Here Is Another Really Insightful Article..

In Convergence on November 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm
Howard Rheingold

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There are some brilliant minds out there… One of them is Howard Rheingold. He lectures at both Stanford and Berkeley and has real insight into convergence…

Here is an article that he wrote recently that anyone interested in how the world of communications technology and social engagement is evolving should read.

Here is a brief taste:

The technologies that we have in our pockets today are powerful engines for participation. My students and I carry computers that are literally millions of times more powerful than what the U.S. Department of Defense had a couple decades ago, networked at speeds millions of times faster than the first online networks. We are seeing a massive adoption of an attitude of active participation simply through the use of these technologies. According to a 2005 report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 87 percent of U.S. teenagers, across all class and ethnic boundaries, are online in some way. Over half of U.S. teenagers not only consume but also create and author online, whether that’s by customizing their MySpace page, or running a blog, or running a YouTube channel.5 That doesn’t mean, however, that all forms of participation are beneficial to the participant or others.

I don’t believe in the myth of the digital natives who are magically empowered and fluent in the use of social media simply because they carry laptops, they’re never far from their phones, they’re gamers, and they know how to use technologies. We are seeing a change in their participation in society—yet this does not mean that they automatically understand the rhetorics of participation, something that is particularly important for citizens. The whole notion of the public sphere is that we have sufficiently well-educated citizens who are free to access information about workings of the state so that they will be able to govern themselves. Implicit in the notion that ordinary people can shape policies of state is the assumption that they know how to communicate their opinions in concert with other citizens in a productive manner—a literacy of participation.

Today’s media enable people to inform, persuade, and influence the beliefs of others and, most important, help them to organize action on all scales. In doing so, people move from the literacy of participation to the literacy of collaboration.


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