Gilles Deleuze observed, “We write only at the frontiers of our knowledge, at the border which separates our knowledge from our ignorance and transforms the one into the other.”[1] This attempt to breach the frontiers of my own ignorance was aided by the Grace of the Guide but also by many people whose support and knowledge greatly contributed to the work.

First, I want to thank the editorial team at the University of Minnesota Press, in particular Doug Armato and Danielle Kasprzak. Their efforts helped to make this, my first book publication, a gratifying experience. I am also very grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve received from people at SUNY Oswego, including Dean Fritz Messere, Provost Lorrie Clemo, and the many wonderful colleagues and friends from across the college who have inspired and motivated me.

The point of departure for this project was a set of queries originally posed in my dissertation, “Networked Proximity: ICTs and the Mediation of Nearness,” undertaken at Teachers College, Columbia University, under the guidance of Robbie McClintock, Hugh Cline, and Frank Moretti. Their tutelage during that initial stage is much appreciated. Some of the initial ideas for this work also emerged during a 2008 Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Amsterdam Business School, Program for Research in Information Management. I am thankful to Rik Maes for facilitating the visit and being such a good host.

The book benefitted from the insights, critiques, and corrections of many who devoted their time to reading early drafts or providing comments during conferences. My spring 2011 Social Networks and the Web class at SUNY Oswego reviewed the first two chapters, and I thank them for being both critical and enthusiastic. I acknowledge Tiziana Terranova and Nick Couldry for comments offered during the 2011 Platform Politics conference in Cambridge, and Michel Bauwens and Juan Martín Prada for their reactions to a presentation made in 2009 at the fourth Inclusiva-­net meeting in Madrid. Electronic correspondence with Trebor Scholz forced me to clarify my position and improve the framework for my argument. Zillah Eisenstein and Geert Lovink read the manuscript draft and provided valuable feedback, and they were extremely generous mentors as well. The two reviewers assigned by the University of Minnesota Press, Nick Dyer-­Witheford and Jodi Dean, contributed detailed responses that helped to strengthen my argument. Thanks also to Anna Reading, Hart Cohen, and especially Ned Rossiter for inviting me to the University of Western Sydney to share my work. The conversations I had with everyone I met during my visit were encouraging and instructive. Without the help of all these people, this project would not have been possible. I am grateful for their assistance.

Additionally, as I learned, one cannot write without a strong support network, and I was fortunate to have around me friends and family who never failed to inspire and encourage me. It would be impossible to list all of them here. But I cannot fail to thank Madhavi Menon and Gil Harris, whose friendship is a gift and who continuously provided encouragement and good advice (thanks also to Madhavi for reading parts of the draft and making helpful suggestions).

I also want to specially thank my parents, Elizabeth and Manuel, for always believing in me and doing their best to nourish my intellectual curiosity. There are no words or deeds that would suffice to express my gratitude and love. I should add that this book is very much written with my cherished nieces and grandchildren (the younger, networked generation) in mind: Abril, Ilse, Ana Elena, Mina, and Batu.

Most important, I thank my beloved wife, Asma. As my “resident critic,” she forced me to develop ideas and improve arguments. As my “in-­house editor,” she painstakingly reviewed the entire manuscript and offered suggestions on everything from the writing style to the structural aspects of the argument. As my private mentor, she provided advice and support during the more difficult stages of the writing and publishing process. As my loving partner and companion, she was truly a source of inspiration, comfort, and well-­being. She nourishes not only my mind but also my heart, and because of this I dedicate this work to her.

  1. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, xxi.