- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (October 16, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738208612
- ISBN-13: 978-0738208619
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution Revised ed. Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The title of this book is a mild pun. People are using smart "mobs" (rhymes with "robes") to become smart "mobs" (rhymes with "robs"), meaning, sophisticated mobile Internet access is allowing people who don't know each other to act in concert. In this timely if at times overenthusiastic survey of wireless communication devices, Rheingold (The Virtual Community) conveys how cell phones, pagers and PDAs are shaping modern culture. He interviewed dozens of people around the world who work and play with these technologies to see how this revolution is manifesting, and his findings are stirring. The concept has caught on among young Japanese, where cliques of teenagers hang out together all day, despite being in different places, by sending and receiving hundreds of iconic text transmissions on their iMode telephones. And demonstrators in Seattle and Manila relied on wireless telephones to coordinate their actions and evade barricades. In major cities, Rheingold says, techno-hipsters can congregate in "WiFi" areas that interact with their wireless devices to let them participate in a virtual social scene. In one amusing example, he tells of upscale prostitutes who can enter their services and prices into their mobile phones, allowing customers to discreetly determine if anyone nearby is selling what they want to buy (a Japanese company, Lovegety, has already adapted this idea to dating). This study of the potential of mobile, always on, fast Internet access nicely serves as a travelogue to the future, showing the possibilities and dangers of communications innovation.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mobile, wireless, Net-connected devices are now being hawked by the computer and telecom industries, prompting technology author Rheingold to take stock of the incipient revolution. Glimpsing the future in vignettes of wireless users in Helsinki and Tokyo, Rheingold primarily explores the sociology that might characterize a world of "ad-hocracy," in which people cluster temporarily around information of mutual interest. Rheingold describes how consumerism might change when pedestrians, as their mobiles detect stores and restaurants, patch into electronic gossip about an establishment. The location-detection feature of these devices will inevitably breach privacy, which informs Rheingold's somewhat skeptical stance toward this brave new world, and contrasts with the enthusiasm of certain computer scientists he interviews, such as Microsoft's promoter of a wireless urban space pervasively connected to the Internet. The cyber-savvy and socially aware will be interested and undoubtedly concerned by Rheingold's informed report. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some readers will doubtless find familiar ideas in "Smart Mobs:" for whatever odd reason, 2002 has been The Year of Books About Self-Organizing Social Networks, thanks to writers as different at Steven Johnson ("Emergence") and Mark Taylor ("The Moment of Complexity"). But Rheingold is scrupulous and generous about acknowleding his influences; besides, the real value of his book lies in his own fieldwork, and his reflections on what the smart mob phenomenon will mean for business, politics, and social life. Even if your copy of Wolfram is dog-eared and the spine is weak from re-reading (and let's face it, whose isn't), it's still worth following Rheingold through Shibuya, Helsinki, and the Web...
As I go back through the book picking out highlights, a few of the following serve to capture the deep rich story being told by this book--breakthroughs coming from associations of amateurs rather than industry leaders; computer-mediated trust brokers--collective action driven by reputation; detailed minute-by-minute information about behaviors of entire populations (or any segment thereof); texting as kid privacy from adult hearing; the end of the telephone number as relevant information; the marriage of geospatial and lifestyle/preference information to guide on the street behavior; the perennial problem of "free riders" and how groups can constrain them; distributed processing versus centralized corporate lawyering; locations with virtual information; shirt labels with their transportation as well as cleaning history (and videos of the sex partners?)--this is just mind-boggling.
Finally, the author deserves major credit for putting all this techno-marvel stuff into a deep sociological and cultural context. He carefully considers the major issues of privacy, control, social responsibility, and group behavior. He ends on very positive notes, but also notes that time is running out--we have to understand where all this is going, and begin to change how we invest and how we design everything from our clothing to our cities to our governments.
This is an affirming book--the people that pay taxes can still look forward to the day when they might take back control of their government and redirect benefits away from special interests and back toward the commonwealth. Smart mobs, indeed.