December 17, 2011

Private People, Public Parts – A Book Commentary in Brief

Posted in Book Review, Commentary, Internet, Social Media tagged , , , , , , at 9:35 pm by degyes

Public Parts, How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, by new media advocate and pundit Jeff Jarvis (@JeffJarvis), presents—in tones that are sometimes urgent—the case for protecting and preserving the internet as a completely open medium, unfettered by government regulation or corporate interference. As Public Parts has been reviewed widely and extensively from Amazon.com to the Wall Street Journal and beyond, I’ll forgo throwing yet another the full-length analysis into the ring, and instead offer a brief word on what I’m taking home as the key message, and my main gut response.

During it’s almost 20 year run as an open resource brought to masses of users via graphically driven web browsers, Jarvis acknowledges that the internet has transformed—not always necessarily for better—facets of life ranging from the economic, political, and corporate to the most intimate and personal. Yet Jarvis sets forth in often strident terms how the parameters of this transformation must be determined through a free flowing conversation amongst the very audience that the internet serves, that is, its public participants, i.e. the people.

While not always finding myself in agreement with Jarvis’ assertions (my inner jury is still out regarding the extent to which privacy is, or should be, truly dead), I believe his overall message (even if at times a bit crass) needs to be heard, and I congratulate him on articulating it rather eloquently and in a well-researched piece of work.

To whatever degree you live your life online, I would encourage reading Public Parts, as it is likely to widen and deepen your grasp of where this newfound openness is taking us as a global community, not only in the broad, virtual sense, but in ways that are most personal and real.

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