Having become so embedded within the ‘mind sphere’ of technology and social media, I find it quite refreshing when someone comes along to tear it all down the way Evgeny has. Of ‘The Net Delusion’ and ‘To Save Everything, Click Here’ fame, I’m just beginning to come across his work. I think the release of the latter book is what’s broken him into my field of view, and someone who’s so willing to fight back against the mainstream opinion, much of which I’ve adopted, is extremely interesting. I was reading his takedown of Jeff Jarvis, a popular pontificator of all things internet, and his book ‘Public Parts’, and I was struck by this quote:
Why worry about the growing dominance of such digitalism? The reason should be obvious. As Internet-driven explanations crowd out everything else, our entire vocabulary is being re-defined. Collaboration is re-interpreted through the prism of Wikipedia; communication, through the prism of social networking; democratic participation, through the prism of crowd-sourcing; cosmopolitanism, through the prism of reading the blogs of exotic others; political upheaval, through the prism of the so-called Twitter revolutions.
Even with how embedded I am in social, tech, and digital culture, I still found the recent declarations of the Arab Spring as The Twitter Revolution extremely disingenuous. No one denies the role Twitter and Facebook played in organizing and dispersing information, both within and without the Arab world, during the Arab Spring, but to act like the revolts there could not have happened with those technologies is simply incorrect. Technologies don’t cause revolutions; they facilitate them.
As I’ve said, it’s great to see a well-read man with an understanding of history provide some perspective on what the internet truly brings to the table. Expect to hear more from him – I’ll definitely be reading both his books and writing about them here.