Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (MIT Press)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Like it or not, knowing how to make use of online tools without being overloaded with too much information is an essential ingredient to personal success in the twenty-first century. But how can we use digital media so that they make us empowered participants rather than passive receivers, grounded, well-rounded people rather than multitasking basket cases? In Net Smart, cyberculture expert Howard Rheingold shows us how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, mindfully.
Mindful use of digital media means thinking about what we are doing, cultivating an ongoing inner inquiry into how we want to spend our time. Rheingold outlines five fundamental digital literacies, online skills that will help us do this: attention, participation, collaboration, critical consumption of information (or "crap detection"), and network smarts. He explains how attention works, and how we can use our attention to focus on the tiny relevant portion of the incoming tsunami of information. He describes the quality of participation that empowers the best of the bloggers, netizens, tweeters, and other online community participants; he examines how successful online collaborative enterprises contribute new knowledge to the world in new ways; and he teaches us a lesson on networks and network building.
Rheingold points out that there is a bigger social issue at work in digital literacy, one that goes beyond personal empowerment. If we combine our individual efforts wisely, it could produce a more thoughtful society: countless small acts like publishing a Web page or sharing a link could add up to a public good that enriches everybody.
of them could have their laptops open at any one time. “In order for somebody else to open their computer,” I stipulated, “one of the current five will have to close theirs.” This was not only an attention probe but also a collective action problem. It forced the current five to be aware of their own attention in the context of other students who were waiting to Google my lecture (or slay monsters in a role-playing game). Each class session, I reminded students that the objective was “to get you
that enable them to outperform others.4 I do know of one instance where the ability to switch rapidly and without loss of ability from task to task is essential: aviation. Indeed, one recent study claimed that experienced fighter pilots handled their executive control functions more effectively than a control group of similar intelligence: “The pilots displayed superior cognitive control, showing significantly greater accuracy on one of the cognitive tasks, despite being more sensitive to
university students that all is not what it seems to be online, I’ve collected URLs for Web sites that appear to be real, but are either willfully misleading like the “cloaked” Web site I showed my daughter or reveal themselves to be hoaxes if you look closely enough. The harmlessness of Web tricks varies. A site that urges readers to support the campaign to “help save the endangered tree octopus” is mildly amusing (and contains clues to its fake nature if you dig deeper), but the site that
matter expertise coupled with a very good understanding of the audience one is trying to serve.” 3. Trust. “Repeated relevance,” Good succinctly states, leads to trust. It’s why you want to double check before passing along bad info and damaging the trust your public has granted you.44 Next, Good listed the steps in a curatorial work-flow process. If you want to go beyond basic literacy to become what Good calls a newsmaster, here is your guide: 1. Identify niche. As Scoble also pointed out,
you don’t know how to find it. Tags and other metadata make it easier to find relevant information. The individual worth of Flickr is that I can post pictures of my puppies. The metadata that millions of people have contributed to billions of images—making it possible to form communities around sunsets or custom automobiles, or for volunteers to classify the U.S. Library of Congress collection of images—is the added value that the owners of Flickr (currently Yahoo!) or YouTube (owned by Google)