Mark Bauerlein (ed.): The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking (2011)
Filed under book | Tags: · blogging, digital divide, facebook, internet, twitter, web 2.0
This definitive work on the perils and promise of the social- media revolution collects writings by today’s best thinkers and cultural commentators, with an all-new introduction by Bauerlein.
Twitter, Facebook, e-publishing, blogs, distance-learning and other social media raise some of the most divisive cultural questions of our time. Some see the technological breakthroughs we live with as hopeful and democratic new steps in education, information gathering, and human progress. But others are deeply concerned by the eroding of civility online, declining reading habits, withering attention spans, and the treacherous effects of 24/7 peer pressure on our young.
With The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein emerged as the foremost voice against the development of an overwhelming digital social culture. But The Digital Divide doesn’t take sides. Framing the discussion so that leading voices from across the spectrum, supporters and detractors alike, have the opportunity to weigh in on the profound issues raised by the new media-from questions of reading skills and attention span, to cyber-bullying and the digital playground- Bauerlein’s new book takes the debate to a higher ground.
The book includes essays by Steven Johnson, Nicholas Carr, Don Tapscott, Douglas Rushkoff, Maggie Jackson, Clay Shirky, Todd Gitlin, and many more. Though these pieces have been previously published, the organization of The Digital Divide gives them freshness and new relevancy, making them part of a single document readers can use to truly get a handle on online privacy, the perils of a plugged-in childhood, and other technology-related hot topics.
Rather than dividing the book into “pro” and “con” sections, the essays are arranged by subject-“The Brain, the Senses,” “Learning in and out of the Classroom,” “Social and Personal Life,” “The Millennials,” “The Fate of Culture,” and “The Human (and Political) Impact.” Bauerlein incorporates a short headnote and a capsule bio about each contributor, as well as relevant contextual information about the source of the selection.
Bauerlein also provides a new introduction that traces the development of the debate, from the initial Digital Age zeal, to a wave of skepticism, and to a third stage of reflection that wavers between criticism and endorsement.
Enthusiasms for the Digital Age has cooled with the passage of time and the piling up of real-life examples that prove the risks of an online-focused culture. However, there is still much debate, comprising thousands of commentaries and hundreds of books, about how these technologies are rewriting our futures. Now, with this timely and definitive volume, readers can finally cut through the clamor, read the the very best writings from each side of The Digital Divide, and make more informed decisions about the presence and place of technology in their lives.
Introduction by Mark Bauerlein
Publisher Penguin Group US, 2011
ISBN 1101547529, 9781101547526
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Filed under report | Tags: · activism, arab spring, blogging, censorship, democracy, facebook, free speech, internet, internet activism, journalism, netizens, revolution, social movements, twitter, web 2.0, wikileaks
The year 2010 firmly established the role of social networks and the Internet as mobilisation and news transmission tools, especially during the Arab spring. New and traditional media have proven to be increasingly complementary. Meanwhile, repressive regimes have intensified censorship, propaganda and repression, keeping 119 netizens in jail. Issues such as national security – linked to the WikiLeaks publications – and intellectual property – are challenging democratic countries’ support to online free speech.
Publisher Reporters Without Borders, March 2011
Filed under book | Tags: · activism, blogging, democracy, facebook, google, internet, transparency, twitter, web 2.0, wikileaks, youtube
The United States government is diligent—some might say to the point of obsession—in defending its borders against invaders, be they terrorists, natural disasters, or illegal immigrants. Now we are told a small, international band of renegades armed with nothing more than laptops presents the greatest threat to the U.S. regime since the close of the Cold War. WikiLeaks’ release of a massive trove of secret official documents has riled politicians from across the spectrum. The WikiLeaks organizers themselves “are going to have blood on their hands” (U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman), it is the “9/11 of world diplomacy” (Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini), they present “a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States” (U.S. Congressman Peter King). Even noted free-speech advocate Floyd Abrams says that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “may yet have much to answer for” and blames him for the certain defeat of federal shield-law legislation protecting journalists. Hyperbole, hysteria? Certainly. We heard much the same in 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times (ironically, Abrams was the Times’ lawyer in that case).
Welcome to the Age of Transparency. But political analyst and writer Micah Sifry argues that WikiLeaks is not the whole story: it is a symptom, an indicator of an ongoing generational and philosophical struggle between older, closed systems, and the new open culture of the Internet. “What is new,” he writes, “is our ability to connect, individually and together, with greater ease than at any time in human history. As a result, information is flowing more freely into the public arena, powered by seemingly unstoppable networks of people all over the world cooperating to share vital data and prevent its suppression.” Despite Assange’s arrest, the publication of secret documents continues, and websites replicating WikiLeaks’ activities have sprung up in Indonesia, Russia, the European Union, and elsewhere. As Sifry shows, this is part of a larger movement for greater governmental and corporate transparency: “when you combine connectivity with transparency—the ability for more people to see, share and shape what is going on around them—the result is a huge increase in social energy, which is being channeled in all kinds of directions.”
Preface by Andrew Rasiej
Publisher OR Books, 2011
ISBN 1935928317, 9781935928317
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