Recently I came across a TED talk by Howard Rheingold, which reminded me of how much I enjoyed his book, The Virtual Community, which was published in 1993. At that time, well before the dot.com crash, it seemed to epitomize everything positive about life on the Net. I noticed that Howard seemed older in the TED talk, and it brought home that of course, I was too. What had he written recently? It was easy now to Google Amazon.com and download his newest, Net Smart, How to Thrive Online, in the digital version to the I-pad.
This book has evolved from his current gig of lecturing students on the joys and perils of new media and it immediately inspired me to learn more about Web 2.0 social media that I have enrolled in, as I will do compulsively – like Twitter and Tumblr – without really fully understanding their usability and advantage . That’s one of the aims of the coming year. A little early for New Year’s Resolutions, you say. Well, I am using that traditional season of the Church Year, Advent, when my grandchildren compete with others in my parish church to light the first candle in a wreath. It’s a somewhat more authentic version than the chocolate filled calendars that they sometimes have at home. I notice that Lego is heavily marketing its own version in all the online stores this year.
And I look back at the previous paragraph and see how much the virtual community has changed since the publication of The Virtual Community. In his new book, Rheingold reviews something of his history of involvement with the media. So here’s mine in the coming days.