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Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connectionby Ethan Zuckerman
Synopses & Reviews
We live in an age of connection, one that is accelerated by the Internet. This increasingly ubiquitous, immensely powerful technology often leads us to assume that as the number of people online grows, it inevitably leads to a smaller, more cosmopolitan world. We’ll understand more, we think. We’ll know more. We’ll engage more and share more with people from other cultures. In reality, it is easier to ship bottles of water from Fiji to Atlanta than it is to get news from Tokyo to New York.
In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider technology’s role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world.
For those who seek a wider picture—a picture now critical for survival in an age of global economic crises and pandemics—Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, in truly connecting people across cultures. From voracious xenophiles eager to explore other countries to bridge figures who are able to connect one culture to another, people are at the center of his vision for a true kind of cosmopolitanism. And it is people who will shape a new approach to existing technologies, and perhaps invent some new ones, that embrace translation, cross-cultural inspiration, and the search for new, serendipitous experiences.
Rich with Zuckerman’s personal experience and wisdom, Rewire offers a map of the social, technical, and policy innovations needed to more tightly connect the world.
"In this fascinating and powerful reflection on what it means to be a citizen of the world in the Internet age, media scholar Zuckerman declares that, far from aspiring to full engagement with others around the world, we seek to connect with people who share our values, nationality, gender, and race. We are 'increasingly dependent on goods and services from other parts of the world,' he points out, 'and less informed about the people and cultures who produce them.' He argues that we all possess the capacity to build networks that 'rewire' our world with a better sense of interdependence. Zuckerman suggests several ways we can utilize the Internet toward that end: cultivate 'xenophiles' — individuals whose love of other cultures enables broad conversations across boarders — and seek serendipity by taking risks and exploring new forms of media that encourage discovery of eclectic ideas. Zuckerman's imaginative and inventive reflections offer a resourceful guide to living a connected life with intention and insight. Agent: David Miller, Garamond. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A rousing call to action for those who would be citizens of the world--online and off.
In an age of connection supercharged by the Internet, we often assume that more people online means a smaller, more cosmopolitan world. In reality, it is easier to ship bottles of water from Fiji to Atlanta than it is to get news from Tokyo to New York. In Rewire media expert Ethan Zuckerman draws on contemporary research in psychology, sociology, and his own work on how humans “flock together” to explain why the technological ability to reach someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. For those who seek a wider picture—a picture now critical for global success—Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, by attempts to bridge cultures through translation, cross-cultural inspiration, and the search for new, serendipitous experience. Rich with Zuckerman’s personal experience and wisdom, Rewire offers a map of the social, technical, and policy innovations needed to more tightly connect the world.
About the Author
Ethan Zuckerman is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. A media scholar, Internet activist, and blogger, he lives in Lanesboro, Massachusetts.
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