They told us
Smart, thoughtful people have been showing us the way to a more complete conversation about modern media and civic life for decades . It’s time we listen.
This article is part of a series of thinking examining modern media and our civic life including my new book For ALL the People coming Feb 23, 2021.
Originally published on 7 Bridges
The weeks since the election have revealed in stark relief the civic crisis America faces. It has also brought into the mainstream a conversation about the civic and social dangers of greater connectivity, of the evolution and expansion of media, and the rise and mainstreaming of mis/disinformation that has been happening and been studied for decades. Both the consequences and the conversation have gone mainstream on the backs of unprecedented disinformation and of the palpable, painful, and violent consequences of a society fractured and fragmented by systems ostensibly meant to connect us.
My upcoming book, For ALL the People, is coming out February 23rd. Writing it has been a seven-year project, and yet it is coming out in the midst of a moment of crisis and opportunity. The universe is funny that way — ensuring conversations happen when we’re ready for (or desperate for) them. This book is my contribution to this conversation. It is important to recognize that this conversation about the darker and unintended consequences of technology and modern media (and how we confront them) has been going on under the surface of the louder, dominant cyberutopian narrative that drives the glittering, venture-backed profit machine of Silicon Valley for years. I would never claim to have written an academic book, and I did try where ever I could to reference and acknowledge others throughout. Like all complex conversations, there are important voices that guided me to the ideas I present in this book and that are the shoulders on which this whole conversation is standing.
- David Nye started talking about cyber-dystopia back in 2005
- Malcolm Gladwell dissected Clay Shirky in 2010
- Nancy Baym in her 2010 book Personal Connections in the Digital Age
- Evgeny Morozov unpacked the global implications in his book…