Why “Net Smart?”

Howard Rheingold 2019-08-20

Digital media and networked publics have emerged so quickly and broadly that our minds, relationships, and societies changed before anyone could get a handle on how they are changing. More recently, both empirical studies and works of criticism have begun to question the trade-offs involved in the transition to an always-on world. Criticism is necessary, but it isn’t sufficient — and it’s always better when it is based on more evidence than personal opinion. In addition to criticism, know-how is required. Net Smart is my attempt to furnish tools, methods, attitudes, and references for those who seek to engage technology mindfully. It’s the book I would recommend to an intelligent and open-minded but concerned and perhaps fearful parent, give to a smart high-school student, use as the textbook in a college course on social media literacies.