Netocracy was a term invented by the editorial board of the American technology magazine Wired in the early 1990s. A portmanteau of Internet and aristocracy, netocracy refers to a perceived global upper-class that bases its power on a technological advantage and networking skills, in comparison to what is portrayed as a bourgeoisie of a gradually diminishing importance.
The concept was later picked up and redefined by the Swedish philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist for their book Netocracy — The New Power Elite and Life After Capitalism (originally published in Swedish in 2000 as Nätokraterna - boken om det elektroniska klassamhället, published in English by Reuters/Pearsall UK in 2002).
The netocracy concept has been compared with Richard Florida's concept of the creative class. Bard and Söderqvist have also defined an under-class in opposition to the netocracy, which they refer to as the consumtariat.
Alexander Bard describes a new underclass called the consumtariat, a portmanteau of consumer and proletariat, whose main activity is consumption, regulated from above. It is kept occupied with private problems, its desires provoked with the use of adverts and its active participation is limited to things like product choice, product customization, engaging with interactive products and life-style choice.
Netocracy can also refer to "Internet-enabled democracy" where issue-based politics will supersede party-based politics.
The word netocracy is also used as a portmanteau of Internet and democracy, not of Internet and aristocracy:
- "In Seattle, organized labor ran interference for the ragtag groups assembled behind it, marshaling several thousand union members who feared that free trade might send their jobs abroad. In Washington, labor focused on lobbying Congress over the China-trade issue, leaving the IMF and the World Bank to the ad hoc Netocracy."
- "From his bungalow in Berkeley, he's spreading the word of grassroots netocracy to the Beltway. He formed an Internet political consulting firm with Jerome ..."
- 1% rule (Internet culture)
- Agent of influence
- Digital citizen
- Digital divide
- Group decision-making
- Influencer marketing
- Information society
- Knowledge divide
- Online participation
- Opinion leadership
- Power user
- Social marketing intelligence § Alpha users
- Social media
- Slavoj Zizek, Organs without Bodies, ISBN 978-0-415-96921-5
- Gareth Morgan (1992), Images of Organization; ISBN 978-1-4129-3979-9
- A Hacker Manifesto, ISBN 978-0-674-01543-2