I have been listening to the radio at work for the last couple weeks and every Wednesday afternoon there's a program called 'Spark', which is about "21st Century life" and purports to "guide you through this dynamic era of technology-led change, and connects your life to the big ideas changing our world right now".
It seems that every weekly broadcast contains a segment with author Howard Rheingold, who has written a book called "Net Smart: How to Thrive Online".
This past week he talked about participating in the online world, rather than being merely a consumer: http://www.cbc.ca/spark/popupaudio.h...Ids=2299880249
It reminded me of part of 'We, the Web Kids":
I wonder what the proportion of people "sharing their expertise" is compared to the overall number of people who use the internet. Anecdotally it seems very small, which carries a danger with it: Web Kids might not become experts in anything. If there aren't any experts then information disseminated on the internet becomes useless, if it is disseminated at all.Should we need the details, we can look them up within seconds. Similarly, we do not have to be experts in everything, because we know where to find people who specialise in what we ourselves do not know, and whom we can trust. People who will share their expertise with us not for profit, but because of our shared belief that information exists in motion, that it wants to be free, that we all benefit from the exchange of information.
It makes me think about things like Facebook and Twitter too, because social networking seems to be in a grey area between sharing one's experiences and 'consuming' other people's experiences. Then again Rheingold says toward the end of this segment, about Twitter:
"Small talk lubricates trust, and trust leads to disclosure, so you're not always wasting your time online when you're making small-talk and getting to know people: you may be building trust that would be very useful to you when you need to know something later."
(I haven't read Rheingold's book but I did find it interesting that this 'guide' to being a good online citizen is not available for download in PDF or ePub format from his website. Instead you click on a link marked "BUY THE BOOK" and it shunts you over to Amazon.com, where you can buy a hardcover copy for US$16.47 (ON SALE! 34% OFF!) or a Kindle edition for $14.99. For a guy who purports to know a lot about being a savvy 'netizen' you'd think he might have done something like Louis CK did: sell an electronic copy of the book straight from his own website for a nominal fee. Louis CK sells DRM-free audio and video copies of his comedy shows for $5. That goes back to the discussion above, about antiquated media distribution models. Rheingold's seems rather pedestrian and ordinary for a self-professed internet expert.)