Author Archives: Howard Rheingold

Comment on Personal social media use by Howard Rheingold

You raise a crucial point, Gabriel — our role as producers of social media has important consequences. One of the most important manifestos about this role was The Cluetrain Manifesto. That manifesto is old now, and this week two of its authors have posted an update that is well worth paying attention to. Although this passage is overtly political, not in the sense of political parties, but in the sense of drawing attention to the power struggle underway over control of online culture, those in this course who are interested in social media marketing would do well to read both the original and the recent New Clues:

Hear, O Internet.

It has been sixteen years since our previous communication.

In that time the People of the Internet — you and me and all our friends of friends of friends, unto the last Kevin Bacon — have made the Internet an awesome place, filled with wonders and portents.

From the serious to the lolworthy to the wtf, we have up-ended titans, created heroes, and changed the most basic assumptions about

How Things Work and Who We Are.

But now all the good work we’ve done together faces mortal dangers.

When we first came before you, it was to warn of the threat posed by those who did not understand that they did not understand the Internet.

These are The Fools, the businesses that have merely adopted the trappings of the Internet.

Now two more hordes threaten all that we have built for one another.

The Marauders understand the Internet all too well. They view it as theirs to plunder, extracting our data and money from it, thinking that we are the fools.

But most dangerous of all is the third horde: Us.

A horde is an undifferentiated mass of people. But the glory of the Internet is that it lets us connect as diverse and distinct individuals.

We all like mass entertainment. Heck, TV’s gotten pretty great these days, and the Net lets us watch it when we want. Terrific.

But we need to remember that delivering mass media is the least of the Net’s powers.

The Net’s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.

It is therefore not time to lean back and consume the oh-so-tasty junk food created by Fools and Marauders as if our work were done. It is time to breathe in the fire of the Net and transform every institution that would play us for a patsy.

An organ-by-organ body snatch of the Internet is already well underway. Make no mistake: with a stroke of a pen, a covert handshake, or by allowing memes to drown out the cries of the afflicted we can lose the Internet we love.

We come to you from the years of the Web’s beginning. We have grown old together on the Internet. Time is short.

We, the People of the Internet, need to remember the glory of its revelation so that we reclaim it now in the name of what it truly is.

David Weinberger
Doc Searls
January 8, 2015

Comment on COMM 182 – 1st Post by Howard Rheingold

Welcome aboard, Joe! As an STS graduate, you certainly must have taken some courses with Professor Turner, a friend and mentor who was the person who invited me to Stanford. With a class size this small, I should have more time to interact personally with each learner, so please feel free to use this blog as a vehicle for discourse with me and your co-learners about social media issues that concern you.

Comment on Comm 282 by Howard Rheingold

Gabriel —

Just a few words to let you know — again — that your learner lecture really warmed my heart. On the first day of my last class at Stanford, it pleased me to see how well you’ve absorbed and passed along the key concepts of co-learning! I look forward to interacting with you more intensively in this smaller, more intimate setting.

Comment on Introduction by Howard Rheingold

Welcome to our co-learning community, Luke. I hope that this blog and our other conversations will help you find your place in cyberspace. I understand the metaphor of online “place” — we’ll talk about that and read about it in class — but I’m wondering because of the pace of change and of your interest in music, whether it might also be a fruitful strategy to seek your online rhythm as well.

Comment on Introduction by hrheingold

Hi Mia, and welcome. A great deal of this course is about the journey (learning how to learn better together) as well as the destination (the “subject matter”). My interest in social media was first attracted in 1983 and it has never ceased to be a rich and surprising experience — not always as pleasant or beneficial to individuals and communities as many of us hoped in the early days. One could say the same of the world that the printing press opened to so many — rich and surprising (and empowering and useful) but not always as pleasant or beneficial to individuals and communities as many might have hoped. Please feel free to use your blog as a laboratory for exploring your questions about social media, humanity, and society. I’ll do my best to help you along.


Comment on Here’s to 2015 and Comm182 by Howard Rheingold

Welcome aboard, Michelle. Bienvenue! I’m always interested in co-learning from students who have mastered a number of social media. As you know, each of the media you mentioned is its own universe. I’ve watched a few of them from the beginning. Others I know less about. Last quarter, co-learners in Comm 183/283 gave learner lectures about the Vine and Tumblr communities. I know what Vine and Tumblr are, and I have several Tumblrs, but it takes someone who is deeply into it to show the rest of us what you find exciting about it. I look forward to helping you learn — and to learning from you.

Comment on Hello! by Howard Rheingold

Welcome back, Fang! Since you’ve already spent a quarter immersed in learning how to co-learn, I invite you to help all of us get off to a great start. WordPress offers a great deal — a whole universe — of functionality. And there’s a convivial community of users who are inventing new things to do with WordPress — and can answer your questions if you know where to ask.