Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold, an influential writer and thinker on social media, is the author of Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (both published by the MIT Press), and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

  • Net Smart

    Net Smart

    How to Thrive Online

    Howard Rheingold

    A media guru shows us how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, mindfully.

    Like it or not, knowing how to make use of online tools without being overloaded with too much information is an essential ingredient to personal success in the twenty-first century. But how can we use digital media so that they make us empowered participants rather than passive receivers, grounded, well-rounded people rather than multitasking basket cases? In Net Smart, cyberculture expert Howard Rheingold shows us how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, mindfully.

    Mindful use of digital media means thinking about what we are doing, cultivating an ongoing inner inquiry into how we want to spend our time. Rheingold outlines five fundamental digital literacies, online skills that will help us do this: attention, participation, collaboration, critical consumption of information (or "crap detection"), and network smarts. He explains how attention works, and how we can use our attention to focus on the tiny relevant portion of the incoming tsunami of information. He describes the quality of participation that empowers the best of the bloggers, netizens, tweeters, and other online community participants; he examines how successful online collaborative enterprises contribute new knowledge to the world in new ways; and he teaches us a lesson on networks and network building.

    Rheingold points out that there is a bigger social issue at work in digital literacy, one that goes beyond personal empowerment. If we combine our individual efforts wisely, it could produce a more thoughtful society: countless small acts like publishing a Web page or sharing a link could add up to a public good that enriches everybody.

    • Hardcover $24.95
    • Paperback $19.95
  • The Virtual Community, Revised Edition

    The Virtual Community, Revised Edition

    Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier

    Howard Rheingold

    Howard Rheingold tours the "virtual community" of online networking.

    Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the "virtual community" of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community—one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others. At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received online emotional support during devastating illnesses, he acknowledges a darker side to people's behavior in cyberspace. Indeed, contends Rheingold, people relate to each other online much the same as they do in physical communities. Originally published in 1993, The Virtual Community is more timely than ever. This edition contains a new chapter, in which the author revisits his ideas about online social communication now that so much more of the world's population is wired. It also contains an extended bibliography.

  • Tools for Thought

    Tools for Thought

    The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology

    Howard Rheingold

    In a highly engaging style, Rheingold tells the story of what he calls the patriarchs, pioneers, and infonauts of the computer, focusing in particular on such pioneers as J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, and Alan Kay.

    The digital revolution did not begin with the teenage millionaires of Silicon Valley, claims Howard Rheingold, but with such early intellectual giants as Charles Babbage, George Boole, and John von Neumann. In a highly engaging style, Rheingold tells the story of what he calls the patriarchs, pioneers, and infonauts of the computer, focusing in particular on such pioneers as J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, and Alan Kay. Taking the reader step by step from nineteenth-century mathematics to contemporary computing, he introduces a fascinating collection of eccentrics, mavericks, geniuses, and visionaries.

    The book was originally published in 1985, and Rheingold's attempt to envision computing in the 1990s turns out to have been remarkably prescient. This edition contains an afterword, in which Rheingold interviews some of the pioneers discussed in the book. As an exercise in what he calls "retrospective futurism," Rheingold also looks back at how he looked forward.

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  • Is the Universe a Hologram?

    Is the Universe a Hologram?

    Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions

    Adolfo Plasencia

    Questions about the physical world, the mind, and technology in conversations that reveal a rich seam of interacting ideas.

    Science today is more a process of collaboration than moments of individual “eurekas.” This book recreates that kind of synergy by offering a series of interconnected dialogues with leading scientists who are asked to reflect on key questions and concepts about the physical world, technology, and the mind. These thinkers offer both specific observations and broader comments about the intellectual traditions that inform these questions; doing so, they reveal a rich seam of interacting ideas.

    The persistent paradox of our era is that in a world of unprecedented access to information, many of the most important questions remain unsolved. These conversations (conducted by a veteran science writer, Adolfo Plasencia) reflect this, with scientists addressing such issues as intelligence, consciousness, global warming, energy, technology, matter, the possibility of another earth, changing the past, and even the philosophical curveball, “is the universe a hologram?”

    The dialogues discuss such fascinating aspects of the physical world as the function of the quantum bit, the primordial cosmology of the universe, and the wisdom of hewn stones. They offer optimistic but reasoned views of technology, considering convergence culture, algorithms, “Beauty ≠ Truth,” the hacker ethic, AI, and other topics. And they offer perspectives from a range of disciplines on intelligence, discussing subjects that include the neurophysiology of the brain, affective computing, collaborative innovation, and the wisdom of crowds.

    Conversations with Hal Abelson, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, John Perry Barlow, Javier Benedicto, José Bernabéu, Michail Bletsas, Jose M. Carmena, David Casacuberta, Yung Ho Chang, Ignacio Cirac, Gianluigi Colalucci, Avelino Corma, Bernardo Cuenca Grau, Javier Echeverria, José Hernández-Orallo, Hiroshi Ishii, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Henry Jenkins, Anne Margulies, Mario J. Molina, Tim O'Reilly, John Ochsendorf, Paul Osterman, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Rosalind W. Picard, Howard Rheingold, Alejandro W. Rodriguez, Israel Ruiz, Sara Seager, Richard Stallman, Antonio Torralba, Bebo White, José María Yturralde

    • Hardcover $19.95
    • Paperback $19.95
  • Social Media Archeology and Poetics

    Social Media Archeology and Poetics

    Judy Malloy

    First person accounts by pioneers in the field, classic essays, and new scholarship document the collaborative and creative practices of early social media.

    Focusing on early social media in the arts and humanities and on the core role of creative computer scientists, artists, and scholars in shaping the pre-Web social media landscape, Social Media Archeology and Poetics documents social media lineage, beginning in the 1970s with collaborative ARPANET research, Community Memory, PLATO, Minitel, and ARTEX and continuing into the 1980s and beyond with the Electronic Café, Art Com Electronic Network, Arts Wire, The THING, and many more.

    With first person accounts from pioneers in the field, as well as papers by artists, scholars, and curators, Social Media Archeology and Poetics documents how these platforms were vital components of early social networking and important in the development of new media and electronic literature. It describes platforms that allowed artists and musicians to share and publish their work, community networking diversity, and the creation of footholds for the arts and humanities online. And it invites comparisons of social media in the past and present, asking: What can we learn from early social media that will inspire us to envision a greater cultural presence on contemporary social media?

    Contributors Madeline Gonzalez Allen, James Blustein, Hank Bull, Annick Bureaud, J. R. Carpenter, Paul E. Ceruzzi, Anna Couey, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Steve Dietz, Judith Donath, Steven Durland, Lee Felsenstein, Susanne Gerber, Ann-Barbara Graff, Dene Grigar, Stacy Horn, Antoinette LaFarge, Deena Larsen, Gary O. Larson, Alan Liu, Geert Lovink, Richard Lowenberg, Judy Malloy, Scott McPhee, Julianne Nyhan, Howard Rheingold, Randy Ross, Wolfgang Staehle, Fred Truck, Rob Wittig, David R. Woolley

  • Civic Life Online

    Civic Life Online

    Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth

    W. Lance Bennett

    The relationship of participation in online communities to civic and political engagement.

    Young people today have grown up living substantial portions of their lives online, seeking entertainment, social relationships, and a place to express themselves. It is clear that participation in online communities is important for many young people, but less clear how this translates into civic or political engagement. This volume examines the relationship of online action and real-world politics. The contributors discuss not only how online networks might inspire conventional political participation but also how creative uses of digital technologies are expanding the boundaries of politics and public issues. Do protests in gaming communities, music file sharing, or fan petitioning of music companies constitute political behavior? Do the communication skills and patterns of action developed in these online activities transfer to such offline realms as voting and public protests? Civic Life Online describes the many forms of civic life online that could predict a generation's political behavior.

    Contributors Marina Umaschi Bers, Stephen Coleman, Jennifer Earl, Kirsten Foot, Peter Levine, Kathryn C. Montgomery, Kate Raynes-Goldie, Howard Rheingold, Allen Schussman, Luke Walker, Michael Xenos

    • Hardcover $7.75
    • Paperback $4.75