Howard Rheingold sez, "Technology criticism is important and I believe we all should critically examine the costs and consequences of our use of any technology. With regard to our use of social media, dangers of distraction, click-trance, social isolation, toxic credulity are real. But criticism, while necessary, isn't sufficient -- knowing that something is broken or costly isn't the same as knowing what to do about it. So I've written a book (Net Smart: How to Thrive Online) about what individuals need to know to use social media mindfully. Specifically, I provide evidence, advice, and suggested practices for mastering today's digital literacies of attention, participation, collaboration, crap-detection, and network know-how. The Table of Contents and introductory chapter are downloadable as free PDFs. Here are the opening paragraphs:"
The future of digital culture -- yours, mine, and ours -- depends on how well we learn to use the media that have infiltrated, amplified, distracted, enriched, and complicated our lives. How you employ a search engine, stream video from your phonecam, or update your Facebook status matters to you and to everyone because the ways people use new media in the first years of an emerging communication regime can influence the way those media end up being used and misused for decades to come. Instead of confining my attention to whether or not Google is making us stupid, Facebook is commoditizing our privacy, or Twitter is chopping our attention into microslices (all good questions), I've been asking myself and others how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and above all, mindfully. This book is about what I've learned.
I believe that learning to live mindfully in cyberculture is as important to all of us as a civilization as it is vital to you and me as individuals. The multifold extension of human minds by chips and nets in the first decade of the 21st century has granted power to billions, but in these still-early years of multimedia production studios in your pocket and global information networks in the air, it is clear to even technology enthusiasts like me that our enhanced abilities to create and consume digital media will certainly mislead those who haven't learned how to exert mental control over our use of always-on communication channels.