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Apr 6, 2012

Digital Society

I am reading "The Wikinomics Way" which compares social media and modern internet collaboration to Gutenberg's printing press. Many know about book burnings by the Grand Inquisitors, but I found the comments of Robert Burton (1616), vicar of Oxford, most interesting. He complained about the "vast chaos and confusion of books" which hurt both eyes and fingers.
How close-minded these thoughts seem today, but Burton struggled to adapt to the change which became unarguably useful and beneficial to the masses. Nonetheless, these words sound so familiar to the complaints I have heard about how uncontrolled and dangerous the internet or Facebook can be.
While I do agree there are scams, privacy concerns and other problems due to the internet, I wonder if it is much different from the early years of print. Book-smugglers might be the "hackers" of their day, fighting an authority who refuses to see the benefits of the new technology. Or perhaps some were malevolent and selfish, using books to brainwash the feebleminded. Whichever, but it does seem similar; right?
Are we on the edge of a new shift, life from the Agrarian model to the Industrial one? How can we embrace the right changes and reject the ones doomed to fail? How will I know to invest in the VHS rather than the BetaMax? And will it matter?
Interesting thoughts...

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