of new interpersonal networks by overcoming the space and time barriers faced by traditional networking techniques, it still requires a great deal of concentrated effort and resources to get the people to use it. This problem should become increasingly minimized over the coming years as the technological innovations become more diffused throughout society.
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