Authority and “networked” societies (including the Church society)

There is (or perhaps by this time was) a very interesting discussion on the changing aspect of authority as we move from a hierarchical construct to a networked construct of social relating.
Read it here.
I wonder, though, not with the fact that we are transitioning into a “networked” society, particularly among the younger folk, but whether the interpretation of what that means is significantly different between those who observe the phenomena (particularly Baby-Boomers, but also older GenX’ers) and those who are living it.
One commenter stated:

“I think that fitting into the equation today is credibility. For younger people, and, really, most of the western world, if one has no credibility, one has no authority. That goes for the church, too.” (James)

Most of Anglicanism takes upon itself the Catholic understanding of the office and ministry of bishop, but unlike other jurisdictions our bishops’ authority rests more with persuasion and positive influence (when it is positive) and not princely or dictatorial rule, as do, say, United Methodist or Roman Catholic bishops.