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on December 10, 2012
The author wrote a lot about his opinion that our current excessive lack of privacy is a "good" thing, but he hasn't exposed a very scientific backing to his opinions which made the book lack a good knowledge base. Also the majority of the scientists studying in this area are going to say that our current state on privacy is a very bad thing.
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on September 27, 2011
Jeff Jarvis has written a provocative book that will force us to have a serious conversation about the trade-offs between enhanced privacy rights and "publicness" -- which he defines as the benefits that come "from being open and making the connections that technology now affords."

Some will bristle at the notion that privacy "rights" should be balanced against any other right or value. If we desire the benefits of a more open and transparent society, however, it is a conversation we need to have. As Jarvis correctly notes, publicness improves interpersonal relationships, empowers communities, strengthens social ties, enables greater collaboration, promotes transparency and truth-seeking, and helps enliven deliberative democracy, among many other things.

Of course, new innovations in information technology -- the printing press, cameras, microphones, and now search engines and social networking -- have always spawned new privacy tensions. Ultimately, though, they also bring tremendous benefits, Jarvis correctly notes. The Internet revolution and all the angst that it entails is just the latest in this reoccurring cycle. We're going through the same growing pains our ancestors did with previous technologies and it's important not to overreact.

Whatever your view on privacy and the law governing it, it's always good to hear the other side of the story. Jarvis delivers it here with gusto and makes a powerful case for re-framing the way we think about these challenging issues going forward. Incidentally, those who find this topic of interest should also check out "The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy And Freedom?" by David Brin, which also makes the case for increased information sharing and publicness.

[My longer review of "Public Parts" can be found at]
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on November 10, 2011
If the style Jeff Jarvis uses to write Public Parts (a bit of a play on Howard Stern's book "Private Parts") is any indication, I'd imagine that Jeff was the kind of kid in school that was perpetually being told to get back to his seat and sit down, and to quiet down a bit. But you works. Jarvis has much to say about the fantastic challenges to commonly held ideas of privacy that the massive hyperdrive toward connectivity in the 21st century poses. His approach to getting it all out in this fairly short book is a bit frenetic, and his never-a-dull-moment journalism can be energizing, or off-putting, depending on your own preferences. Jarvis's approach is far more the shotgun than the high-powered rifle, which allows him to encompass a wide pattern of topics.

While Jarvis acknowledges that privacy has its uses, he is a gigantic advocate of openness, of public access to information, rather than containment. He backs his advocacy with examples that range from the very personal level (where we hear about his urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction after his prostate cancer surgery) to the international level, where he argues that "governments should be public by default, private only by necessity". Good governments, he says, are transparent. Bad governments are invariably, and often lethally, private. While conscious of the collateral damage that can occur with making some forms of information public, I think he would agree with the thought that when all is said and done, when all the dust is settled, when all the fires of public outrage die down, being public with information is a large net gain to society compared to a culture of privacy.

Particularly enjoyable to me was Jarvis's review of the stages of increased communication that humans have gone through: development of language, development of the written word, development of the ability to copy and distribute the written word (think Guttenberg), ability to cast the written word to millions of people simultaneously over the radio, ability to reach millions (now billions) over TV, and now the ubiquitous connectivity of Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, SMS texting, and whatever the newest iteration of ramped up communication will be. And each time (at least once history was being written down), the naysayers and the prophets of doom predicted (only slightly exaggerating here) the end of society as we know it. Which, of course, the prophets of doom were right about: society has ---now and many times in the past--- come to an end as we knew it. Few even wish it otherwise, Jarvis would guess. Millenials, who often have little interest in NRA slogans, would resonate deeply with "You'll get my cell phone and my Facebook away from me when you pry my cold, dead fingers off my keyboards/keypads!"

Flaws? Jarvis likes to use the word "I" and "my" quite a lot. He's more attached to name-dropping than a smoker to nicotine. Just in case you've forgotten that he has a blog, he reminds you of this fact with more insistence than the "Your headlights are still on" chime in your car. Ping, ping, ping. But don't let this ad hominem stuff distract you from this truth: Public Parts will challenge you to think, and regardless of your convictions before you start the book, you'll find yourself with new perspectives by the time you end it. If you don't have time to sit and read it, get the audio download version, and listen during your commute or during your daily (right?) exercise period. Privacy, as we've known it, is dead. How to handle information going forward will be a series of decisions we'll make as a culture and a country. If you're in the camp that likes to make informed decisions, rather than shoot from the hip/lip, Public Parts is a fun, fast primer to get you up to speed.
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on April 10, 2014
Jeff Jarvis paints a world where Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. all work together to make the world a better place because living are life more or less transparently on the internet is truly better for all of us. He has some great things to say, and he is not just speculating. He has really lived what he is preaching.
However, it flies in the face of most conventional wisdom, and I am not sure it really will work in a less than perfect world.
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on December 22, 2011
To hell with the handful of naysayers in academe who criticize brilliant minds like Jeff Jarvis and Clay Shirky for being "Internet Intellectuals"; they think deeply and are able to relate their important insights in a fashion that the average person can grasp.

Public Parts is a must-read for anyone. Period.

Not just business pros, though they'll doubtless benefit from the discussion of how the era of Radical Transparency can benefit business. Not just netizens, though they'll find the discussion of civil rights in the digital space invaluable in protecting themselves and advancing their own ideas. Not just PR pros, though they'll be comforted by the litany of case studies that will help them justify "doing the right thing" to the C-Suite.
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on January 20, 2012
Mr. Jarvis is to be commended for the clarity of thought and honest passion in examining the ever-evolving complexities and challenges of living in the internet-connected world. The power of these rapidly expanding interfaces and their influence on both individuals and societies is indeed revolutionary, and the author speaks knowledgably from both personal experience and the world stage to provide examples, assessment and guidance.
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VINE VOICEon November 14, 2011
Jarvis provides a succinct and well-organized argument on why sharing more can improve everyone's life - though the metrics for what constitutes improvement is of course, debatable. The arguments are fairly compelling; however, compared to Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age and Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens When People Come Together, Jarvis fails to inspire the reader with a sound theoretical argument or detailed examples. His focus on personal experiences derived from his blog (a must-read) and somewhat petty criticisms of his critics mar the value of this book.

Nevertheless, one can find nuggets of information that clearly show the potential impact of business models that rely on sharing (e.g. - TinyURL resulting in more clickthroughs than direct search on Google - showing the latent potential of Facebook-like platforms on monetizing connections/sharing and the increase in effectiveness of marketing, more relevant targeting). Readers familiar with the domain may not significantly benefit from the discussion on other applications such as Foursquare and many others that are focused on sharing purchase information. Overall, Jarvis makes the argument that sharing information will eventually lead to better targeted more relevant ads, that in turn increase the click-throughs - a win for the advertiser and the platform - and presumably for the target. The discussion on sharing health information had the most potential - while he discounts the reasons for resistance to sharing, he could have focused more on the health/wellness domain - providing the perfect intersection of security/privacy and regulation constraints.

The clear standout chapter is one that outlines the "ethics" of "privateness" and "publicness". In fact, if the book had been organized around these ethics, with specific examples on success (and failure) stories, the reader may have been better served. The first-person narrative style forcing repetitive self-referenced attempts at humor and the earlier-mentioned 'petty' squabble with a critic blogger is likely to mar the interest for most readers. Overall, an above-average read - but Shirky's works in this area is more compelling.
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on November 13, 2011
Privacy vs. "publicness" is often positioned as black and white, but in reality all of us today operate in various shades of gray. In fact, we can adopt various strategies for different parts of our lives (personal, work related, and so forth), and achieve different goals.

The author provides a number of great examples of how "greater publicness" can bring great benefits both to individuals, and to communities and even entire societies: improved social ties, greater collaboration, transparency, and so forth. Likewise, as Jeff Jarvis points out, these discussions (even though the "privacy pundits" would love to have you believe otherwise), are nothing new: we've had same outcries with introduction of cameras, radio, TV, and so forth.

Overall, a great read if you are interested in the subject.
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on September 30, 2011
Public Parts Better than What Would Google Do. Jarvis has thought deeply about the public/private issues coming from recent developments online and spoken to quite a few of the players. We should all think about this and how it effects us. The book does not do the thinking fr us but is a very good starting point. Very highly recommended.
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on March 20, 2012
Now, this book has become the center of attention even in Japan.
History brought people various benefits and a new problem by Gutenberg's printing technique invention. Privacy and a public concept. Celebrities' scandal.
Facebook, a twitter, a social networking service.
It is necessary to protect ethics in those use.
The share is teaching it that monopoly of knowledge or information is unnecessary now. Invention of printing changed the world and changed history.
The Internet also changed all. And the Internet is the eighth continent. The rule for living on the eighth continent.
This book is teaching it. It is knowledge required for a man of today.
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