Category Archives: The Reading Room

Me, MySpace and I: Teens don’t use new media, they live it

They don’t use technology, it simply is. It’s the main focus of their life. See, that’s the difference. A baby boomer and even a Gen X would say, “Well, I use the Internet” or “I use my cell phone a lot” or “I text message” and so on. Gen X learned how to use technology, whereas the Net Gen kids were raised steeped in technology and they don’t use it, it just simply is.

Read an interview
with Me, MySpace and I author Larry Rosen from C|Net. Previously from WNM: All things new media + teens


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Filed under People, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, The Reading Room, Virtual Communities

Rise of the Amateur class, II

But one of Keen’s central arguments — that the internet, by its all-inclusive nature and easy access, opens the door to amateurism-as-authority while at the same time devaluing professional currency — deserves a full airing. Basically, I think he’s right to criticize what he calls the “cut and paste” ethic that trivializes scholarship and professional ability, implying that anybody with a little pluck and the right technology can do just as well….But opportunity and desire alone do not professional historians or journalists or pundits make. There’s this process known as “learning your craft” and “paying your dues” that all professionals must endure. Sorry, but trolling the web and blogging from your darkened study doesn’t qualify as on-the-job training.

Read Tony Long (aka “the Luddite”)’s response to Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture. Previously from WNM: Rise of the Amateur class. Contribute your knowledge of Keen’s book at the Whats New Media Wiki.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Media Evolution, People, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room, User generated content, web 2.0

Mark Hurst’s Bit Literacy, parsing the uber-clogged inbox

Bits are appearing everywhere today, and people are feeling the strain. E-mail traffic has increased, computers and other devices have proliferated, new acronyms and technology terms have invaded our speech, and many people can sense that there’s a problem. It’s all too much. “Information overload” is discussed at the water cooler, bemoaned in the press. The global economy is full of overloaded workers who are more weighed down, less productive, and ultimately less happy as human beings because of too many bits, and no solution for dealing with them. From CEOs to schoolteachers, designers to doctors, students to retirees, millions of people around the globe have an immediate need to solve their bit overload.

Quote from Mark Hurst’s Bit Literacy with commentary from 37Signals. Please contribute your knowledge of Bit Literacy to the Whats New Media Wiki.

Previously from WNM:

  • Maybe the utlimate question…are we any better off?
  • Does the attention economy create an attention crises?
  • Too much information
  • More tools to communicate with, less to really say
  • Interruption v. Collaboration
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    Filed under Business 2.0, Productivity, Technology, our Mirror, The Reading Room

    The state of privacy in the digital age

    Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly unbounded options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries; online practices of businesses and government agencies present new ways to compromise privacy; and e-commerce and technologies that permit individuals to find personal information about each other only begin to hint at the possibilities.

    Against this backdrop, CSTB believed that the time was ripe for a deep, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary examination of privacy in the information age: how are the threats to privacy evolving, how can privacy be protected, and how can society balance the interests of individuals, businesses, and government in ways that promote privacy reasonably and effectively?

    The report provides ways to think about privacy, its relationship to other values, and related tradeoffs and provides an in-depth look at ongoing information technology trends as related to privacy concerns. By doing so, the report is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the many issues that play a part in privacy and contribute to the analysis of issues involving privacy. Perhaps most importantly, the report seeks to raise awareness of the web of connectedness among the actions we take, the policies we pass, and the expectations we change.

    Abstract from the report, Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age published by the National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. Coverage from

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    Filed under Privacy, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room

    INet: Your friendly anti-imperial web infrastructure

    We have trouble. After 40 years of development and almost 20 years of commercial use, the Internet is getting clogged up. We have more spam than legitimate e-mail, more advertising than content, and a few not very well-behaved protocols making trouble for all of us (more on this part next week), with the result that real utility is beginning to drop for many Internet users, who have to buy more and more bandwidth in order to effectively keep the same service level. Yes, we have trouble, and it is compounded by the current popularity of Internet video, which has knocked Moore’s Law on its ear through the willingness of whole cascades of companies to lose money to show us dogs dancing and children falling off bikes. But what’s to be done? With tens of billions invested in Internet infrastructure and services, we can hardly shut the darned thing down and start over, can we?…Back to the Internet, David says to shut it down! Or maybe it would be more correct to say he wants to shut it OUT. And I have to tell you that his argument is growing on me. David wants to essentially hijack the current Domain Name System and replace it with something better. The Internet backbone and your ISP wouldn’t have to change, so that expensive infrastructure would remain in place. Only the way we use it would be different. David’s replacement for the Internet is called the Independent Network, or Inet. With David every new invention gets a clever name….David, who is not American, sees the U.S.-controlled Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as an imperialist tool, which is also pretty much the way the Bush Administration sees it, too, though the Bushies are proud rather than upset. So David wants the Inet to first unseat ICANN from power. If users want to participate in the Inet, they have to accept the Inet’s Terms and Conditions, which say that ICANN has no authority here, thanks.

    Read Robert Cringely’s column, Just Say No and the David Harrison manifesto, The Independent Network – An Alternative to the Internet. Previously from WNM: The need for an Internet “do over” and all things ICANN.

    Contribute your knowledge of David Harrison, ICANN and The Independent Network: An Alternative to the Internet to the Whats New Media Wiki.

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    Filed under A democratic medium?, Media Evolution, Networks, People, Regulation, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room

    Rise of the Amateur class

    In a deliciously subversive new book, The Cult of the Amateur, which debuts in June, (Andrew) Keen recounts the many ways in which technology is remaking our culture and society….The subtitle of his book states his thesis bluntly: “How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values.”

    Read this commentary from C|Net’s Charles Cooper and visit Andrew Keen’s blog, his ZDNet blog, The Great Seduction and his article in the Whats New Media wiki (irony alert). More commentary from ZDNet’s Between the Lines. Nicholas Carr has a few thoughts of his own on the subject.

    Previously from WNM:

  • Are Wikis too amateur, too flawed for academia?
  • Wikis and Wikipedia: Who’s writing this stuff?
  • Amateur Hour? Journalism without journalists.
  • The Internet and the actualization of Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.
  • Is the future of ad creative in the hands of amateurs (
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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Media Evolution, People, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room, User generated content, web 2.0

    Jeff Hawkins’ On Intelligence

    The question of intelligence is the last great terrestrial frontier of science. Most big scientific questions involve the very small, the very large, or events that occurred billions of years ago. But everyone has a brain. You are your brain. If you want to understand why you feel the way you do, how you perceive the world, why you make mistakes, how you are able to be creative, why music and art are inspiring, indeed what it is to be human, then you need to understand the brain. In addition, a successful theory of intelligence and brain function will have large societal benefits, and not just in helping us cure brain-related diseases. We will be able to build genuinely intelligent machines, although they won’t be anything like the robots of popular fiction and computer science fantasy. Rather, intelligent machines will arise from a new set of principles about the nature of intelligence. As such, they will help us accelerate our knowledge of the world, help us explore the universe, and make the world safer. And along the way, a large industry will be created.

    Excerpt from Jeff Hawkins’ book On Intelligence from Commentary from the Read/Write Web.

    If you have knowledge of Jeff Hawkins or his book On Intelligence, please consider contributing it to the Whats New Media Wiki.

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    Filed under AI, People, The Reading Room