News — Web/Tech


Why I'm Quitting Facebook by Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff -- one of the most compelling cutting-edge thinkers of our time -- has sworn off Facebook.  Check out this recent article he wrote for  Do you agree?  Can you imagine your life without Facebook? 

"I used to be able to justify using Facebook as a cost of doing business. As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that, and I benefited from their behavior. I can no longer justify this arrangement..."

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Code Literacy: A 21st Century Requirement

Rushkoff-codecademy-literacyDouglas Rushkoff, one of the leading cutting-edge thinkers of our time, recently published an article in Edutopia about the importance of making sure we -- and even more importantly, our children -- have a true understanding of how to negotiate this new digital world.  The article begins:

Ask kids what Facebook is for, and they'll tell you it's there to help them make friends. And, on the surface anyway, that's what it looks like. Of course, anyone who has poked a bit deeper or thought a bit longer about it understands that people programming Facebook aren't sitting around wondering how to foster more enduring relationships for little Johnny, Janey and their friends, but rather how to monetize their social graphs -- the trail of data the site is busy accumulating about Johnny and Janey every second of the day and night.>>

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Excerpt 2 from A Talk Based on "Life Inc." by Douglas Rushkoff

DouglasRushkoff-BL In this excerpt from a talk based on Douglas Rushkoff's book Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back, Rushkoff challenges the notion of what is free online and elsewhere, and how corporations conspire to charge for it all.  Rushkoff is widely considered one of the most cutting-edge thinkers of our time, especially regarding the digital revolution.

Here is one of their conferences. It was a conference called “Free Economy” and what they were looking at was something that a lot of people have been talking about -- this notion that on the internet everything wants to become free, and what happens is things become more and more free, and in reaction to the kinds of books like Free written by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine or The New Rules of the New Economy written by Kevin Kelly. This whole notion that everything is going to become free online as information is passed around and here is what you can do about it. So as I see it, this whole notion of free, this whole world that they brought people to come in and speak about, is really not about free. For business people, what this is about is how do we figure out how to still charge for stuff that’s free.
In other words, how do we not accept and push through and embrace this tremendous revolution and value creation and value exchange that the net has wrought, but rather how do we resist it? So when I look at the assortment of my colleagues, if you will, the great cyber thinkers, who are out there lecturing on economics these days. They pretend to be lecturing and sharing on how to embrace the revolution when actually what they are doing are sharing the most reactionary approaches to a world where things are becoming free, but they are not teaching companies, people, and businesses how to survive in and embrace what is going on. They are teaching them how to resist, how to hang on to the old economy in the face of a new economic order rather than how to maintain sustainable business practices in a new economic order.

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Excerpt 1 from "Program or Be Programmed" by Douglas Rushkoff

Program Or Be Programmed
 We are delighted to offer the audiobook version of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff on BetterListen!  Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, says that we should “Read this book [Program or Be Programmed] before and after you Tweet, Facebook, email, or YouTube.”  We agree.  Following is a transcribed excerpt from this fascinating book, read by Rushkoff himself.

When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak.  When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. As we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them. In the emerging highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple. Program or be programmed. Choose the former and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter and it could be the last real choice you get to make.

For while digital technologies are in many ways a natural outgrowth of what went before, they are also markedly different. Computers and networks are more than mere tools. They are like living things themselves. Unlike a rake, a pen, or even a jackhammer, a digital technology is programmed. This means it comes with instructions not just for its use but also for itself. As such technologies come to characterize the future of the way we live and work, the people programming them take on an increasingly important role in shaping our world and how it works. After that, it’s the digital technologies themselves that will be shaping our world both with and without our explicit cooperation.
That’s why this moment matters. We are creating a blueprint together. A design for our collective future. The possibilities for social, economic, practical, artistic, and even spiritual progress are tremendous. Just as words gave people the ability to pass on knowledge for what we now call civilization, networked activity could soon offer us access to shared thinking, an extension of consciousness still inconceivable to most of us today. The operating principals of commerce and culture from supply and demand to command and control could conceivably give way to an entirely more engaged, connected and collaborative mode of participation. But so far anyway, too many of us are finding our digital networks responding unpredictably or even opposed to our intentions.

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Douglas Rushkoff Bio and Links