Collective Consciousness is a phrase used to describe a set of separate entities linked by an access to similar thoughts and ideas. In a way, it could be considered a neural network of nodes that are capable of passing information quickly from one node to many of the others in the network with a latency of only a few seconds or minutes. Communities on the website 4Chan are an example of collective consciousness. Global events bring on temporary periods of collective consiousness, such as the earthquakes in Japan or Haiti. Most are temporary.
In closely knit communities connected by network access, information can be discovered, sent, received, and absorbed across a community almost instantaneously. In a collective consciousness, there is always some lag. Those at the edges of a network may take a longer time to receive information. Conversely, those at the edges of a network may also be the first to discover information. Those who discover the information will generally need an amplifier, or more closely connected community member to amplify that message for them. Fans of Apple products learn about and new releases in a manner that most closely resembles a collective consciousness.