By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
By Jeff Jarvis (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, hardcover, 263 pages)
A prophetic and sanguine theorist, Jeff Jarvis scrutinises the tension between ‘private’ and ‘public’ and how the Internet has altered the way we live our lives from conducting business to generating identities and shaping communities.
He’s a dedicated supporter of How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live.
This is a study of the emerging age of “publicness”, a word he devised himself.
Jarvis examines the “profound change that is overtaking us, presenting us with questions, fears—and opportunities”.
The professor, media consultant, social media advocate and prolific blogger defends society’s move to public displays of personal information on blogs, social media and across the Internet.
Calling on us to embrace it, Jarvis says that privacy and publicness are not mutually exclusive, but they depend upon each other.
He argues that if we “become too obsessed with privacy, we could lose opportunities to make connections in this age of links”. This invention doesn’t just link us to web pages, but allows us to connect to each other, to information, to actions and to transactions.
Using extensive interviews to introduce us to Internet big names including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Ev Williams, Jarvis goes back in time to show parallels of opposition that met other innovations like the printing press and camera.
Also revealed are the promising ways in which the Internet is already allowing us to cooperate, consolidate and build dramatic ways to manufacture and merchandise, buy and sell, teach and learn.
Whether we like it or not, the new social norm is an ethic of openness. Events of last week prove that the media landscape is in for some radical changes with the focus turning to digital operations.
While uncertainty is constant, choices belong to the public.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.