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Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0393082838
ISBN-10: 0393082830
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Internet has given us an unprecedented ability to share knowledge and information, and yet, Zuckerman argues, we aren’t really taking advantage of that global connectivity. The Internet lets us see the whole world, but we generally look at only one small part of it, using the technology to tailor the news we receive to our interests, thus narrowing our focus. And, perhaps most important, the bigger the Internet becomes, and the more information there is available, the harder it is to find anything (and the easier it is to misinterpret or misunderstand what we do find). The challenge, Zuckerman says, isn’t access; it’s paying attention. We need to expand our focus, sample other cultures, and seek out the new and unfamiliar. It’s hard to counter the author’s well-reasoned arguments, even if his central point (hey, buddy, you’re not using the Internet right) might sting a little. --David Pitt

Review

“Ethan Zuckerman is a true cosmopolitan, a citizen of the universe. In Rewire, he describes how our new communications tools allow us to take part in a truly global conversation and why almost none of us actually take advantage of that opportunity.” (Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody)

“A compelling account of an intertwined global world, Ethan Zuckerman’s Rewire makes you fall in love with a wide range of cultural practices and peoples. As he explains the importance of understanding not just how information flows but also how people connect, he lays a foundation for rethinking what global citizenship can and should be.” (danah boyd, Microsoft Research)

“Weaving a rich tapestry of stories, data, and theories, Rewire challenges many of our core assumptions about globalization and connectedness and how the Internet affects us. It is a book well worth reading.” (Yochai Benkler, author of The Penguin and the Leviathan and The Wealth of Networks)

“No one is in a better position than MIT and Harvard’s Ethan Zuckerman to confront the Internet’s failure to connect us across cultures. Zuckerman’s astounding range, careful reasoning, and superb storytelling make Rewire an essential and urgent read.” (David Weinberger, author of Too Big to Know)

“Ethan Zuckerman is the real deal, a thinker and activist brilliantly connected to what’s really happening on the Internet on a genuinely global basis. For those who think the digital era gives them all the information they need, Rewire shows them how much more there is to learn.” (Craig Newmark, founder, craigslist and craigconnects)

“One of our most important books on globalization.” (Steve O’Keefe - New York Journal of Books)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393082830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393082838
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Weinberger on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Disclosure: I've known Ethan Zuckerman for ten years, and am happy to count him as a friend. I have tremendous respect, as well as affection, for him.

You are likely to read the first few chapters of this important book trying to dodge the conclusion Zuckerman inexorably leads you to: despite the fact that the world is now one click away, when it comes to encountering other cultures, we have tended to be more insular and isolated than ever. Through cogent argument backed by evidence and data, Zuckerman makes his case, step by step.

But because he believes that we are not powerless in the face of our technology, Zuckerman spends the rest of the book exploring ways we can begin to take advantage of the multicultural riches the Internet offers. He is particularly interested in the structural changes we can make.

He explains all this through a set of stories, each illuminating a point that is backed up not just by anecdotes but by research, as well as by Zuckerman's extensive experience building sites and systems.

Ethan Zuckerman is a remarkable person, and it's not just his friends who think so. From Harvard to MIT to Foreign Affairs to TED, he's recognized as a remarkably well-informed researcher and activist, with an understanding that stretches from the system level down to the granular facts. His is a rare intellect. Plus he is a superb communicator. (Google for some of his presentations.)

This book sets out a crucial question, and suggests promising roads to solutions, or at least improvements. It's exceedingly well told. I hope it's widely read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By divified on June 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved how Ethan took the current technologically connected and wired culture into perspective. Unlike many books that criticize current trends and habits with relation to technology, Ethan analyzes the reasoning behind our behavior and posits ways in which we can re-orientate and make full use of the technology that is at our finger tips. The examples that he peppers through the book from personal experiences and through his research brought light to and thoroughly supported his arguments. This was definitely a refreshing and insightful read on tech and culture and the need to change habits to harness the possibilities of a better connected future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection offers a realistic appraisal of how technological innovation, especially related to communication, has changed how people interact alongside a vision that future developments will enable a new form of cosmopolitanism accessible to an ever increasing share of the global population. Zuckerman's own high level leadership experiences combine with significant interaction with scholarly material from multiple disciplines to form a hopeful volume that will educate a broad readership, encourage those tasked with crafting innovations that enable a more connected future, and inspire many to be more intentional in the quest to live as digital cosmopolitans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By PhantomReviewer on August 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Has the internet increased or decreased our diversity of media consumption? While in principle, technology has increased our ability to access news from anywhere, the reality is that we live in a world that is now more insular than before. Ethan Zuckerman shows an interesting paradox of our connected age. The paradox is that, although reading about Japan, India or Nigeria, has never been easier, it is now less common than 30 years ago. In the past, editors spoon fed us international news, but in our modern globalized world news consumption is becoming increasingly more local.

In this book Ethan Zuckerman describes the statistics of news consumptions and the dynamics of viral spreading through a number of well researched stories from around the globe. Zuckerman is a news buff, so if you are looking to get a better picture of how news have changed during the last decades you should add this book to your mind.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George on December 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of hearing Zuckerman present at a conference earlier this year to an audience that didn't work in his particular field (Zuckerman is the Director of Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new/social media). While not his typical constituency, Zuckerman expertly drew the connections from his research and knowledge of global trends around media and individual engagement that clearly resonated with our broad-based group. I found myself wanting to learn more about his work and came to "Rewire."

"Rewire" is a fascinating read that coalesces Zuckerman's passions, including Africa and the developing world, the attention paid to and consumption of media focused on global issues, the expansion of individual voice through social media, among others. His purpose in writing the book is to elevate the importance of living dual lives, as citizens of nations and citizens of the world. His belief is that those with a practical, literate understanding of global issues and cultures ("cosmopolitans") will yield, to keep it simple, a better world. In a tightly organized but highly readable fashion, he advocates for an alternative mindset around media consumption and engagement to solve a core problem of our "connected age", a paradox: that while it is easier than ever to share information from across the world, the manifold lenses through we which we access and view the world - Twitter, newspapers, television, people - have become narrower. Similarly, we are less open to "serendipitous" encounters that may foster new learnings and cross-cultural understanding. It's terribly interesting.
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