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Networked: The New Social Operating System (MIT Press) Paperback – February 14, 2014
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It's easy to find rigorous science, and it's easy to find topical stuff, but it's not easy to find both at the same time!(Shankar Vedantam NPR Science)
Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have combined forces to become the new Marshall McLuhan! They draw on years of observation to weave the threads of the online and offline worlds into a deeply colored tapestry. We can see emergent social norms arising from their moving stories and insightful analyses.(Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer)
Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have woven three enormous changes in the ways we connect -- the spread of the internet, mobile tools, and social media -- into a single clarifying story of our present and future life in the 21st century.(Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody)
Just as I would not let my child loose in traffic before I taught her to look both ways, if it were up to me, nobody would be let loose online until they read Networked. From the stories of real people whose lives have been changed, often for the better, by their interactions with contemporary online social networks, to the sociological and psychological theories that explain how life is really changing in the age of 'networked individualism,' this is a must-read manual for life online today.(Howard Rheingold, critic and author of Net Smart, Tools for Thought, The Virtual Community, and Smart Mobs)
The Pew Internet Project has been part of America's tech landscape for nearly as long as Google has, and five years longer than Facebook. Through that time it has earned respect and attention for its careful, systematic studies of the ways in which networked connectivity is changing some daily patterns of commercial, educational, and social interactions -- and the other long-standing human patterns it had reinforced. In Networked, the Project's leader, Lee Rainie, and his co-author Barry Wellman, build on that analysis to explain what we already know about technology's impact on our lives, what we can see coming, and where the biggest surprises and uncertainties still lie.(James Fallows, national correspondent and technology analyst for The Atlantic)
We live in a network society. This book explains why, how, and what, on the basis of empirical evidence and rigorous analysis. This is a well-documented, well-thought, clearly written text that will become indispensable reading for professionals and students alike.(Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California)
Networked illuminates how search, social networking, and the always on connectivity of mobile devices are combining to transform the social role of the Internet. This book -- by two leading authorities -- should be required reading for courses on the Internet, new media, and society.(William Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford)
Deftly slicing through hyperbole about the communication, internet and mobile revolutions, the authors bring us face-to-face with the wellspring of modern life: the networked individual. With flair, and a dash of wry humor, they provide keen insight about how this phenomenon affects all aspects of our lives. Anyone looking to gain deeper understanding about today's social world should read this book.(James E Katz, Director, Center for Mobile Communication Studies, Rutgers University)
From their rich history of research on the interconnected evolution of social networks, the internet, and mobile phones, Rainie and Wellman have assembled a cornucopia of facts and implications about work, family, and life in the new era of 'networked individualism.' When the next person asks me to talk about the network implications of social media, this is the book to which I will send them.(Ronald S. Burt, Professor of Sociology and Strategy, School of Business, University of Chicago; author of Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition)
Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman write a remarkably approachable, nuanced, and clear-written treatise on how social networks, the Internet, and mobile technology are changing the way we live our daily lives.(Ate Poorthuis Journal of Regional Science)
About the Author
Lee Rainie is Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and former managing editor of U.S. News and World Report.
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About the book, I love it. Easy to digest language. They also have stories to illustrate different concepts/phenomenon so it is very enjoyable to read. A good starting point to understand networked society, its history and development.
The authors explore how the shift in the structure of society from groups toward networks has been affecting how people form and maintain relationships, and how the rise of modern technologies (internet, mobile devices) comes into play.
In the first part of the book, you'll find a short analysis of each of the "revolutions", as the authors call them - the network revolution, the internet revolution, and the mobile revolution. Each chapter of the second part then elaborates in more detail on how these factors influence a specific area of our everyday life (family life, work, contact with friends, etc.). In the last part, the authors imagine two rather sci-fi scenarios of possible future development, an optimistic one and a dystopian one, and analyze which way we might be heading.
Most of the text refers to various surveys conducted by Pew Internet and several other similar groups, and the authors present quite a lot of data to support their analysis. The research data are generally from the US and Canada, but the conclusions are often applicable to similarly developed countries. I would personally prefer slightly less statistics in favor of a little more analytical commentary, as I sometimes found the text a little too descriptive, but the amount of research is digestible and if you're a fact-oriented reader, you may actually find it to be one of the book's strong points.
Although the writing style is a little academic, and may not suit everybody, the book reads very well and anyone with a slightly serious interest in the subject should find the book pretty informative. I think it could serve as a good starting point for anyone trying to get oriented in this area.
I find worth mentioning that the text is well balanced and does not tend to be overly enthusiastic about the current trends, nor is the commentary on them unnecessarily pessimistic or negative.
Despite my general praise, not everyone will find Rainie and Wellman's work so enlightening, as you might actually be looking for something different. It's not a how-to guide on social networking and use of social media (although some general hints are given), neither is it a business book about social media and their dynamics (although the use of social networking sites is definitely not ignored).
Finally, this book is not "modern ICTs and society for dummies". Although it is well written and generally accessible, without a certain level of general education, ability to read academic text, and a tiny bit of background knowledge of modern ICTs, you'd better look elsewhere for a simpler introductory text. If, however, you do meet the mentioned prerequisites and you are a little curious, this may be a really good book to start with.
One small critique would be that at some point it feels like it does plow the same field over and again - thus failing to follow its own warnings about too much information. They make their point then make it again, both times with lots of evidence and solid theories.